Eviction action against Smart Networks

For two years Smart Networks, LLC of Marietta has been providing high-speed Internet service to areas of Washington County that previously had no high-speed access. But the company’s chief executive officer said Monday that Smart Networks will now be offering those services from a new site after eviction proceedings were brought against the company by the landlord and owner of its previous location in the Dime Bank Building at 200 Putnam St.

“We’re still operating and growing, but from a new location at 221 Greene St. which is much easier to access for our customers to pay their bills or ask about new service,” said Eric Mostrom, CEO for Smart Networks.

The company was formerly located in Suite 728 on the seventh floor of the Dime Bank Building. But in May the landlord, Promanco, Inc., and building owner Duck Creek Realty, LLC, filed a complaint for eviction and damages against the company in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

According to the complaint document, Smart Networks was leasing the office space for $2,000 a month, but in December 2012 and again in April 2013 the company began to fall behind on its lease payments. The plaintiffs say they’re owed a total $29,666.27 in back rent, and are also asking for court costs and attorney fees to be paid by the company.

Mostrom said the company was going through a difficult time when the lease payments were missed.

“We told (the landlord) that things were getting a little tight and asked if we could make lower monthly payments but extend the lease period. And we wanted to work something out by offering to wire the building for better technology,” he said. “We also offered $27,000 to settle the account, but they didn’t want to work with us.”

Smart Networks moved to the 221 Greene St. location in July.

A phone call seeking comment from Promanco, Inc. was not returned.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled Thursday before Washington County Common Pleas Judge Randall Burnworth.

In 2012 Smart Networks won a contract with the Washington County Commissioners to lease nine state-owned Multi-Agency Radio Communication System (MARCS) towers to make high-speed Internet services available to residents in more rural areas of the county.

“The state owns the towers, but they’re leased through the county, which is the local government entity,” explained county commission president Ron Feathers.

Commissioner Tim Irvine said the company paid $9,600 for the annual lease of the towers in 2013, and its tower lease payments have been kept current to date.

“The towers are each leased for $150 or $50 a month, and the lease is paid in one annual payment by the company,” he said.