NBC 4 New York
A New Jersey restaurateur shut down by Sandy now faces eviction in part because he didn't clean up rotting food in the first days after the storm. He says police weren't allowing anyone onto the Barrier Island at the time. Brian Thompson has exclusive details in this report from South Seaside Park.
A New Jersey restaurateur says that he's been told that he violated his lease and must vacate his restaurant because he didn't clean up rotting food after Sandy.
But South Seaside Heights restaurant owner Ken Deiner said he simply had no way to get to his Italian restaurant, Patsy's in the Park.
According to Deiner, he couldn't get to his barrier island establishment in the first few weeks after the storm because his and other Jersey Shore towns were placed off limits by state and local police.
"There was no electricity, there was no gas, there was no water," Deiner told NBC 4 New York Wednesday.
While the order of removal that Ocean County Judge Steven Nemeth signed referred mostly to post-Sandy cleanliness issues such as mold and mice, it also cited an unpaid sewerage bill and changed lock.
"There have been a number of concerns and issues (pre-Sandy)," said Christopher De Grezia, attorney for and son of the building's owners, Frank and Harriot De Grezia.
Deiner agreed that relations with his landlords, who have a summer house next door, had taken a turn for the worse in the months before Sandy. It may have started a year earlier when Tropical Storm Irene shut down the late summer tourist trade, leaving Deiner unable to pay his rent.
But the lease was renegotiated this past August with both sides agreeing to a reduced rent.
Deiner claimed soon thereafter one of his landlords started complaining to him and his employees about litter on the property.
An Ocean County Health Department official confirmed to NBC 4 New York that his office responded to a pair of complaint calls last summer. He said a violation was issued in one case and the other was deemed unfounded.
As to the cleanliness claim post-Sandy, the official said the only record he found was a "satisfactory" finding back in July, a copy of which Deiner has posted on a wall.
Deiner has hired a lawyer to fight the eviction.