Port tenant told to pay or go
MORGAN CITY, La. — Port operator Inmobilaria Lamol LLC has until July 28 to cure all of its defaults with the Port of Morgan City, including paying its July rent of $53,225 that it has yet to pay.
At its meeting Monday, the Morgan City Harbor and Terminal District Commission authorized Port Executive Director Jerry Hoffpauir and Port Attorney Gerard Bourgeois to file suit for eviction and damages if the tenant’s defaults are not resolved by July 28.
The port was due a rent payment from Inmobilaria Lamol July 1, but the port did not receive payment, Hoffpauir said. Inmobilaria Lamol also owes the port for late fees on the rent, security guard service, and grass cutting among other things, Bourgeois said.
Inmobilaria Lamol has not replaced the $53,225 out of the security deposit used to pay for the July rent, Bourgeois said.
If the matter goes to court, a judge can give an eviction notice of 24 hours or possibly longer from the court date, Bourgeois said.
Inmobilaria Lamol, which became the port tenant in December, was created to operate the port, and is a subsidiary of Grupo Lamol SA de CV, a Mexican company that has businesses in the United States.
Inmobilaria Lamol still has activity at the port as it had a ship depart from the port for Dos Bocas, Mexico, on Friday, Hoffpauir said.
At the end of June, the tenant requested to keep its rent at $10,000 per month for another six months. Under the contract between the port and Inmobilaria Lamol, its rent was scheduled to go up to $53,000 per month after the first six months. The port commission rejected the request to keep the rent at $10,000 per month for six more months at a June 28 meeting, but the commission sent a letter to the tenant offering to amend the lease agreement to keep its rent at $10,000 per month for six more months if the tenant gave up the use of some of the property at the port it occupies.
Inmobilaria Lamol did not respond to the offer by the July 8 deadline, Hoffpauir said. Therefore, the port sent out a default letter to the tenant.
“They have until July 28 to rectify the situation. If not, Gerard’s (Bourgeois) got the suit prepared. I sign it, and then they’re out,” Hoffpauir said.
Nestor Navarro, managing member of Inmobilaria Lamol, was seen in the meeting room before Monday’s port commission meeting began, but did not stay for the meeting. He could not be reached for comment this morning.
The commission decided to table making a decision on whether the port would continue to provide security guard service to guard assets at the port between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. five days a week and 24 hours a day on Saturday and Sunday, which costs $1,377 per week.
A new camera system to monitor the port will be in place in about a week and a half, Port Special Projects Coordinator Mike Knobloch said.
Also at the meeting, Mike Lowe of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced the corps is waiting for final approval on the project partnership agreement with the Port of Morgan City in order for the Crewboat Cut project in the Atchafalaya River to begin. The contract for the project has already been advertised, Lowe said.
The project involves putting down rocks in the Crewboat Cut in the Atchafalaya River to keep the sediment from flowing back into the cut that the corps is trying to open up.
The project partnership agreement document is at the corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., and will then go to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army, who provides the approval for signature, Sarah Nash of the Corps of Engineers said. Nash is hoping to be able to have a signing ceremony of the document by the end of August, she said.
Coast Guard Capt. David McClellan, commander of the Marine Safety Unit in Morgan City, said the unit responded to a vessel grounding last week near the Conrad pier in the Atchafalaya River. The water depth at the point of grounding was 10.3 feet, and the Marine Safety Unit put a new shoaling buoy in 14.8 feet of water, McClellan said.
Lowe said the corps is working to combat shoaling, or swallowing of the depth, of the Atchafalaya River in the Morgan City area, and the corps has a contract scheduled to go out for bid July 23 for dredging that would address some of the shoaling concerns in the area.
The Marine Safety Unit also responded recently to an uncontrolled well about 16 miles south of Morgan City that was emitting mostly natural gas, water and a little bit of condensate, McClellan said. A contractor was hired to hook up a hose to the well head and pumped 500 barrels of heavy-weight 16.5-pound per gallon mud down the hole. The contractor was able to stabilize the well, McClellan said.
In other business, the commission renewed the designation of The Daily Review as the official journal for the district.
The commission approved an audit services agreement with Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick to raise its annual fee from $6,500 to $8,500.