Grand Central restaurateur and father of Lady Gaga refuses to pay rent over poor conditions

Posted Saturday, 29 February 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Joe Germanotta is the owner of the Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in New York City's Grand Central Terminal, but he hasn't paid more than $260,000 in rent and fees.The restaurateur and father of Lady Gaga says he's refusing to pay because of unclean conditions and the increasing presence of homeless people, who he claims caused business losses.His landlord, the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority, says Germanotta's view of the conditions at the famed Manhattan train station is unfounded. "It is a terrific place to do business," Tim Minton, communications director for the MTA, told CNN on Friday. "There is another business 40 feet away in a similar pavilion that is thriving."Minton also cited the lack of crime in the station's dining concourse as evidence to rebut the restaurant owner's allegations.Restaurateur claims homeless population has led to business lossesAfter opening his fried chicken eatery in 2018, Germanotta had high hopes."We had great expectations of being in the most well-known train station in the world," Germanotta said. "What was the attraction? The number of passengers and the people that pass through every day."However, Germanotta says his expectation of large crowds of customers faded."Some days, there are more homeless people down there than there is foot traffic in the early morning," Germanotta said.From an alleged rodent problem to dirty restrooms, the conditions are scaring off customers and harming his business, Germanatta says."The homeless guys are in there washing their hair in the sink," Germanotta said. "Imagine you're a tourist and you walk in there and see that. You'd leave."Germanotta claims to have laid off seven people as a result of the loss of business. Previously, Germanotta paid $50,000 per month in rent and fees, but his recent refusal to pay has led to the $260,000 bill from the MTA. The MTA is giving Germanotta 14 days to settle his debtsA 2019 report from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates the number of homeless people in New York City at 78,604, with most of that group being families with children. Minton says the MTA does constant outreach on behalf of the homeless in the station. He believes Germanotta has a debt to settle with New York."The people of the state of New York should not have to subsidize his business with more than a quarter million dollars of their hard earned money, because he doesn't want to find a way to make his business successful," Minton said.As for what's next, this week the MTA sent a letter to Germanotta about his refusal to pay his rent."We have served him with a 14-day demand notice that encourages him to pay his rent," Minton said. "We trust that he will meet his obligations."Germanotta, however, has no plans to oblige."They're really not in the real estate business. They're in the train business," Germanotta said of the MTA. "I'm not going to pay the rent and fees."

Other articles published by CNN

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Harry Styles has postponed the European leg of "Love On Tour" to 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic continues across the globe.The former One Direction star had been due to kick off the 26-date tour in Birmingham, England on April 15, with pitstops in ...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Scientists have found that our teeth can provide a record of human life, much like the rings of a tree.The discovery that our teeth are an "archive of life" could allow us to better understand menopause, birth patterns and child-rearing among early...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Handshakes will probably be out of style for a while. Perhaps we should consider the namaste gesture instead. Here's what you need to know to Get Up to Speed and On With Your Day.(You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)The US Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it is expediting the use of a blood plasma treatment for patients seriously ill with the coronavirus, making it easier for doctors to try another tool to attack the illness.The FDA said in a news...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It was meant to be the first Games to be held beyond Europe and North America, a spectacle to showcase to the world that Tokyo had overcome the earthquake that had devastated the city some years earlier. But the 1940 Olympics was the Games that...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)It's a scenario all too many of us are facing -- or will soon face. You or a loved one has a mild fever, body aches, the start of a nagging, dry cough. Food doesn't taste good nor smell as it once did. Maybe you...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)There's no easy time to get sober, but a global pandemic is tougher than most. Back when I was trying and failing to quit, I'd reach for any excuse to bail on my better self. A bad day. A text from my ex, or no text. One day, a snowstorm walloped...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)As the coronavirus situation intensifies, you might be wondering: how can I keep myself healthy? And will swallowing a pill protect me from getting sick?First, there's the not-so-great news. Despite claims you may have seen on the Internet, there's...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

New Delhi (CNN)As the global coronavirus pandemic worsens by the day, fear is swelling in India -- and frontline medical workers are bearing the brunt of public panic.India has reported 562 cases of the novel coronavirus so far, a relatively low number...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has warned local officials not to hide new coronavirus cases, after the country reported several days of no locally transmitted infections in a major turnaround in its fight against the deadly pandemic.Li, the...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)President Donald Trump says he's hopeful Americans will be able to return to work in less than three weeks -- an outlook in stark contrast with that of world health officials who say the US may become the coronavirus pandemic's new...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Minnesota Timberwolves player Karl-Anthony Towns took to Instagram to share his mother's fight with Covid-19 in hopes it would encourage others to follow precautions to stop its spread."This disease is real," he said. "This disease needs not to be...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)Danielle and Kenny Scott are used to facing obstacles together.Danielle, who is 34, had a hysterectomy after being diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in 2013. Kenny was right by her side, despite the fact that they had only been dating three...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

(CNN)When Brandon Waltman went to visit his newborn baby girl in the neonatal intensive care unit of an Alabama hospital Monday night, he was told she had been placed in isolation.His daughter Emmarie Grace Waltman has been in the NICU of the University...

Posted Wednesday, 25 March 2020 ‐ CNN

Washington (CNN)White House and Senate leaders struck a major deal early Wednesday morning over a $2-trillion package to provide a jolt to an economy struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic, capping days of marathon negotiations that produced one of the ...