The real estate company of wealthy Santa Fe art dealer Gerald Peters is declining to renew the lease on spaces in a downtown retail center rented by Stephen Fox. Fox has been selling art from the bottom floor of the Santa Fe Arcade on E San Francisco Street—managed by Peters' company Southwest Asset Management—since 2010. The 66-year-old former journalist is known to many as a skeptic who never hesitates to dial newspapers with tips about injustices.
Fox recently informed SFR and others about criminal charges against Southwest Asset Management's new president, Joaquin Sanchez. Records show that in 2010, authorities charged Sanchez with battery against a household member and child abandonment/abuse. Both charges were dropped, and the only criminal conviction on Sanchez' record is a DWI, to which he pleaded guilty in April.
Fox alleges a letter Sanchez sent Fox last week—a notice that Fox's leases will be terminated in September—was intended as retaliation for telling Peters' attorney about Sanchez' record. "I'm certainly not going to go out of business because I've printed something off mugshots.com," Fox tells SFR. "I feel like this is an injustice, what's happening."
Southwest officials, including Sanchez, deny the allegation that the action is retaliatory. "We've got a long history of property management issues" with Fox, says Sanchez, without elaborating on those issues.
Sanchez recently requested that Fox and other tenants in the bottom floor of the building remove merchandise displays from the hallway. Fox protested the move. Peters, who with his wife Kathleen is listed as the owner of the arcade, said through a spokeswoman that he has "no involvement" in the day-to-day management of the 51,000 square-foot retail center that's valued at nearly $8 million.