Antique Shop Owners Blame Landlord For Building Condition, Closure
By Mike Perleberg
(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – A longtime downtown Lawrenceburg business is being told to get out of the building it has called home since 2001.
Lynn Slayback and his father, Bernard Slayback, Jr., own Lawrenceburg Antique Gallery. The shop at Durbin Plaza on Front Street has been a popular destination for tri-state antique enthusiasts and bargain hunters.
But those shoppers will have to look for a new antique destination as the Slaybacks search for places to store hundreds of thousands of dollars in old furniture, paintings, signs, and more. Lynn Slayback says the property owner, DIY LLC, told them Friday that they have until the end of the day Tuesday, April 15 to be out of the building.
“I’ve been giving away merchandise because I just don’t have anywhere else to put it,” said Lynn Slayback.
Eagle 99.3 told you Friday that Dollar General at the Durbin Plaza has been temporarily closed due to a roof leak and ceiling tile collapse in the store. The Slaybacks reached out to the radio station Monday to say that the issues with the space they and other tenants rent goes far beyond the roof.
“We might as well not even have a roof,” Lynn Slayback said.
Slayback claims that there are leaks, asbestos, and mold throughout the 40,000 square foot building built in 1959.
DIY LLC, owned by Akram Daniel, of Cincinnati, purchased the Durbin Plaza in May 2013, according to Dearborn County tax records. Bernard Slayback says the property went from having some minor structure issues then to becoming a building, in his opinion, beyond repair now.
The antique shop has been without working heating or air conditioning for the past six years, the Slaybacks said. During this past winter, the cold caused a pipe inside to burst and destroyed over $100,000 in merchandise.
In December, the bathroom experienced a sewage backup, leading city building inspectors to order the restroom be gutted and the store be closed during the usually-busy Christmas shopping season, the family claims. Bernard Slayback said they have not paid their $2,500 monthly rent since that closure.
Daniel’s attorney, David King, said the lease agreement with the Slaybacks was on a month-to-month basis. He confirmed that the family has not paid its rent since 2013.
However, the Slaybacks may have been provided more advance notice of the closure than they claim. King said informal notice was given to the Slaybacks about a month ago informing them of the April 15 deadline to vacate the building. An agreed entry for ejectment was signed by attorneys from both parties on April 3 stating that if the Slaybacks were out by the deadline, DIY LLC would not seek the owed rent, according to King.
“We want to inspect the property and do repairs that may need to be done,” King said, adding that no inspections have determined that there are health risks with the building.
Another tenant at the plaza, Jackalope Printing, is leaving as well with an ejectment agreement for April 30. Owner Greg Davis echoed the Slaybacks’ concerns with the roof.
“It’s gotten to the point where it is so bad and they were doing nothing to fix it. I can’t pay rent when the ceiling is falling to the floor,” said Davis.
Davis said his printing shop will be relocating to the old Mr. Chafin’s Auto Repair shop on Vine Street.
Lawrenceburg city officials have in the past discussed the possibility of acquiring the Durbin Plaza property. Lawrenceburg Redevelopment Commission President Mike Lawrence said a sale was discussed last year, but the asking price was too high in the commission’s view.
Daniel purchased the property last year for $1.25 million from Kip Kieffer, tax records show. The property was assessed at $539,500 for 2014.