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SCA rejects deal with former restaurant operator

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Fairway Community Center

The restaurant and bar section of the Fairway Community Center is pictured on Nov. 17, a week after the Spring Creek Association board of directors approved a contract for Karr Food and Entertainment LLC to fill the vacancy left by Cook's Fire Oven & Grill. 

SPRING CREEK – Directors of the Spring Creek Association have rejected an offer from former Fairway Community Center restaurant operator Ericia Cook to pay half the amount they say she owes for back rent.

Cook was co-owner of Cook’s Fire Oven and Grill in Spring Creek. The restaurant opened in February 2018 under a five-year agreement, and won multiple Elko Daily Free Press “Readers’ Choice” awards while it was in business. An Elko location was opened in the spring of 2021, and the Spring Creek location was closed that fall.

Board members said Cook defaulted on her contract and dissolved the company. She was one month behind in paying rent when she closed, and an additional five months on the contract were added to bring her total debt to $30,770, according to the board.

Cook was not at the board meeting, and SCA attorney Katie McConnell explained that she did not send legal representation because she was trying to save money.

When contacted by the Elko Daily Free Press, Cook said she did not intend to close the Spring Creek location but “everybody decided after Covid to quit working, so I had to pick one or the other. I wanted to have two businesses, but I had to choose when nobody wanted to work.”

Restaurants were among the small businesses that received aid during the pandemic but Cook said the association did not give her a break on her rent.

“I’m still struggling. I still can’t find help,” she said.

Cook said she has tried to make repayment offers but the board would not accept them.

The board is trying to collect from Cook personally, and discussed measures such as whether it was possible to obtain a lien against her.

“In Nevada, you cannot dissolve an entity without paying obligations,” McConnell told the board.

Cook’s latest offer was to pay $14,832, roughly half the claimed amount to settle the dispute. Instead, the board decided Wednesday to make a counter-offer to accept 12 monthly payments of $2,500 a month in order to recover the full amount. If the payments are not made they will proceed with litigation.

“We have not received one dollar as a gesture of good faith” on the debt, Board Chairman John Featherston said.

The restaurant “was excessively dirty, unmaintained. None of the cleaning fees and none of the associated costs … were paid or discussed.”

Cook says she left things in good condition and took pictures to prove it.

Former SCA board chairman Joshua Park favored pursing the full amount owed.

“Right now this board has the opportunity to take an action and send a message to make this right,” he said. “And if she goes bankrupt, well guess what? Boohoo.”

“Every person in Spring Creek ought to know what she did to them,” Park said, “because they’re the ones paying this bill, not us.”

He said the amount comes to 50 cents a month for each property owner over a year.

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