St. Petersburg law firm in Fenway Hotel project faces another lawsuit

The law firm of Rahdert, Steele & Reynolds already faces a lawsuit stemming from the renovation of the Fenway Hotel in Dunedin.

JIM DAMASKE | Times (2007)

The law firm of Rahdert, Steele & Reynolds already faces a lawsuit stemming from the renovation of the Fenway Hotel in Dunedin.

ST. PETERSBURG

Attorney George Rahdert and the firm of Rahdert, Steele & Reynolds have been sued by a North Carolina bank that says it is owed $300,000.

Rahdert, who represents the St. Petersburg Times, said he is at work trying to settle this lawsuit, as well as others filed by the same bank.

Although this lawsuit is not directly related to Rahdert's efforts to renovate the waterfront Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, he said he hopes that making progress on that project will help lead to a "global settlement."

The recent lawsuit says RBC loaned the Rahdert, Steele & Reynolds law firm $300,000. Rahdert said the money was for real estate investments.

Rahdert said the lawsuit does not affect the financial health of his law firm. The St. Petersburg-based firm has been reconstituted and renamed to Rahdert, Steele, Reynolds & Driscoll, reflecting the addition of a new partner. The old firm of Rahdert, Steele & Reynolds still exists, but mostly as a real estate firm, he said.

The lawsuit "applies to 2005 assets and to a different corporation," Rahdert said.

Rahdert said the firm was actually paying off the $300,000 loan on time, but that under the conditions of the loan, the bank could call for repayment at certain times.

In the meantime, Rahdert had run into trouble with another project financed by RBC. This was the plan to renovate the historic waterfront Fenway Hotel.

But a buyer for the hotel backed out of the deal, and finances surrounding the package fell into what Rahdert has described as a "tailspin." The bank filed a foreclosure suit in February, saying Rahdert had to repay $8.1 million in loans, including nearly $700,000 in interest.

Rahdert said the firm actually had kept current in paying off the $300,000 to RBC, but he believes the loan was called in because of the problems with the Fenway.

The good news, he said, is that he is working with prospective buyers of the Fenway.

St. Petersburg law firm in Fenway Hotel project faces another lawsuit 04/27/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 27, 2010 6:36pm]

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