The merchants of Boston's historic Faneuil Hall market yesterday filed a class action suit in a Massachusetts court against their landlord, Columbia-based Rouse Co., claiming that Rouse has been overcharging them for years "with an intent to deceive and defraud."
The suit marks the culmination of a long-simmering dispute between the Faneuil Hall shop owners and Rouse. It asserts that Faneuil Hall Marketplace Inc., a subsidiary of the Rouse Co., "has systematically overcharged the current and former retail tenants by secretly and improperly inflating" maintenance costs.
The harshly worded suit, filed in Massachusetts Superior Court, accuses the Rouse Co. not only of willful deceit, but also of violating leases and profiting "unjustly at the expense of its tenants."
Rouse spokeswoman Cathy Lickteig denied the charges.
"In no way have we ever knowingly overbilled any merchant for any common area charge or maintenance charges," the spokeswoman said.