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Hotelier ups ante against Port in court fight over Riverwalk Inn

Param Hotel Corp. sued the Port of Astoria after not getting the contract to operate the Astoria Riverwalk Inn
By Edward Stratton

The Daily Astorian

Published on September 26, 2017 7:53AM

A trial is scheduled in October over the lease at the Astoria Riverwalk Inn.

Edward Stratton/The Daily Astorian

A trial is scheduled in October over the lease at the Astoria Riverwalk Inn.

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Param Hotel Corp., the Portland-area company suing the Port of Astoria over the Astoria Riverwalk Inn, has more than doubled its demand in damages from the agency as the two parties head to trial next month.

Param had been courting heavily indebted former Riverwalk Inn operator Brad Smithart since 2014. The company filed suit against the Port in 2015 after the agency canceled Smithart’s lease and transferred operation of the hotel to Astoria Hospitality Ventures, whose owner is the brother-in-law of former Port Commissioner Stephen Fulton.

A weeklong trial is scheduled for early next month.

Param claims the Port breached a prior contract and favored a locally connected company. The hotelier has sought to take over the lease of the Riverwalk Inn or damages equivalent to the value of what the company could have made with Smithart’s remaining lease.

In an amended complaint filed last week, attorney Colin Hunter increased the estimated value of Param’s lost profits from $1.5 million to $4 million, in addition to the $500,000 he estimates in damages to Param’s reputation.

Clatsop County Circuit Court Judge Dawn McIntosh has denied attempts by the Port and Param to win judgment before trial. A separate lawsuit by the Port against Smithart is on hold until the legal battle with Param is resolved.


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