Vu was ordered to surrender the keys to the movie theater owners last month but according to Swanigan she refuses to comply.

Theater owners are still battling it out in court with Pines Mall Owner Judy Vu.

According to Attorney Verona Swanigan who represents Steven Mays and Okorie Ezieme, owners of Rain Investments LLC DBA Saracen Cinema 8, Vu has not cooperated or complied with the terms of the court orders.

Vu was ordered to surrender the keys to the movie theater owners last month but according to Swanigan she refuses to comply.

“At the hearing on August 10, Mrs. Vu admitted that she changed the locks and prevented the entry of the business and the ability for plaintiff to earn revenue, and that she refused to give the plaintiffs keys to the main entrance where the consumers would enter the business,” said Swanigan in an affidavit filed on August 23 with the Jefferson County Circuit Court.

“Refusing to comply she told the judge to take her to jail and said she wasn’t doing anything,” said Swanigan. “She refuses to do what she created in the contract to do.”

Swanigan said Vu’s rebuttal in court resulted in her being taken into custody and was ordered to switch over the electricity so her clients could have control and access to it.

Mays said he did receive keys after the case was initiated but it did not allow for people to enter the theater.

“It did not open the main entrance or the roof and it did not allow for us to be able to operate the business,” said Mays in his affidavit filed on August 23 with the Jefferson County Circuit Court. “Further, when I went to go check the key for the roof, I found that the key that I had been given prior no longer functioned to open any door.”

In the plaintiff’s motion filed with the Jefferson County Circuit Court on August 23, they are seeking recovery alleging Vu committed Breach of Contract, Tortious Interference with Business Contract, Interference with Quiet Enjoyment of Property, Punitive Damages, and a Preliminary Injunction.

According to the lease agreement provided to the Pine Bluff Commercial, it states until the tenant has paid the purchase price for the movie theater the tenant shall pay the landlord thirty-seven percent of the monthly gross revenue generated by the business up to a maximum of $17,000 per month.

The lease also states the landlord shall repair and maintain the structural portion of the premises, including walls and roof and all expenditures for such repair and maintenance of the structural portion will be the financial responsibility of the Landlord. In addition, the Landlord shall arrange and pay for a third-party inspector to evaluate the condition of the heating, plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and other systems.

“The Defendants never made any steps to repair the roof or maintain the building in the theater or the common areas,” said Ezieme in his affidavit filed on August 23 with the Jefferson County Circuit Court. “The theater was filled with roaches and mold, and the air-conditioning and heater is not functioning and was not repaired.”

Ezieme adds Mrs. Vu turned off the electricity, and she refused to provide access to the roof or to approve that the utility bills be separated so that the theater could take over the bills.

“At the contempt hearing on August 8, Mrs. Vu admitted that she did not make any repairs per the agreement, but instead tried to allege that the plaintiffs should have paid for the repairs themselves despite the fact that the agreement specifically states that she is responsible for the air-conditioner, heater, and electrical problems,” said Swanigan.

Swanigan also states Mrs. Vu admitted in that same hearing that she did not give the plaintiffs a key for the roof where the electrical, air-conditioning, and heating units are located.

“Mrs. Vu admitted that the power would shut off totally at least twice a week to the entire mall halting business production and that she did not authorize or make any repairs to rectify the problem,” said Swanigan.

Swanigan also questions the legitimacy of the mall foreclosure stating she reached out to the lawyers Vu provided to her as her representation in June.

In a sworn statement Swanigan states on June 25, she contacted by phone Attorney Robert Swearingen’s office, the contact provided by Mrs. Vu who she said was in Texas. According to Swanigan, the assistant informed Swanigan that they did not represent Mrs. Vu in a foreclosure and are not licensed to practice in Arkansas.

The assistant stated that they had not done any work for Mrs. Vu and that Mrs. Vu had not retained their office but merely had a conversation with the attorney and left a one-page document around the beginning of June, when she first contacted the office.

Swanigan says she has been unable to locate a foreclosure or even a lien for the lender even after a title search was completed. On July 21, Swanigan said Vu claimed the mall had foreclosed and the property had been transferred to a lienholder.

When she reached out to the alleged lienholder to inquire purchasing the mall, Swanigan said the company, Cameron Appraisal Group, immediately hung up and then refused to respond to emails or phone calls thereafter.

Ezieme, who has a degree in Business and Finances, says he has over 20 years of experience in the field of finance management and business development and when he drafted the theater’s fiscal forecast, it was determined their annual income would be $1,050,000 per year.

“The monthly rental payment of 37% was grossly in her (Judy Vu) favor, but our estimates of what our annual income would have been and what the expert determined it would have been made the company believe the payment was affordable if the business was operating at its fullest potential under safe and sanitary conditions with good will as promised,” said Ezieme.

Ezieme said the Vu family’s failure to make repairs has cost them nearly $15,000 in repairs to the building.

“My Plaintiffs are daily losing income and is currently unemployed,” said Swanigan. “The acts of Mrs. Vu will bankrupt our clients if the court order is not complied with and they are not allowed to open their movie theater.”