Marijuana smell triggers eviction notice for Army veteran’s music studio in San Antonio

Army veteran Jarrett Gadison’s brand new San Antonio music studio got off to an inauspicious start to its new digs this month.

About three weeks after Gadison signed a three-year lease for Stop Playing Studios at 5545 Fredericksburg Road, the landlord announced he was starting his business from the space.

The landlord cited a “marijuana smell” coming from Gadison’s suites four times and “multiple tenant complaints of nuisance” for giving the notice.

Gadison, 37, denied anyone smoked marijuana at the company.

Nevertheless, said Gadison, the owner changed the locks last Sunday.

On Monday, Gadison sued the owner — Shaffer Capital Investments — for wrongful eviction and fraud in San Antonio District Court. A judge granted Gadison a temporary restraining order preventing Shaffer Capital from denying him access to space or interfering with his business.

The next day, he added, a sheriff’s deputy served the restraining order and obtained keys from Gadison for the new locks.

The judge scheduled a hearing for Nov. 29 on Gadison’s request for a permanent injunction, which would keep everything status quo until a trial.

In the meantime, Gadison tries to figure out why the landlord wants him out of the building.

“Since the day we arrived here, they kept coming up with different excuses why we can’t stay here,” he said. “Unfortunately, I tried to have a conversation with him about it. Other people in the building are complaining. But I have proof that I didn’t do anything they say.

Brian Shaffer, managing partner of Boerne-based Shaffer Capital, declined to comment on the dispute Thursday, but called Gadison a “great guy.” Shaffer is a dentist at a VA dental clinic in San Antonio.

Career transition

Gadison launched Stop Playing Studios last year. Prior to starting the company, he had a 16-year military career, most recently working as a medical doctor with the rank of staff sergeant at Brooke Army Medical Center.

Gadison initially opened a smaller studio near NE Loop 410 and Starcrest Drive.

“I had been an engineer the whole time I was in the military, so I kind of got experience going to different places and recording different kinds of music,” he said. declared.

Gadison had so many customers, however, that he didn’t have enough recording space. He started looking for a bigger place. An assistant found the office building on Fredericksburg Road and he signed the lease on October 15. A copy of the lease, filed with his lawsuit, shows the rent is $3,444 per month for the first year.

The 2,460 square foot space provides enough space for Gadison to operate three recording booths. He charges $25, $50, or $75 per hour for each booth.

“We have electric guitars, acoustic guitars,” he said. “We are able to make beats on location, mix and master. Everything can be done here. We also do podcasts and music videos.

Gadison’s specialty is recording gospel and neo-soul music, but he employs other engineers who record different types of music, including rap and punk.

Most of the clients are people who want to get into the music business, but he said some are attached to music labels.

Stop Playing Studios recorded hip-hop artist Trilly Polk, who hails from Houston, and Amaru Jahseh, who Gadison described as a “rising” artist from San Antonio.

After the recording, mixing and mastering is done, it will email customers their music as an MP3 file or WAV file. The studio will also distribute the work to music streaming sites including iTunes, Spotify and YouTube Music.

Special provisions of the lease

The lease signed by Gadison contains “special provisions” which state that “music cannot be at a volume audible to other tenants during business hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Volume can be increased as needed after 5 p.m. hours without violating city noise ordinances.

The lease also states that after-hours use is permitted as required by the tenant.

The restriction suited Gadison because most of his business is done in the evening, he said.

On Oct. 17, according to Gadison’s lawsuit, the owner’s managing partners informed him of a “weak toilet system” they said was caused by people throwing away baby wipes. A few days later, Brian Shaffer told Gadison he believed the problem originated in Gadison’s studio, the lawsuit adds.

Shaffer then told Gadison that he should move out because the building has a homeowners association that has rules about what kind of businesses can operate in the building. The suit also indicates that Shaffer said he didn’t know Gadison’s business was a music studio.

The lease specifies that Gadison may use the space for “podcasting, broadcast media use, and audio recording.”

Shaffer also told Gadison that residents of a neighborhood behind the building complained of loud noise at night, Gadison said. Gadison performed a test by turning the music up high and said he couldn’t hear it from the neighborhood. It’s on the opposite side of the building where the studio is, he added.

Note

According to Gadison’s lawsuit, Shaffer presented him with a “notice of termination of right of occupancy” the following Friday. The notice is dated Nov. 5, but Gadison said he received it on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, a Thursday.

Shaffer “stated that one of the tenants smelled marijuana in the hallway and that it must have come from Gadison’s studio,” the complaint adds. Gadison disagreed and said he had no knowledge of the activity.

“First of all, the hallway is a common space,” he said. “No. 2, it wasn’t me. He (Brian Shaffer) came into my office and I asked him if it smelled like marijuana in here. No. So how can you assume someone in the hallway must be from my company?

“I think it was just an excuse he was trying to use because they say anything and everything to create a problem,” Gadison added.

Gadison could only guess at one reason why the other tenants didn’t want him in the building.

“Maybe they come to work and they’re not very happy with their job,” he said. “But they see us here living our best lives and they don’t like it. It’s literally the only thing I can think of.

The end of occupancy notice went into effect last Sunday.

“I told him it was against the law. You can’t do that,” Gadison said.

The lease document, however, states that the landlord may terminate the tenant’s right of occupancy with at least three days’ written notice if the tenant is in default. The landlord did not file an eviction case with the Place 2 Justice of the Peace, possibly because of the wording of the lease.

The document clarifies that the tenant cannot allow the property to be used for “any activity which is a nuisance or which is offensive, loud or dangerous” or which “violates any applicable law”.

Gadison alleges in his lawsuit that Shaffer Capital is trying to evict him “without cause.” He accuses the owner of having tried to “manufacture a default in the lease”.

Gadison seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages from Shaffer Capital. He’s spent over $10,000 soundproofing the space and making other upgrades he wants back.

Meanwhile, Gadison searches for a new location for the business.

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