BIG RAPIDS, Mich. (Michigan News Source) – A legal battle has been unfolding between China-linked Gotion Inc. and Stephan Fenstermacher, an individual residing in Big Rapids, Michigan, who sold the company property for their $2.4 billion EV battery plant but still resides on the land because of an occupancy agreement between the two parties.

Gotion Inc. is seeking to terminate Fenstermacher’s tenancy and regain possession of the property located at 21677 18 Mile Road in Mecosta County.

Gotion claims tenant breached the terms of two agreements.

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According to court documents in a lawsuit filed in 77th District Court, Gotion, Inc., the landlord, alleges that Fenstermacher, the tenant, breached the terms of two agreements including the Occupancy Agreement that allows him to use what is referred to as “Parcel 5” as a single family residence until July 31, 2024. The rent amount for the use of this parcel was listed as $0.

Another agreement, the License Agreement, allows Fenstermacher temporary access to Parcels 1, 2 and 4-7 for his asphalt paving business. This agreement expired on December 15, 2023.

What are the claims?

Gotion’s attorneys with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP allege that Fenstermacher violated the agreements due to his failure to maintain the property and his unauthorized alterations to the premises without getting Gotion’s permission.

According to the complaint filed by Gotion, Inc., Fenstermacher not only failed to maintain the property but also made unauthorized alterations, including the removal of entry gates, destroying asphalt, and leaving debris scattered across the premises.

Additionally, Fenstermacher allegedly violated the terms of the agreement by allowing guests to access the property against the landlord’s objections and engaged in activities prohibited by law, such as baiting and feeding deer.

Tenant served notice to vacate property.

Gotion, Inc. took legal action by issuing a Termination Notice to Fenstermacher on December 21, 2023, demanding that Fenstermacher vacate the premises within 30 days.

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In a letter to Fenstermacher on December 21st, Ashley G. Chrysler with Warner Norcross & Judd says, “Gotion also demands that you reimburse Gotion for any costs Gotion will incur to restore the property back to its pre-closing condition. As noted, Gotion is currently obtaining quotes for the specific amounts and will invoice you directly once those amounts are known. Should you fail to comply with these demands, Gotion reserves all rights and remedies at law and equity, including bringing legal action against you for your breach of the License and Occupancy Agreements.”

Following Fenstermacher’s failure to comply, Gotion, Inc. issued a Notice to Quit on January 24, 2024, demanding possession of the property by February 26, 2024.

Tenant still remains on property. Lawsuit filed for eviction.

Despite these notices, Fenstermacher remains in possession of the premises, prompting Gotion, Inc. to pursue eviction through Michigan’s 77th District Court.

While Gotion, Inc. asserts its rights to terminate the tenancy and regain possession of the property, Fenstermacher’s response to the allegations and legal defense strategies are yet to be revealed.

Due to ongoing litigation, Gotion will not comment on the lawsuit. Michigan News Source also reached out to Fenstermacher but he did not return our request for comment.

The case has a pretrial scheduled for April 9th.

Gotion has also sued Green Charter Township for breach of contract, alleging that the township breached a development agreement by retracting its approval for a crucial water line necessary for the project’s operation.