Judge awards Destiny USA $553,162 in IHOP lease dispute

Defense claims a mall rep. provided misleading data on mall visitors

SYRACUSE (WSYR-TV) - The owner of the IHOP that closed at Destiny USA now owes the mall more than half a million dollars for failing to meet the terms of the lease, based on a judge's ruling.

The restaurant suddenly closed last summer.

The mall had sued for more than $2 million, including money they expected to earn during the 10-year lease that was scheduled to end in 2024, according to court documents.

The mall claims the restaurant fell behind with rent payments within the first year of the lease. So, it was terminated.

But, the defendant with "Destiny USA Pancakes, LLC" claims he was duped into opening a restaurant. Rudolph Southwell is the Guarantor listed in the case. The defense accuses a mall representative of making misleading claims with inflated projections for mall visitors.

In their response to the lawsuit, the defense claimed the mall "...did not disclose that many other tenants of the shopping complex were in the process of vacating the premises or had partnered with the managing company to subsidize their expenses and allow them to stay even though visitation to the mall was not as anticipated after the multi-million dollar construction project was complete."

In the end, the judge awarded Destiny USA just over $553,000-- about a quarter of their claim.

The case isn't the mall's first lease dispute.

One year ago, Toby Keith's I Love this Bar & Grill was ordered to pay millions after suddenly closing it's doors in Syracuse.

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