Internet provider Smart Networks evicted

MARIETTA – A company providing high-speed Internet to unserviced areas of Washington County has been evicted from its offices for not paying the rent.

Smart Networks LLC of Marietta was leasing office space at the Dime Bank Building for $2,000 a month, but in December 2012 and again in April 2013 the company began to fall behind on its lease payments, according to a lawsuit filed in May by landlord Promanco Inc. and building owner Duck Creek Realty in Washington County Common Pleas Court.

The plaintiffs say they’re owed $29,666.27 in back rent and are asking for court costs and attorney fees to be paid by the company.

The company was in Suite 728 on the seventh floor of the Dime Bank Building.

Smart Networks for two years has provided high-speed Internet service to unserved areas of Washington County. The company Smart will be located on Greene Street, said Eric Mostrom, CEO for Smart Networks.

Mostrom said Smart Networks moved to the 221 Greene St. in July.

“We’re still operating and growing, but from a new location at 221 Greene St. which is much easier to access for our customers to pay their bills or ask about new service,” Mostrom said on Monday.

Mostrom said the company was going through a difficult time when the lease payments were missed.

“We told (the landlord) that things were getting a little tight and asked if we could make lower monthly payments but extend the lease period. And we wanted to work something out by offering to wire the building for better technology,” he said. “We also offered $27,000 to settle the account, but they didn’t want to work with us.”

A comment from Promanco was not immediately available.

A hearing is scheduled today before Washington County Common Pleas Court Judge Randall Burnworth.

In 2012 Smart Networks was chosen by the county commission to lease nine state-owned Multi-Agency Radio Communication System towers to make high-speed Internet services available to residents in more rural areas of the county.

“The state owns the towers, but they’re leased through the county, which is the local government entity,” county commission President Ron Feathers said.

Commissioner Tim Irvine said the company paid $9,600 for the annual lease of the towers in 2013, and its tower lease payments have been kept current to date.

“The towers are each leased for $150 or $50 a month, and the lease is paid in one annual payment by the company,” he said.