Court sanctions property management group for closing Paisan building

MADISON, Wis. –A Dane County judge found the property management group liable for the building that formerly housed Paisan in defiance of a court order Wednesday.

Judge Juan Colas ruled that Executive Managers, Inc. and Rice Investors, LLC will pay $1,000 a day until they comply with a court order requiring them to pay for routine inspections on the building, located at 131 West Wilson Street.

“Failure to make even a minimal effort to ask the owners of the building on whose behalf EMI is working for additional funds to comply with the court order demonstrates an intentional disregard for the order,” Judge Colas said. “There really was no effort made here to do the least that was necessary.”

Paisan’s Restaurant, Inc., filed a lawsuit against EMI, after it was forced out of its building space due to structural issues late last year.

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It was the second time in four months that staff had to leave the building. Paisan owner Wally Borowski said last month that the city of Madison would only allow the building to reopen if the owner paid to have a third party perform regular inspections on a temporary shoring system.

For now, the restaurant operates from its sister location Porta Bella.

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The building was first evacuated in September last year. According to Borowski, city reports show officials were aware of the building’s structural issues as early as 2016.

Delayed repairs would have caused problems, and city officials feared the building would collapse. Underground support columns were installed in the building’s parking garage as a temporary solution.

RELATED: City orders closure of downtown building housing Paisan’s

It’s unclear when, or if, EMI will start paying for inspections, or when tenants will be allowed to return. Borowski previously said it was “very unlikely” that Paisan’s would return to 131 West Wilson Street in the future.