Blue Jays player, coach refuse to pay rent for Toronto condos blaming COVID-19

Toronto Blue Jays slugger Ryan “Rowdy” Tellez and first base coach Mark Budzinski are accused of leaving a pair of Toronto landlords on the hook for hundreds of {dollars} in unpaid rents after signing leases for downtown Toronto condos.

Each males say for the reason that COVID-19 pandemic has suspended the Main League Baseball season and since they’re at present residing within the U.S., they should not need to pay their hire in Toronto.

Tellez, who was paid an $850,000 US signing bonus when he was drafted by the Blue Jays in 2013, and has made a whole bunch of hundreds extra enjoying professional baseball, hasn’t paid his $4,100 month-to-month hire cost since March, stated his landlord Linda Pinizzotto.

“I really feel I am being disrespected. I rented out my place to him in good religion,” she stated.

Pinizzotto confirmed CBC Information the lease which signifies Tellez in January signed the contract for the furnished two bed room apartment in a constructing on Blue Jays Means — steps from the Rogers Centre the place the crew usually performs.

The lease kicked in on March 24, 2020. However Pinizzotto stated after paying first and final month’s hire, Tellez hasn’t made every other funds.

“I might simply have put it on the long-term rental market. I did not do this. I gave it to him for six months in good religion as a result of he is with the Jays and the belief stage that goes with that.”

Losses add up

Because it stands, Tellez is not utilizing the Toronto apartment. The Canada-U.S. border has been closed for non-essential journey since March.

Tellez, by way of his Florida lawyer, advised Pinizzotto the lease is not legally binding anymore.

“A fundamental assumption below which the lease was entered into was that there could be a baseball season and that Mr. Tellez would play for the Toronto Blue Jays,” wrote Michelle Austin Pamies, a Fort Lauderdale lawyer.

Toronto landlord Linda Pinizzotto says Toronto Blue Jays participant Ryan Tellez owes hundreds of greenback in hire. (Jonathan Castell/CBC Information)

A provision within the contract seems to indicate that if Tellez was traded or despatched right down to the minor leagues in one other metropolis, both his new crew would make the hire funds, or if an appropriate alternative tenant could possibly be discovered, Pinizzotto might lease the apartment out to another person.

Pinizzotto stated Tellez has neither been traded, nor despatched right down to the minors. 

She stated her losses proceed to pile up.

“He is obligated to pay his hire; I nonetheless need to pay the mortgage and the taxes and the upkeep charges and so forth. And on prime of that I’ve the wifi, the cable and the hydro.”

‘Your shopper left within the cloak of darkness’

Pinizzotto has employed Toronto lawyer John Bianchi to recoup the misplaced hire.

“Using COVID as an excuse for nonpayment or nonperformance could also be permitted for ‘Joe Public’ who works within the trenches, however not on your shopper, who makes $555,000.00 or extra a 12 months, lives a privileged life and works for a multimillion greenback sports activities group,” Bianchi wrote to Tellez’s counsel in an April e-mail.

“Your shopper left within the cloak of darkness with out notifying my shopper.” 

Ryan Tellez signed a lease for this two bed room apartment close to Toronto’s Rogers Centre to start in March. Month-to-month hire is $4,100. (Linda Pinizzotto)

Pinizzotto stated she’s been unable to contact Tellez straight to debate the state of affairs.

The primary baseman, by way of his lawyer, didn’t reply to questions from CBC Information.

Whereas Pinizzotto acknowledges Tellez is the one that signed the lease, she wrote a prolonged, 10-page letter to Blue Jays Basic Supervisor Mark Shapiro in April, hoping the crew would possibly handle the state of affairs.

“Take management of your out of nation gamers and coaches to make sure they respect the enjoying area outdoors of the Rogers Centre, particularly with native landlords and different residents of our effective metropolis,” she wrote.

She stated an official with the crew known as her again, however the unpaid rents stay unresolved.

The Blue Jays group didn’t reply to questions from CBC Information.

Pinizzotto stated she’s now going to promote the apartment, partly as a result of hire arrears.

As a 40-year veteran in the actual property trade, together with founding the Condominium House owners Affiliation, Pinizzotto stated it will not be straightforward discovering a purchaser throughout the pandemic, particularly when the market is flooded with different condos on the market.

