BROOKLYN (PIX11) – We got an email from Lucia Casa that piqued our curiosity. She and her husband owned a building in Brooklyn that housed a pizzeria. But she said the tenant had closed the place, put on a padlock and hadn’t paid rent in several months. To make matters worse, he wanted $5,000 to leave.
I have to tell you, I never heard of an alleged deadbeat pizzeria proprietor. So I met Lucia’s husband Steve in front of the place on Bath Ave. He told me the sorry saga involving his tenant, Shai Benatar.
“He was complaining business wasn’t good,” Steve told me. “So we kinda gave him like a couple of months break. A couple hundred dollars. And then he came April when that was over when we came to collect our rent, he wasn’t paying anything anymore. It’s been April May, June and July, nothing at all.”
Steve says the drama is really taking a toll on his wife.
“It’s actually taking my wife apart, she’s not the same.”
I was curious. What kind of character would pull something like this? So Steve and I paid a visit to Shai Benatar’s house. We found the lovely Mrs. Benatar on the front porch. Steve came to the door. But the Mrs. wouldn’t let him talk to us. When Steve drew the window curtain, we started leaving.
We heard Mrs. Benatar say she was calling the police. Imagine, wasting the time of the NYPD instead of just letting her husband talk to us.
Then, Shai Benatar came out. He walked towards our car down the block and for some silly reason took a photo. If he would have talked to me, I’d have posed with him.
As he walked back home, I followed and tried to get some answers. You can take a look on the video, but here’s how it went:
Howard:”Can you explain?”
Shai Benatar: “In one year, in one year.”
Howard: “Get your stuff out of there.”
Shai Benatar: “In a year.”
Howard: “In a year? Why do you get to have a year? How do you get to have a year?”
Shai Benatar: “Cause I want to.”
Howard: “Cause you want to? How about if he just takes all your stuff out and dump it in the streets? OK. What if he does that?”
Shai Benatar: “One year.”
We don’t know why Benatar wants or thinks he’s entitled to one year if he’s not paying rent. But Steve is going to sue to evict him. Steve says the guy has threatened to drag out the proceedings and ruin the place if it comes to that. Not good. I have a feeling we’ll be doing an update on this one.
Oh, and the police did show up. Responding to the phone call, a car came down the street. I introduced myself and told the officer what was going on. He recognized the lease issue is a civil dispute, wished Steve luck and drove off.
Too bad he had to waste his time with Benatar.
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