BVI News

Shop owners suspect eviction from TPP because ‘someone’ wants spot before election

The Soup Shop at the Tortola Pier Park. (Photo provided)

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

After investing more than $150,000 to create a Soup Shop branch at the Tortola Pier Park (TPP) some three years ago, the owners believe they were unfairly evicted from the high-end facility because a political figure wants the location.

Jeff Percell and his wife Katasha Melville who own the Soup Shop told BVI News on Tuesday that they were forced to vacate the TPP last Friday after their lease was not renewed.

According to the couple, they ran into some financial difficulties following the 2017 hurricanes and was behind in their rent by more than $14,000.

In October, the TPP sent the company a letter, informing them that their lease agreement would not be renewed on November 18 as they were in breach of their lease agreement due to the monies owed. However, that aforementioned sum was paid off in full before the end of 2018, and they also paid their January 2019 rent, they said.

TPP cuts power to business

The company then went on to request a renewal with a clean slate but they were turned down. They further claimed that during their last few days at the location, the Soup Shop attempted to pay the electricity bill to TPP but was refused. The TPP subsequently turned off the utilities, they claimed.

“Someone wants the spot more than me and it has to be done before election,” a seemingly frustrated Percell said.

“They (the TPP) have always been a problem. They always want to micromanage your business,” he said referring to previous attempts to sell liqueur or even place a Wi-Fi sign outside the shop; both of which were denied.

Booted during high season

Percell, however, remains hopeful and still plans to expand his business.

“At the end of the day, I am an entrepreneur so whatever God wants me to do, I’ll do. So things will be in the making, of course, they can’t stop me,” he said.

Melville, in the meantime, said she is unhappy about what she says is an unfair eviction, especially during the high tourist season.

“We went to our landlord, we showed them how much money we were making the year before, and we showed them how much we were making at the time. We said there is a vast difference and we all know the reason why, the territory was devastated, cruise ships were not coming.”

She said the Soup Shop was not impacted directly but because of the devastation, they were indirectly affected.

“We were pretty much boxed into a corner … We have staff, they are at home sitting, we all have responsibilities,” she said.

“Definitely, the situation is frustrating and we would hope that our elders in society would be there to help us and guide us and to provide assistance when needed. We contribute to the local economy,” she continued.

We have rules that must be followed, says TPP

When BVI News contacted the pier park’s CEO Vance Lewis about the claims against TPP management, he said the facility had issued a statement on the matter and did not wish to comment further.

The one-page-long statement said, the TPP “respects the privacy of our tenants and will not provide any details on this matter.”

It said, however, the facility has rules that must be adhered to if it is to run ‘smoothly and efficiently’ and to meet its financial obligations.

The statement further said the contractual leases clearly stipulates certain terms and conditions of the arrangement between the TPP and their tenants. Terms and conditions outlined relate to conduct, operational standards, and tenants being required to meet their financial obligations.

“All tenants are therefore held to these terms throughout their tenancy which is for an agreed period of time. Upon expiration of the lease the tenant has the option to ask to have their leases renewed or extended, at which point once the tenant expresses interest, the Board of Directors and Management then reviews the tenant’s performance,” the statement further said.

The TPP said tenants who have ‘followed the rules’ — including paying their rent — the renewal or extension would be granted ‘seamlessly’. Similarly, if the tenants do not comply, their application for an extension would be denied.

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  1. Guest says:

    Seinfeld: “ No soup for you!”

  2. true says:

    if you don’t pay rent for 9 months and expect token your unit then you need to check yourself, $1600 a month in rent you couldn’t pay but could pay it all in 1 lump sum when you were informed that the lease wouldn’t be renewed, sounds like you need a unit in Wickham Cay….

    Like 20
    Dislike 2
  3. OMG says:

    Behind in $14,000 rent? And took a year to get it up to date? C’mon….stop the madness about TPP. Right is right and wrong is wrong!

    Like 25
    Dislike 3
  4. waylox says:

    isn’t it baldhead that wants that spot?

    Like 14
    Dislike 6
  5. Don’t Be Silly ... says:

    They appeared to have been holding off on paying rent as a means of financing … Sometimes we need to look at the big picture. If this was one of the BIG goons would we really have done and said the same thing?

