The Port of Astoria intends to appeal a court judgment that awarded Param Hotel Corp. the lease of the Astoria Riverwalk Inn.
Param plans to take over operations of the hotel in November. The company has promised to pay off nearly $400,000 in debts former operator Brad Smithart owed to the Port, Astoria and Clatsop County. The company also plans to pay more than $185,000 to Smithart, who owes significant back taxes and has relocated to New York.
Param recently filed for more than $200,000 in legal fees against the Port.
A trial scheduled to begin Tuesday in a lawsuit by the Port against Smithart has been delayed until after the results of litigation with Param.
A jury recently awarded Param a $4 million verdict for the Port’s alleged breach of a contract and fraud. The Portland hotelier had been trying since 2014 to take over for Smithart. In 2015, the Port Commission voted to give the company Smithart’s remaining lease in exchange for their paying off his debts. But after the vote, the deal fell apart, with both sides blaming each other.
Circuit Court Judge Dawn McIntosh later reduced the settlement against the Port to less than $1 million, citing the Oregon Tort Claims Act limiting payouts against public agencies. She gave Param the option of taking damages or a seven-year lease on the hotel. The company chose the lease.