Camelot Club announces closing in downtown Baton Rouge: 'It is a sad day for all of us' _lowres

Advocate staff photo by RICHARD ALAN HANNON Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks at the Camelot Club in Baton Rouge in 2012.

The Camelot Club’s closure Friday came just two weeks after its landlord sued the downtown institution in 19th Judicial District Court, claiming the club owed more than $257,000 in back rent.

“The defendant, Camelot Inc., has failed to pay petitioner any payments on many months and has only made partial payments on some months,” Tower Real Estate Holdings LLC said in the lawsuit. “The defendant, Camelot Inc., has also written the petition NSF (non-sufficient funds) checks on several occasions.”

Camelot Inc. breached its contract and Tower mailed the company an eviction notice, the lawsuit says. Tower also asked the court to allow it to seize the Camelot Club’s property, except those items protected by state law.

Owner Tom Tanner sent a letter to club members Friday, saying the club had no other option than to close.

He blamed the club’s closing on a dramatic increase in rent and declining membership.

“It is a sad day for all of us,” Tanner said in the letter.

However, Tower’s lawsuit says Tanner and the Camelot Club’s 10-year, seven-month lease, which began April 1, 2013, started with monthly payments of $25,688.79 that would escalate to $27,771.67 in the last year of the lease.

Tanner could not be reached immediately for comment on Monday.

Camelot Club members and devotees were caught off guard by news of the private club’s closing and money troubles.

Jim Harris, president of Harris DeVille & Associates, said he was saddened by the club’s closure.

The downtown public affairs and issues management firm had used the club for many years, Harris said. The Camelot Club’s location was convenient for the firm and its clients.

Follow Ted Griggs on Twitter, @tedgriggsbr.