    The point is: They PAID it and were still KICKED out! How many of you owe others … even your friends and for years … ???

    I don’t know them … just saying …

    Like 18
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    • OK says:

      That is fine, but not 9 months’ rent, that is plain out criminal! You cannot be operating a business and not be able to afford to pay up a few of those outstanding months and if so, then you should not be in business.

      • did you read? says:

        did you not read the part about where they ran into hardship due to the passage of hurricane irma and maria… who do you know didn’t have problems after the passage of irma and maria ?

        Like 11
  6. Sick says:

    Some people are just sick!!!!!! You are WRONG and here you are trying to drag people through the mud! Didnt pay rent for almost a year and only paid when told your lease wont be renewed but now its because someone wants your space?

    Like 11
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  7. Really says:

    The wheels of commerce have no mercy, although there were probably extenuating circumstances. Who owns Pier Park anyway?

  8. Windy says:

    Welcome to doing business in the BVI if yo aren’t one of the “BIG” families of the Island. Done so many times. So wrong.

    Like 14
    Dislike 12
  9. BS says:

    V—-, You have gotten away with your s**t for years. No matter how you have alligned yourself with Rotary and the Investment Club, your time will come; for you and your no good piece of dog s**t pal, S—.

    Like 8
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  10. Ufairness says:

    So than why do Goverment think it’s right for them to owe people for months and it’s not a problem,but these couple had fall behind I’m sure they ple and ask for time.come on give the people a second chance.

    Like 16
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  11. Really says:

    Really windy that’s how you feel. Why do you always got to go there. What does the entire BVI have to do with the man not paying his rent for six months? If he is renting he knows he has to pay according to the least he signed. He has violated his least and instead of be humble he comes on social mean blogging lies. If he was in another country they would have his a*s.

    Like 6
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  12. Business Owner says:

    I am a business owner and it ain’t easy. The territory now recovering from hurricane Irma and Maria. That man deserve to atleast get a chance to get back his investment. They could have allowed the man to least enjoy the high season, is not like they can renovate the space now when there is ship almost everyday. That is cold. And only 8 days to get out…

    Like 23
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  13. Hmmm says:

    Business owner do you have the full story ?

    Like 6
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    • @ business owner says:

      I am here wondering if your business is striving as your comment doesn’t make much business sense. While the Port allow this man to make a return on his investment what about the Port’s return on investment to tax payers? Everyone in the grand scheme of things have bills to pay.

      Like 2
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      • Shut says:

        @Business Owner

        You need to shut your mouth because it seems like you have a short memory; the government wasted millions upon millions of dollars of the tax payer’s money and you keep your mouth shut. All of you are a set of criminals, but time longer than twine.

        Like 1
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  14. Upset says:

    That is cruel. The man deserve a chance to recover his investment. He should at least be given a six months probation to rectify his tardiness. You can see the man wants to stay, so clearly he has confidence that the business will do well. But to say no and get out in a few days is just wicked. Whoever move into that space after he leaves is the Mazarilli.

    Like 9
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    • Hmmmm says:

      This is the problem in the BVI. He ‘deserves’ because he is local? How do you owe someone 9 months’ rent and only when they threaten to have you removed from the premises, all of a sudden you could find all of the money to pay it up? I am sure his lease outlines all details as it relates to what is required of him. If he really think he was wronged, he has recourse by way of legal counsel. The fact that he went straight to the media with the BS about an elected official wanting his spot shows that he doesn’t have a real argument.

      Like 9
      Dislike 2
  15. John says:

    first it’s h— rent now it’s rent for business premises. The problem in the BVI is people want to rent space to live or do business knowing they can’t afford to pay.

  16. JustSayin says:

    The fact is, considering all the circumstances, they took rent from the man for the month of January.So how do you take rent, give short notice, refuse to take payment for utility and then turn it off all in the same month?

    • January over in a few days says:

      We are basically at the end of January. Any landlord can understand the frustration of not having tenants pay. This was 9 months for crying out loud!!

  17. Hm says:

    Will you be paying up everyone else too?

  18. Pattern of a Leopard says:

    A leopard cannot change its spots. This is a behavioral pattern rearing its head once again. A successful business should be making enough to cover expenses and make some profit for the owners. If a business is not covering expenses, why stay in business?

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