Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Carmel on the Case: Hung Out To Dry
With times so tough, cutbacks have affected almost every county agency. So one businessman can't understand why Broward County doesn't want his money any more. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero is on the case.
WSVN -- Through the hurricanes and other bad weather that have hit South Florida over the last 27 years, Atlantic Coast Aircraft Storage has protected private planes.
Its 46 hangers sit at the south side of North Perry Airport in Pembroke Pines, but maybe not for long.
David Clark, Atlantic Coast Aircraft Storage: "It's inconceivable that they will force us to take these buildings down."
David Clark says, over the years, his business has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in rent to Broward County's aviation department, but now the county is not going to renew his lease, and that means Clark will be out of business in weeks.
David Clark: "They're cutting budgets, and they are having trouble finding money, and they're going to throw away $48,000 a year."
His tenants feel like they're being hung out to dry.
Steven Grey, Aircraft owner: "This is awful. This hanger has been home for my aircraft for the last five to six years."
Tom Burke: "There are no other viable options for me. There's no hangers from Opa-Locka passed Pompano, and I like to keep my airplane in a hanger because I have quite a bit of valuable equipment in it."
Neither tenant understands the county's decision.
Tom Burke: "I've been here since '86. We've had three major hurricanes through then and a couple of tornadoes and have suffered no damage."
But the aviation department claims the buildings are no longer useful.
Greg Meyer, Broward County Aviation Dept.: "They are old hangers. They're rusty. They look dilapidated. They are not in good condition. They haven't been maintained."
Spokesman Greg Meyer says Atlantic Coast was required in its lease to maintain and improve the facilities.
David Clark: "They haven't come out here and looked at the actual repairs that we've made that are inside the hangers, that they wouldn't see from just a little walk about the outside."
The aviation department says simply it has a lease, the lease is expiring and it has made the decision not to renew.
Greg Meyer: "We don't want to see anyone put out of business. We do have compassion for these people, but at the same time, we have a business plan."
Greg Meyer: "I currently don't know what the plans are, the future plans for this property. It may be redeveloped into something else."
While that's up in the air, Atlantic Coast and its remaining tenants are hoping for a last minute miracle.
David Clark: "We've tried to negotiate with them, and we are willing to negotiate with them."
Carmel Cafiero: "And as if losing your business isn't bad enough, Clark has to figure what to do with all these hangers because he'll have to remove them from the property."
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