A Las Vegas judge on Tuesday declined to appoint a new operator for a downtown property that once provided essential services to low-income tenants.
The decision leaves approximately 150 vulnerable residents uncertain about their future.
Their landlord, SHARE Village, abruptly abandoned its lease last month at 1150 Las Vegas Blvd. South. Since then, tenants have been without contracted services and a food pantry.
YSBM Investments LLC — the owner of the motel residence — has sued SHARE for breach of lease, stating that it does not have the license or capacity for the operation.
It asked the judge to appoint a receiver to manage the property and stabilize the situation until the case is resolved.
District Judge Susan Johnson ruled that the owner needs to hire a manager outside the court.
“The plaintiffs at this point need to make a decision on what they want to do in terms of the use of the property,” she said. “And go after SHARE in terms of any damages.”
Formerly known as Veterans Village, the nonprofit has rented the property for more than 10 years and renewed its lease in July. It stopped paying rent in September and owes thousands of dollars in unpaid taxes, utilities and other services, according to the lawsuit.
The corporation, whose CEO is local affordable housing entrepreneur Arnold Stalk, has hired a management company for its three other properties and listed them for sale.
Stalk said Monday that he was still struggling with the long-term effects of COVID-19 and that he could no longer handle the property.
“Nobody seems to think about how sick I am, or that I almost died from it,” Stalk said. “They only care about the business part of it, and it’s very disconcerting. I put 11 years of my life into that place.”
But YSBM attorney Michael Stein told the judge that his clients entered a lease with SHARE, not Stalk. Stalk had an obligation to appoint someone to handle his duties, he argued.
“How bizarre would it be if I abandoned my office, and I told my clients, ‘Don’t worry, the landlord is going to come in and handle all your cases?’” he argued, adding that YSBM does not have the capacity or license to handle the business.
SHARE attorney John Naylor said the receivership would be more costly for his client and was not appropriate in this case because the parties were not disputing over who has the right to the property.
“The landlord is perfectly capable of hiring a property manager,” he said. “If they want us to remain in possession and force us to run the property, SHARE will do it.”
While it is unclear what will happen next, Stein said later that all options are being carefully explored.