Popular party house Rasputin's Equestrian Manor, the subject of our November story "Party Favors," closed on Monday, after the property owner evicted the tenants who had been throwing lavish bashes there since September.
But though the party may be over, the drama may be just beginning. Tanya Rathjen, the owner of the multi-acre estate in Chandler, is alleging that the organizer's of Rasputin's Equestrian Manor took several of her things out of the house when they left, including the refrigerator, the washer, and the dryer. And Rathjen's description of the scene she says she encountered at the vacated house is worlds away from the racy-but-refined "private club" the tenants were running.
Rathjen says she was aware the tenants -- Tap, Matthew, Mez, and John -- were essentially treating the house like a private nightclub and throwing big parties. But she says she became concerned when she started receiving complaints from neighbors and letters from people telling her about things that had allegedly happened at the parties, including an accident where a party-goer's face was badly burned when he tried to join a fire dancing performance. "That's a liability for me," she says.
Rathjen says her hard-partying tenants were also behind in rent payments. They moved in September 9, after signing a two-year lease for $5,500 a month and a $1000 deposit. Rathjen says they still owe that deposit, plus $10,000 in back rent. She says a judge at the San Tan Justice Court ruled in her favor and issued a $10k judgment against Tap Reeve, the primary leaser, last Tuesday, and the lease was terminated.
(Interestingly, Rathjen also used the property for parties for a while; our Googling quickly found a link to her Meetup.com swingers group, where she advertises parties with cover charges at "my secret house," with the same address as Rasputin's.)
On Monday, Tap Reeve vacated the property, along with his room mates, including Matthew Jeffries, who says the group is now looking for a new place to host their parties, some place even bigger.
Rathjen describes what she says they left behind at her place: "The pool had garbage in it -- every light bulb in the house was broken, and the glass was in the pool, along with some cabbage or lettuce or something, and a bunch of trash. They burned some of my things, left cabinets broken and holes in the walls. They painted all over the walls with graffiti. It's out and out vandalism with over $50k damage."
Asked if any of the theft and vandalism allegations are true, Jeffries takes a long pause, and says, "I don't know. I had all of my stuff out of there by 4 p.m. Monday."
Rathjen says she won't press vandalism charges against her former tenants if they return the property she says they stole from her. "They took my pool table, my washer and dryer, my refrigerator, my artwork, thermostats, my pool control box, and several other items that belonged to me. I'm surprised they left the stripper pole."
Tap Reeve has a different story. "We stole nothing and left the house in very good condition."
We'll post a follow-up as soon as we receive photos of the alleged damage from Rathjen and a copy of the court record, but consider this party crashed. For now.
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