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Apartment Store messy

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As if the Apartment Store’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceedings weren’t complicated enough, the continuing saga of the now-defunct property management firm has devolved into an even more snarled mess of legal proceedings.

Last March Apartment Store owner Kari Kimball collected that month’s rent and then promptly sent tenants letters informing them that their security deposits were gone and the company was closing its doors. The letter blamed former Apartment Store owner Maris Mills for the $320,979.68 Kimball says was missing from the bank accounts in which renters’ security deposits were held. The bankruptcy set off an ongoing flame war between Kimball and Mills, with the two exchanging accusations while the bankruptcy trustee tried to sort through the mess.

The brouhaha ramped up a notch July 21 when Kimball, as anticipated, filed a lawsuit in Missoula District Court against Mills. The 25-page complaint alleges 10 counts ranging from “actual fraud” to “bad faith in contracting.”

Mills filed her own suit in July, this one in federal bankruptcy court, against the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee, Don Torgenrud. In the complaint filed July 10, Mills asked the federal bankruptcy court to order Torgenrud, the attorney in charge of what remains of the Apartment Store’s assets, to hand over the title to a 2004 GMC Yukon. Mills says she purchased the SUV with personal funds for personal use, but “through a mistake” the Yukon was titled in the name of the Apartment Store. (The Yukon is also an object of the Kimball v. Mills civil suit.)

Meanwhile, Torgenrud is waiting for a judgment from the bankruptcy court on a lawsuit he filed in April against property owners who contracted with the Apartment Store. In that complaint Torgenrud asked the court to determine to whom the Apartment Store’s remaining assets belong: the estate (i.e. Torgenrud), the property owners or the tenants.

Torgenrud says he expects a judgment on his complaint before the end of the summer.

As for the rest of the lawsuits: stay tuned.

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