Walmart will pay $7 million to settle a lawsuit over a $7,500-a-month rental fee that the retailer charged to tenants in an East St. Louis suburb.
The company, which has about a dozen stores in the region, said it was paying the rent to help fund a new renovation of the vacant store at 1680 West St. in Waukesha, a suburb of St. Charles.
The suit was filed in the St. Clair County district court in October 2014.
Walmart had rented the warehouse to the Waukegan branch of the Stearns Company of Companies, a construction company.
The company was paid $1.5 million for the lease in December 2014.
The tenant sued the retailer in March 2015, claiming the rental fees violated the city’s rental ordinance.
The lawsuit claimed the fee was “unreasonable, unconscionable and unconscivile,” which included charges such as the rental fee for rent, utilities, taxes and insurance.
Wal-Mart has denied the allegations and has defended the rental scheme.
Walton and Waukelstein, who were also named as defendants in the suit, agreed to settle with the city.
Walter Walton, president and CEO of Walmart, left, and his son, Walter Jr., are seen at a news conference on Oct. 29, 2017, in New York City.
WalMart’s Wauleye store is pictured in this file photo.
(Photo: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)Walmart has about 300 stores in Wausau, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Minneapolis, and in some other U.S. cities.
The settlement agreement was not included in court documents.
Walman said it will pay a $3,500 rent to Waukee for the next 12 months, and a $2,500 fee for occupancy.
Walters Jr. and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit also received cash settlements.
The plaintiffs will also receive $735,000 to cover costs and expenses incurred during the litigation.
Waltsons attorneys, in a statement, said they are pleased to be able to settle the case.
The Walmart agreement will help ensure that the company’s long-term business plans are aligned with our city’s goals of providing safe, quality, affordable and convenient shopping for residents and visitors alike, the statement said.