Judge rules downtown clothing store Franklin Rogers owes landlord $65K

FRANKLIN ROGERS Ltd., a men’s clothier located at 142 Westminster St. across from the "Superman" building, has had signs indicating it was “temporarily closed” throughout the summer. But now a sign dated Oct. 4 hanging on the front door reads “In accordance with Rhode Island District Court Case #6CA 2023-09594, this property is closed and nobody is allowed to enter without RI Constable Ken Norigan’s permission.”

PROVIDENCE – One of downtown’s last remaining men’s clothing shops has been evicted from its space and now owes its landlord thousands of dollars, according to a court ruling.

Franklin Rogers Ltd., a men’s clothier located at 142 Westminster St. across from the “Superman” building, has had signs indicating it was “temporarily closed” throughout the summer. But now a sign dated Oct. 4 hanging on the front door reads “In accordance with Rhode Island District Court Case #6CA 2023-09594, this property is closed and nobody is allowed to enter without RI Constable Ken Norigan’s permission.”

The posting comes after a Sept. 29 ruling in which a judge granted the landlord, Lauderdale Associates LLC, possession of the space was held by Franklin Rogers and ordered the clothing store to pay more than $65,000. The judgment was the result of a commercial property eviction complaint Lauderdale, which is run by William Piccerelli, filed against the store on Sept. 19.

The complaint came after Lauderdale had provided Franklin Rogers with a written notice on Sept. 11 that was obtained by Providence Business News stating they owed more than $49,000 in rent.

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According to an eviction complaint filed by Lauderdale on Sept. 19 that was also obtained by PBN, Franklin Rogers and Lauderdale entered into two lease agreements dated April 2018 through which the menswear store rented the second floor along with the first floor and mezzanine of the building.

According to the lease agreements, Franklin Rogers had to pay Lauderdale a monthly rent ranging from $1,200 to $1,850 for the second floor and an annual rent ranging $60,000 to $69,000 for the use of the first floor and mezzanine. Along with these payments, Franklin Rogers was responsible for taxes and utility charges as they became due.

The agreements expired on June 30, but Franklin Rogers had not paid rent or its share of electricity from February to September of this year, according to the complaint.

As a result, Lauderdale requested that Franklin Rogers be evicted from the property and sought a payment of more than $49,000 for possession, back rent and utilities.

Franklin Rogers had remained open as several other menswear stores shut their doors during the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t immediately clear when Franklin Rogers closed this year, but longtime Franklin Rogers owner, Roger Gross, who had more than 50 years of experience selling business suits, died in April at the age of 77.

A representative of Pannone Lopes Devereaux & O’Gara LLC, one of the law firms representing Lauderdale, declined to comment on the case. Franklin Rogers did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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