A downtown property owner said that a small tech school owes it $200,000 in back rent. The school said it is being bullied and intimidated by its corporate landlord.
The Turing School of Software and Design is a nonprofit computer programming academy. Their seven-month courses, which have been fully remote since 2020, cost $26,200.
The school opened in 2014 at 15th and Blake, then needed a larger space. In 2017, it moved into a windowless basement suite at 1331 17th St., Westword reported then.
It initially rented 17,500 square feet but later expanded to 20,300 square feet, according to its landlord, Los Angeles-based CIM Group. Its lease runs through February, CIM said.
In a lawsuit it filed in Denver District Court on Nov. 13, CIM claims the Turing School hasn’t timely paid rent since June. CIM initially used the school’s $112,500 security deposit to cover rent, until that money ran out. CIM said the school has been ignoring it since then.
“As of the date of this filing, Tenant owes Landlord no less than $193,669 in unpaid past due rent, (the) security deposit, and other amounts due,” CIM wrote in its lawsuit.
The landlord is represented by attorneys Steven Abelman and Courtney Bartkus in the Denver office of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck.
“It is unfortunate that our megacorp landlord has chosen to take these matters public as a means to bully and intimidate a small, local, educational non-profit organization,” Jeff Casimir, founder and executive director of the Turing School, said in an email.
Court records show that the school hasn’t been served a copy of the lawsuit yet and Casimir said he was unaware of the lawsuit until asked about it by a reporter Nov. 21.
“With the massive vacancy rates in downtown Denver and no innovation or concessions from these real estate corporations, clearly they are turning to the courts to try and solve their financial woes as a ‘prayer for relief,’” he said, referring to a stock phrase common in lawsuits. “We will work to resolve these matters in the best interest of our students.”
CIM bought the 13-story, 220,000-square-foot office building at 1331 17th St. for $103 million in 2018, records show. CIM spokespeople declined to answer questions about its occupancy rate but CIM lists 10 suites totaling 65,000 square feet currently available inside.