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A June sewer backup in the basement of the Kindler Hotel in downtown Lincoln delayed its opening by a month, hotel officials said. 

The owner of the $19 million hotel on the northeast corner of 11th and P streets has filed a tort claim with the city of Lincoln that seeks $130,000.

The claim alleges grease blocked the sewer line, and city negligence led to the backup.

"Routine maintenance and periodic inspections would have identified blockages and void in the main that directly led to the damages at issue here," owner Nick Castaneda said in the claim.

The city is still investigating the backup and awaiting further testing of the sewer service lines in the area, Assistant City Attorney Liz Elliott said. 

City staff have already ruled out a defect in the sewer main there. Further testing should conclude in a couple weeks, she said.

The hotel opened to guests last week with 34 of the 49 rooms available, Castaneda said in an interview.

The remaining 15 rooms will be ready before the Sept. 28 Ohio State-Nebraska game, he said.

Hausmann Construction crews working on the hotel discovered sewage on the basement floor on the morning of June 11, according to the claim.

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The hotel has filed with its insurer for costs related to the cleanup, but its policy has a $50,000 cap.

Castaneda has requested reimbursement from the city for costs beyond what the insurer can pay out, an amount including lost revenue. 

Wood flooring, trim and drywall were replaced during the cleanup, according to invoices.

Castaneda is hopeful he and city officials can reach an agreement on this so he doesn't need to pursue further legal action.

Meanwhile, he hopes people stop by and check out the hotel.

Though fencing remains due to ongoing streetscape work, the hotel is open, he said. 

His staff will put a scrim around the fencing as the hotel waits for patio decor to arrive in November, he said.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2657 or rjohnson@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LJSRileyJohnson.

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