EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSLEASE TERMINATED
from Eyewitness News Online
Dunbar Non-profit Car Club Told To Vacate Building
Reported by: Leslie Rubin
Videographer: Leslie Rubin
Web Producer: Leslie Rubin
Reported: Apr. 20, 2012 10:19 PM EDT
Updated: Apr. 20, 2012 10:36 PM EDT
Dunbar , Kanawha County , West Virginia
A note on the door with a message to get out. That's what a Dunbar non-profit is dealing with after they say their lease is being wrongfully terminated by the city.
The Klassy Kruzers Car Club has operated their group out of a clubhouse behind the Kroger in Dunbar for 18 years. Now, the city is saying their lease is illegal. The car club says they're the one's being punished.
"It's going to tear a lot of things up because I have a lot of memories here, even as a young kid," said member Chad Gray.
It's a group they say has been brought together by their passion for cars, and desire to give back.
"We raise money to keep this building up, and to donate to charities and different organizations that someone will bring to us, like we adopted a family for Christmas one time," explains secretary Marilyn Smock.
The Klassy Kruzers Car Club has called the building home since 1994. They leased the building, an old train depot, for 25 years for $25.00 from the city of Dunbar.
Under the lease, they were to use the building for community projects, and invest money in renovation. They say they've kept their word, putting tens of thousands of dollars into fixing up the space.
"We feel like we've kept our end of the bargain up and we've been a good neighbor to the city of Dunbar," says Smock.
The city left a note on the door last month, demanding the group vacate the building no later than April 30.
The reason, stated in a e-mail to the group from the city manager, says "pursuant to the WV State Code Chapter 8, Article 12 Section 18(c) the City is required by law to receive fair and adequate consideration (fair market value) for any property or portion thereof that leases. The City is also required to hold public hearings by the governing body after the date, time, and place and purpose of such hearings has been published in a Class l legal advertisement. There were no such public hearings prior to this lease being signed."
The lease was signed 18 years ago.
"18 years no problem. One day we're a problem," says Smock.
The group claims they were told they weren't allowed to bring the issue up to City Council, and simply want to keep their building and work something out with the city.
"It's kind of drummed down to, 'I want my way and I want it now,' instead of actually, let's shake hands and work together," says Gray.
Eyewitness News contacted the city of Dunbar, who referred us to it's attorney, who said they stand by what information they've sent to the group, and wouldn't comment any further.
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