Tarpon Springs Business owner says cleaner won't pay rent - WFLA News Channel 8

Tarpon Springs Business owner says cleaner won't pay rent

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TARPON SPRINGS, FL (WFLA) -

Businessman George Levey is proud to show off his big plans for a foreclosed plaza he bought from a bank, back in September. Drawings show a completely renovated corner at a Tarpon Springs location. But there's a hold up.

Levey says the owner of "A-1 discount cleaners" has not paid rent for the six months he's owned the plaza, and 15 months before that. He should be paying about 3-thousand dollars a month. And you figure out the math. It's pretty simple, times 21, plus water.

Levey's frustration boiled over recently, when he hired four men to parade along Highway 19 with  signs that say, "A-1 cleaners has not paid rent in 21 months. He posted a larger sign on the marquis out on the highway for drivers to see.

The owner of "A-1" is moving his store a mile south. That's where we found Ravi Patel inside, but he was in no mood to talk to us about the situation.

The only thing I would have left to do would be to break the law, which I refuse to do" said Levey.

Good decision, says St. Petersburg attorney Charles Gallagher. "In Florida there is an entitlement to due process and it's gonna be a civil matter. Gallagher says Levey must not shut off the water, or electricity to force " A-1" out. "He's required to go by Florida law and file an eviction action and comply with the court's requirements and have the court enter an order in which the person is displaced from the property" said Gallagher.

Levey's attorney filed a lawsuit to evict "A-1 cleaners." The suit says "A-1" agreed to pay 2-thousand dollars a month, but has failed to do so since may of 2011. A certified letter says "A-1" owes a past due balance of more than 27-thousand dollars.

"It's pretty challenging when you have someone squatting on your property for, it will be almost 2 years by the time the courts will listen" said Levey.

It's business as usual at "A-1" but Levey says he is the one being taken to the cleaners.

 

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