An Omaha landlord is seeking to evict a local pharmacy over allegations of conduct unbecoming a business.

MHP Development — which oversees Miracle Hills Park — filed a lawsuit this week saying it wants to evict Kohll’s Pharmacy from its business park at 114th Street and West Dodge Road.

The landlord’s stated reason: Kohll’s recent criminal conviction in federal court for distributing a powerful opioid that boosts the performance of racehorses. A judge put the pharmacy on five years of corporate probation and ordered it to pay $200,000 in fines for the incident in which Kohll’s obtained the performance-enhancing drug, repackaged it and provided it to a veterinarian in Louisiana.

“The actions of tenant that led to the indictment and ultimate conviction ... were criminal acts, outside the scope of tenant’s permitted use,” the lawsuit says.

Further, the lawsuit alleges, Kohll’s actions “did not adhere to the requirement in the lease that tenant conduct itself in a first-class manner.”

Amy Jorgensen, an attorney for Kohll’s, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Kohll’s — which was founded in 1948 — operates nine pharmacies in Nebraska and Iowa. The lawsuit targets only one Kohll’s location and an offshoot — Essential Pharmacy Compounding, which operates out of the Miracle Hills location and was involved in the 2010-12 distribution.

Essential Pharmacy Compounding “has a long history of providing safe and effective compounded medication to humans and animals,” according to Kohll’s website.

The lawsuit points to the outcome of the criminal case against Kohll’s and a Louisiana veterinarian, Kyle Hebert.

In February, U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter sentenced Hebert to 15 months in prison and fined him $10,000. He has appealed his conviction.

Late last year, a jury convicted Kohll’s of conspiracy and introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead.

From November 2010 to December 2012, Kohll’s purchased the drug dermorphin, an opioid 40 times more powerful than morphine, from a company in Torrance, Calif.

Kohll’s repackaged it and labeled it as D-Peptide. After repackaging, Kohll’s sold the drug to Hebert and other veterinarians.

Hebert then put the drug into syringes and gave the loaded syringes to racetrack trainers tasked with the horses’ care.

Before trial, Kohll’s denied wrongdoing and said it didn’t know what Hebert was doing with the drugs that it provided to him. A jury convicted both Hebert and the pharmacy.

Now, the developers of Miracle Hills Park have turned to clauses rarely used to try to evict a business. One section of the lease requires the tenant to “comply ... with all governmental laws, ordinances, orders and regulations.” Another section says the tenant “shall conduct (itself) ... in a first-class manner consistent with reputable business standards and practices.” Another one says that any deviation from the business’s specified use “shall constitute a substantial breach of the terms of this lease.”

The lawsuit says the landlord gave notice that Kohll’s had defaulted on terms of the lease in November, just after the jury delivered its verdict.

Kohll’s still operates a store at the location. The action asks a judge to approve the landlord’s attempts to evict.

Reporter - Courts

Todd Cooper covers courts, lawyers, trials, legal issues, the justice system and government wrongdoing for The World-Herald. Follow him on Twitter @CooperonCourts. Phone: 402-444-1275.

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(1) comment

Rodney James

I'm surprised the owners would want another empty space in that plaza, it's almost entirely empty as it is unless that is the plan ....

Welcome to the discussion.

Please keep it clean, turn off CAPS LOCK and don't threaten anyone. Be truthful, nice and proactive. And share with us - we love to hear eyewitness accounts.

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