SkyWi: Qwest delays interruption, New Mexico landlords win eviction

In New Mexico, SkyWi received a temporary stay of execution, er, service interruption from Qwest, but the company's New Mexico subsidiary is being evicted from its Las Cruces offices for failure to pay its rent - a move that has over $260,000 dollars attached to it.  Further legal action against SkyWi over failure to pay its bills for telecommunications equipment leasing is scheduled to be heard in a New Mexico court Monday.

Qwest's action came on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at a workshop held by the New Mexico Public Regulations Commission (PRC). Qwest will now shut down its lines on March 9 along with nearly every other New Mexico phone company stiffed for payment, including Windstream, Tularosa Basin Telephone Company, Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative and E.N.M.R. Telephony Cooperative. Windstream says it hasn't been paid since July 2008 and calls the amount owed "substantial."

However, phone lines may be the least of the problem at this point in time. ZiaNet's former owners had leased back commercial office space in Las Cruces and telecommunications gear to One Connect, but SkyWi failed to pay its rent and gear leasing fees in January and February. Public documents filed with the New Mexico court system reveal that Anthony and Sylvia Smith filed a pair of lawsuits to evict SkyWi from the premise after failing to pay the rent and to take possession of the leased equipment after failing to pay leasing feeds in January; SkyWi also has failed to pay personal property taxes assessed against the equipment.

On Feb. 23, under case number CV-2009-212, a judge ruled in favor of the Smiths to terminate the lease and get the Sheriff's department to remove SkyWi from the Las Cruces office space. The judge also ruled that SkyWi owes the Smiths the rent for February ($10,285.35), late fees ($1028.53), the remainder of the lease amount owed from March through the end of June 2009 ($41,141.36), and the balance due on a promissory note for space improvements ($208,201.61).

Total amount SkyWi owes the Smiths is at $260,656.84, plus attorney fees and court costs, and less any amounts which might be collected if the space is leased to someone else in the time period of March through June 2009.

For more:
- Silver City Sun-News reports Qwest reprieve for SkyWi.

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