‘Marijuana Smell’ Triggers Eviction Notice for Army Veteran’s San Antonio Music Studio

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Army veteran Jarrett Gadison’s fledgling San Antonio music studio has had an unsuccessful start to its new dig this month.

About three weeks after Gadison signed a three-year lease for Stop Playing Studios at 5545 Fredericksburg Road, the owner informed he was starting his business from space.

The landlord cited a “smell of marijuana” from the Gadison apartments on four occasions and “several tenant nuisance complaints” for giving the notice.

Gadison, 37, denied that anyone smoked marijuana at the company.

Nonetheless, Gadison said, the owner changed the locks last Sunday.

On Monday, Gadison sued the owner – Shaffer Capital Investments – for wrongful eviction and fraud in San Antonio district court. A judge has granted Gadison a temporary restraining order preventing Shaffer Capital from denying him access to space or interfering with his business.

The next day, he added, a sheriff’s deputy served the restraining order and obtained Gadison’s keys for the new locks.

The judge has scheduled a hearing for Nov. 29 on Gadison’s permanent injunction application, which would maintain the status quo until a trial.

Meanwhile, Gadison tries to figure out why the owner wants him to leave the building.

“From the day we got here, they keep coming up with different excuses as to why we can’t stay here,” he said. “Unfortunately, I tried to have a conversation with him about it. Other people in the building are complaining. But I have proof that I didn’t do anything they say.

Brian Shaffer, managing partner of Boerne-based Shaffer Capital, declined to comment on the dispute Thursday, but called Gadison a “good guy.” Shaffer is a dentist with a VA dental clinic in San Antonio.

Career transition

Gadison launched Stop Playing Studios last year. Prior to starting the business, he had a 16-year military career, most recently working as a physician with the rank of Master Sergeant at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Gadison originally opened a smaller studio near NE Loop 410 and Starcrest Drive.

“I was an engineer all the time I was in the military, so I kind of got experience going to different places and recording different kinds of music,” he said. .

Gadison had so many clients, however, that he didn’t have enough recording space. He started looking for a bigger place. An assistant found the office building on Fredericksburg Road and signed the lease on October 15. A copy of the lease, filed with his lawsuit, shows the rent to be $ 3,444 per month for the first year.

The 2,460 square foot space provides enough space for Gadison to operate three check-in booths. He charges $ 25, $ 50 or $ 75 an hour for each booth.

“We have electric guitars, acoustic guitars,” he said. “We are able to make beats on the spot, mix and master. Everything can be done here. We also produce podcasts and video clips.

Gadison’s specialty is recording gospel and neo-soul music, but he employs other engineers who record different types of music, including rap and punk.

Most of the clients are people wishing to get into the music business, but he said some are attached to music labels.

Stop Playing Studios recorded Houston-native hip-hop artist Trilly Polk and Amaru Jahseh, whom Gadison described as a “promising” artist from San Antonio.

Once the recording, mixing and mastering is complete, it will email customers their music as an MP3 or WAV file. The studio will also distribute the work on music streaming sites, including iTunes, Spotify and YouTube Music.

Provisions specific to the lease

The lease signed by Gadison contains “special provisions” which state that “the music may not be at a volume audible to other tenants during business hours (8:00 am to 5:00 pm). The volume can be increased as needed after 5 p.m. without violating city noise control ordinances.

The lease also stipulates that use outside of opening hours is authorized by the tenant if necessary.

The restriction suited Gadison as most of his business is done in the evening, he said.

On October 17, according to Gadison’s lawsuit, the owner’s managing partners informed him of a “weak toilet system” which they said was caused by people flushing baby wipes. Days later, Brian Shaffer told Gadison he believed the problem was with Gadison’s studio, the lawsuit adds.

Shaffer then told Gadison he should move because the building has a homeowners association that has rules about what type of businesses can operate in the building. The lawsuit also says Shaffer said he didn’t know Gadison’s business was a music studio.

The lease specifies that Gadison may use the space for “podcasting, broadcast media use and audio recording” purposes.

Shaffer also told Gadison that residents of a neighborhood behind the building complained about the loud noise at night, Gadison said. Gadison performed a test by turning the music up to maximum and said he couldn’t hear it from the neighborhood. It’s on the other side of the building where the studio is located, he added.

Opinion

According to Gadison’s lawsuit, Shaffer presented him with a “tenancy termination notice” the following Friday. The notice is dated November 5, but Gadison said he received it on Veteran’s Day, November 11, a Thursday.

Shaffer “said one of the tenants smelled marijuana in the hallway and that it must have come from Gadison’s studio,” the complaint added. Gadison disagreed and said he had no knowledge of the activity.

“First of all, the hallway is a common space,” he said. “No. 2, it wasn’t me. He (Brian Shaffer) came into my office and I asked him if it smelled like marijuana in here. No. So how can you just assume that someone in the hallway must be from my company?

“I think it was just an excuse he was trying to use because they say anything to create a problem,” Gadison added.

Gadison could only speculate one reason the other tenants didn’t want him in the building.

“Maybe they come to work and they are not very happy with their job,” he said. “But they see us here living our best life and they don’t like it. It’s literally the only thing I can think of.

The notice of termination of occupation went into effect last Sunday.

“I told him it was against the law. You can’t do that, ”Gadison said.

The rental document, however, states that the landlord can terminate the tenant’s occupancy right with at least three days’ written notice if the tenant is in default. The landlord did not file an eviction file with the justice of the peace of Place 2, possibly because of the language of the lease.

The document states that the tenant cannot allow the property to be used for “any activity which is a nuisance or which is offensive, noisy or dangerous” or which “violates any applicable law”.

Gadison alleges in his lawsuit that Shaffer Capital is trying to evict him “without cause”. He accuses the landlord of having tried to “fabricate a lease default”.

Gadison seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from Shaffer Capital. He spent over $ 10,000 soundproofing the space and making other upgrades he wants to reclaim.

Meanwhile, Gadison is looking for a new location for the business.

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