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Real estate investor wins in rental property dispute

A real estate investor will receive more than $220,000 in the wake of an abortive deal for a commercial rental property in Branson.

“It came down to a determination that in fact the seller had misrepresented the rent rolls and basically the financial condition of a turnkey operation and induced my client into the contract and, while in the contract, failed to live under its obligations,” said Hampton Williams of Schenewerk & Williams.

Williams represented One Uncle Deep LLC, which entered into a lease option contract in 2018 regarding a Taney County property known as “The Majestic.” Much of the dispute arose over representations by defendant Majestic Leasing LLC and its sole member, Lance Dehning, regarding rent rolls for several tenants in the mixed commercial/residential development, including a paintball operation, a call center and an escape room.

Further disputes arose over the ongoing presence of a recently resigned property manager at the site who continued to be employed by the defendants for various purposes despite plaintiff’s requests that her services be discontinued.

Finally, the defendants were alleged to have failed to properly complete various projects, such as the installation of a new roof and gutters, and refused to make payments stipulated in the agreement should such failures occur.

Judge Jeffrey Merrell decided in favor of One Uncle Deep on counts of fraudulent and negligent misrepresentation at the conclusion of the three-day bench trial. He awarded the return of a $150,000 payment by the plaintiff with interest along with expenses, rent, attorneys’ fees and a small discovery sanction. Total damages came to just over $300,000, but that figure was reduced to $220,652 due to rental proceeds collected by the plaintiff.

Counterclaims by the defendant for breach of contract and veil piercing were dismissed.

“It was a great outcome for our client,” Williams said.

Michael Horn, an attorney for the defense, did not return a request for comment.

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$302,038 judgment


Breakdown: $238,004.64 for breach of contract; $29,250 for interest; $34,533.82 for attorneys’ fees; $250 for discovery sanctions. Damages offset by $81,386.03. $220,652.43 net judgment

Venue: Taney County Circuit Court

Case Number/Date: 1946-CC00042/July 21, 2022

Judge: Jeffrey Merrell

Last Pretrial Demand: $150,000

Caption: One Uncle Deep LLC v. Lance Dehning and Majestic Leasing LLC

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Hampton Williams, Schenewerk & Williams, Branson

Defendants’ Attorney: Michael Horn, Michael Horn Law Firm, Branson