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DENVER-The former operators of the Colorado Private Reserve, the newest and poshest club of its kind in Denver, are seeking more than $1 million in damages from Wembley USA, the owner of the 18,000-sf building in the heart of tony Cherry Creek. Earlier in the month, CPR turned over the keys to Wembley, which is the largest operator of horse and greyhound racing operations in Colorado.

Wembley, whose parent is based in London, built the club and now is seeking $400,000 in back rent from CPR.

Ty Howard, the new president and CEO of Wembley, currently is seeking a buyer or a tenant for the building that was built to look like an old-style English men’sclub.

“We have not seen any claim filed recently regarding the Colorado Private Reserve and, therefore, we cannot offer a specific response to it,” Howardsays. ”As we’ve stated previously, Wembley, as the landlord of the property leased by the club, offered CPR management an opportunity for full payment toavoid eviction after the club defaulted on rent payments in excess of$360,000. Subsequently, club management voluntarily vacated the property andturned it over to Wembley. When Wembley received the building, a number ofutilities, equipment lease companies, vendors, and maintenance serviceproviders came forward to state that they had not received payment oninvoices from the club for many months.”

CPR contends Wembley breached its contract with it and acted in bad faith, according to court documents.

CPR, in its filing in Denver District Court, contends that it and Wembley had a long standing agreement in regard to the club project dating back to 1997.Other contentions by CPR include:

* Wembley agreed to build the club structure in exchange for CPR’s agreement to heavily promote Wembley’s off-track wagering activities and to solicitmembers who would engage in such activities, CPR says.

* CPR says it had a good working relationship with the prior Wembley management and grew the membership to 300 by working together.

* On April 20, Wembley replaced its executive management and contends it was only in a landlord-tenant relationship with CPR;requiring immediate payment of back rent and refusing to work together to resolve the matter to protect the membership or the project itself.

* Wembley has contended that it is attempting to sell the property, but would not accept meetings with financially viable groups seeking to buy thebuilding and retain the club’s operation, CPR says.

“‘We directed all parties interested in purchasing the property to CPR’s attorney since the club held a long-term lease on the building,” Howard says. “Thelease limited anyone’s capacity to market the building.”

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