Rental Dispute Settled

Landlord Returns Most Of Grassroots' Security Deposit

April 19, 2009|By Larry Carson

A public dispute between the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center and its landlord over a $4,834.80 security deposit has been settled before going to trial, both sides confirmed.

Grassroots, which argued that it should get the entire amount, got $4,000, and Bruce Taylor, who rented a house at his family's former psychiatric hospital to the nonprofit while its new building was under construction, kept the rest.

Taylor's family operated the former Taylor Manor Psychiatric Hospital, now run by Sheppard Pratt. The Taylors own a substantial amount of property in Ellicott City and developed some of it into a community for active retirees.

Taylor had sought to keep the security deposit to pay for damage that he said was done while Grassroots used the building to house homeless people. The nonprofit paid $10,000 a month rent for a year, and $10,500 a month after that until its new building opened in May after about 18 months of construction.

Grassroots countered that the damage existed when it took occupancy of the vacant building. Moreover, the nonprofit's leaders said they improved the facility with $35,000 of donated utility and repair work.

"We are satisfied with this outcome," Andrea Ingram, Grassroots' executive director, said in an e-mail.

Ronald L. Spahn, Taylor's attorney, said his client declined to comment.

"They're giving it [$4,000] as a gift to make everybody happy," Spahn said.

In the aftermath of the episode, Spahn said that his advice to clients would be to avoid disputes with a charity.

The trial had been scheduled for April 13.

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