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One Bank, Landlord Tussle in Lawsuit Over Former OneBanc Branch

2 min read

The April press release announcing the pending purchase of Little Rock’s One Bank & Trust caused a double take.

First National Bank of Paragould would be taking on six banking locations as part of the deal expected to close in the fall. But wait.

Didn’t One Bank have seven full-service locations in Pulaski County?

That seventh office at 8000 Cantrell Road in Little Rock went dark at year’s end, and the leased branch is now the subject of a landlord-tenant dispute.

The landlord, Jane Swope, claims One Bank is still on the financial hook for the 2,876-SF branch and is suing for breach of lease and unlawful detainer.

The bank’s position is that Swope, through her attorney-in-fact Margaret Swope, agreed to terminate the lease agreement with a substitute tenant taking One Bank’s place. That verbal agreement was made in a March 12 phone coversation between Jerry Pavlas, president and CEO of One Bank, and Margaret Swope, according to court filings.

Her lawyer disputes that account. “She did not agree to any changes, and the lease contains a provision that any changes have to be agreed to in writing,” said Hamilton Kemp of Little Rock. “That didn’t happen.”

Initially, One Bank wanted to sublease the property for use as an urgent care and walk-in center by Baptist-Urgent Team JV LLC of Nashville, Tennessee.

Then, One Bank proposed terminating its lease to be replaced by an eight-year lease deal between Swope and Baptist-Urgent Team for $71,900 per year.

That included the new tenant gaining the right to assign or sublease any part of the property without prior written consent of the landlord. This proviso is absent from the current deal between Swope and the bank.

On April 1, One Bank was to start paying annual rent of $100,883 on a lease that expires on March 31, 2030. The agreement included a yearly rent escalator of 2.5 percent that culminated in annual rent of $132,368 in the final 12 months.

The case is in the court of Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen.

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