Complicating issues, she stated any potential purchaser will legally be obliged to honour Tellez’s present lease till it runs out on the finish of September, even when the lease is in arrears.

“Who’s going to purchase a apartment the place there is a non paying tenant hooked up to the property?” asks Pinizzotto.

First base coach Mark Budzinski

Pinizzotto’s husband agreed to hire his apartment on Wellington St. West to the Blue Jays’ first base coach Mark Budzinski in January.

The previous professional baseball participant signed a six month lease for the furnished one bed room apartment, plus den at a price of $3,100 a month. 

Budzinski’s lease for the suite which overlooks the Rogers Centre was set to kick in March 24.

“I made a decision to do that purely on the belief ‘hey, he is a Blue Jay.’ I used to be excited,” stated landlord Derrick Thomas.

Toronto landlord Derrick Thomas, pictured, leased Blue Jays coach Mark Budzinski a apartment close to Toronto’s Rogers Centre. He says Budzinski has stopped making funds. (Jonathan Castell/CBC Information)

Thomas stated the coach paid first and final month’s hire in March, and made his April hire cost as nicely. 

“I believed it was going nice. First and final months had been paid with out a difficulty. And even in April, he contacted me almost about paying.”

However a number of days later, Thomas stated he acquired a letter from his tenant’s paralegal asking for all his hire a reimbursement.

Thomas calculates the refund would quantity to $9,300 plus the lack of the month-to-month hire for the rest of the lease.

“That actually rubs me the mistaken manner,” stated Thomas.

Budzinski is now taking Thomas to Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board (LTB).

It handles disputes between landlords and their tenants.

Budzinski is asking an adjudicator to cancel his lease in addition to ordering the hire refund.

Blue Jays coach Mark Budzinski leased this one bed room, plus den Toronto apartment on Wellington St. West. The hire is $3,100 monthly. (Linda Pinizzotto)

“As you realize there was an excessive change in circumstances as a result of COVID-19 and my shopper certainly is unable to legally enter Canada and to my understanding has not even had the chance to select up his keys,” Toronto paralegal Jeffrey Shabes wrote to Thomas in an April 30 e-mail reviewed by CBC Information.

In his software to the LTB, Shabes stated Budzinski’s lease contract has been “pissed off.”

It is a authorized time period suggesting the apartment cannot be accessed or used as a result of pandemic and a shuttered Canadian border.

The Jays’ first base coach, by way of Shabes, declined to be interviewed concerning the state of affairs.

“An software was filed on the Landlord and Tenant Board on behalf of my shopper and has been scheduled for later this month. My shopper will in fact respect any determination made by the Board,” wrote Shabes in an announcement to CBC Information.

Leases legally binding contracts in Ontario: lawyer

Blair Drummie, a Toronto actual property lawyer, stated because it stands each Tellez and Budzinski must be honouring their leases. 

“They’ve signed a legally binding contract and except there’s one thing that claims a pandemic permits us out the contract, they’re doubtless out of luck,” he stated. 

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Drummie stated Budzinski might have a tall hill to climb to assert COVID-19 has legally pissed off the rental contract. Often the rented property in query must be unliveable to cancel a lease, he stated.

“If there was a hurricane, a tidal wave or the home burned down, then for positive the contract is pissed off.”

An adjudicator or choose must decide if COVID-19 is purpose sufficient to cancel a lease.

“The legally accountable factor for them to do is sublease to another person and proceed to pay hire till a brand new tenant is discovered,” Drummie stated of the 2 Jays workers.

 “They’ve a obligation to the owner to pay hire.”

 MLB season on pause

The MLB season was paused March 12 when the league suspended spring coaching and delayed the beginning of the season as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Each the league and the gamers affiliation are nonetheless attempting to work out when and if a season ought to resume and the way a lot of their salaries gamers could be paid throughout a shortened season.

The Toronto Blue Jays, like all Main League Baseball groups, have had their season paused as a result of COVID-19. (Getty Photos)

In the meantime, gamers like Tellez, who aren’t assured a spot on their main league crew’s roster, are being paid wherever from $500 to $1,000 a day as an alternative of their full main league salaries.

Tellez is listed as having a 2020 wage of $550,000 US.

It is unclear how a lot Budzinski earns. He is a realtor in Virginia throughout the off season.

The crew has requested many employees to take a 10 per cent pay reduce whereas the baseball season stays in limbo.

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