You're out called as Stumps Hotel shut down
STUMPS Hotel is closed until further notice after irreconcilable differences between owner Raj Sharma and the co-owners of the building came to a head yesterday.
As the QT has reported previously, the two parties are in dispute over rent payments for the upstairs and basement areas of the hotel which Mr Sharma has been prevented from using as function rooms.
Mr Sharma and his staff yesterday were in the process of removing all the fixtures and fittings from the hotel.
Mr Sharma said he was given seven days by the building co-owners to vacate the hotel but decided to move out yesterday.
"I am devastated at the moment for my extended family, which is my staff," he said.
"I want to make sure they have some sort of job.
"But we will make sure every supplier and all staff are paid on time.
"This is not the way we wanted to close the doors.
"But the building owners and us are too far apart."
Mr Sharma notified his customers on Facebook yesterday of the hotel's closure and said that "we fully intend on keeping the dream alive in one way or another in an undetermined location at this time".
"I love serving food. I created a dream here with my extended family and we have worked incredibly hard," he told the QT.
"I will keep the dream alive and we will open the restaurant for sure, but where is yet to be determined.
"But I want to thank all the people of Ipswich for supporting us.
"Unfortunately it has come to the point that the building owners are wanting money for the upstairs area and the basement, but I haven't been able to use them.
"I am looking for a solution…but no solution has been forthcoming.
"If they fixed the function room I have no problem, but they haven't done that."
Mr Sharma showed the QT yesterday where he had paid the $8685.07 for the ground floor area.
He said he had lawfully paid rent for the areas of the hotel that he used.
The co-owners of the building and Mr Sharma are understood to be in dispute over approximately $50,000 in rent for the top floor and basement areas.
Mr Sharma said the matter would be resolved in court.
Mr Sharma is a tenant but, as reported by the QT last August, he has been in dispute with the co-owners of the building over unlodged development approvals and rent payments.
Ipswich City Council issued a show cause notice in July of last year to notify Mr Sharma that Stumps Hotel did not have the required development approvals to operate its function rooms.
A council representative told the QT at the time that "when the hotel was approved, it was approved for a hotel on the ground floor, upstairs was approved for offices… and downstairs, known as the cellar room, was approved for storage".
Co-owner Greg Walsh told the QT last year that the development approval was amended but that Mr Sharma continued to not pay the full rent.
Mr Sharma told the QT last August that the lease he signed with the owners showed he had approval for the upstairs and basement areas to be used for functions.
He said he should not have to pay rent for unused areas when he believed he had been misled from the start, and that he had lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in function revenue.
He said he did not blame Ipswich City Council for the situation at all.
Mr Walsh did not return the QT's request for comment by deadline yesterday.