Your contribution will enable us in our legal battle and fight an unlawful eviction. We are very grateful for your generosity.
Property Manager, Russell Gross, from Russell Gross Real Estate has served the Strongs over 30 notices of default. The landlord is making every attempt to subject the Strong's to frivolous claims of default and eviction. The parties are currently in Arbitration for disputes over the Option of the Lease.
Current default, a 3-day Notice to pay or quit, $22,970. This is illegal, as the parties are in arbitration of this matter. The landlord refuses to participate in the binding arbitration and is trying to bypass the rules in his contract.
3 Day Notice is posted above.
The tenant above the restaurant, Ryan Yates, is the landlord's son. Ryan Yates has come into our restaurant yelling at their staff. Ryan Yates has called the Capitola Police Department making false claims against the business. Ryan Yates writes defamatory post on the Strong's social media pages. Ryan Yates has written emails to local business owners, asking them to join him in getting the Strong's out of the Village, they do not belong here. Ryan Yates stomps on the ceiling of the restaurant, to harass and interfere of the livelihood of the Strong's.
Full email thread above. Steve Yates writes an email to Capitola Chief of Police, Andrew Dally. Steve Yates," You might imagine that if the Strongs did file this I will not forgive this act." The email thread includes false accusations against Lasalle Strong.
The tenant above the restaurant, Ryan Yates, is the landlord's son. Ryan Yates has come into the restaurant yelling at their staff. Ryan Yates has called the Capitola Police Department making false claims against the business. Ryan Yates writes defamatory post on the Strong's social media pages. Ryan Yates has written emails to local business owners, asking them to join him in getting the Strong's out of the Village, they do not belong here. Ryan Yates stomps on the ceiling of the restaurant, to harass and interfere of the livelihood of the Strong's. The harassment was reported to the landlord. The landlord's response is posted above. "Letter from Steve Yates response to harassment."
The Strong's had a residential lease in the same building, with the same landlord. When they moved in, the unit was filthy, full of rotting food from the previous tenants. There was no walk through with the landlord, no flooring, no cleaning of the unit, no heating element and the sliding door did not close properly. In exchange for no deposit, the Strong's installed new flooring, painted the unit, deep cleaned, hauled away junk, installed a heated fireplace and installed a new sliding glass door. In retaliation, the landlord evicted them, " Owner intends to withdraw the Premises from the rental market". Less than two weeks of the Strong's moved out, the landlord listed the unit for rent and a new tenant is in the apartment.
We have faith that we will prevail on all arguments in defense of the filings by the landlord, the legal fees are over $100,000, with an unknown final cost. The expenses to fight for our rights, has caused a significant strain on our home and businesses. As business owners, the goal is to strive and build a successful long-lasting empire. It's very unfortunate that we do not have the support of our landlord.
Lasalle and I, have been blessed with the opportunity to bring our dreams to life, and we are grateful for all the outpours of inquiring how to support our business through these challenging events. I am forever grateful, my husband, my dreamer, Lasalle Strong, shows the most positive patience and perseverance, I have ever experienced.
In June 2021, we were transparent in our application for the lease, that we planned to have live music. There was no response of concern from the landlord or its agents. The entire application and approval process was done online, as Steve Yates lives in Hawaii. The first time Steve Yates met Lasalle Strong in person was April 2022, after this brief interaction, the relationship of landlord to tenant became strained and pestering. We had operated for 10 months during 2021 and 2022, providing live entertainment to our patrons, with no disputes from the landlord's agents, coincidentally after this brief interaction in person, the attacks on our tenancy began.
The Strongs started to experience odd behavior from the landlord's son, who lives above the restaurant. Ryan Yates came into the business, yelling at the staff, demanding that they stop live music. Ryan Yates then placed default notices on both doors of the restaurant. The Strong's reported the events to the landlord and property manager, Russell Gross of Russell Gross Real Estate. Ryan Yates continues to harass the Strongs and has reached out to the community to join him in his attempt to remove them from the building. Ryan lives above the restaurant and randomly will stomp on his floor, that startles and disturbs the guest.
The landlord began to harass and annoy their business, with frivolous claims of default. The landlord refuses to meet and compromise on any issues claimed to be a default. Steve Yates warned the Strongs that he will not acknowledge their option to renew the lease. The landlord, Steve Yates, complained to the Capitola Police Department that their restaurant was too loud and requested they give the establishment a citation. The Capitola Police Department did not issue any citations, as they found there were no such violations.
The mixed-use building consists of three restaurants, including Mr. Toot's Coffeehouse, where live entertainment is offered to guest weekly, Margaritaville and Capitola Bar & Grill. There are three apartments on-site, in which the residential tenants consist of the landlord's son, Ryan Yates, Lasalle and Michelle Strong, and one other tenant, who has not mentioned any concern or opinion of the live music. In arch 2023, the landlord terminated our residential lease in the building claiming, they are "taking the unit off of the market".
During the winter storms in January 2023, the landlord delayed repairs to their unit, at the extent, the Strongs hired their plumber, to complete the necessary repairs, as it was required for them to get approved to open for business. During the last 2-years the ADA lift that services the building was not operable. Michelle Strong had brought this concern to the property manager and landlord, which became a revolving door of excuses. Finally in July 2023 the lift was operable, however the Strongs were again threatened of eviction by a 3-day notice to pay or quit, since they disputed the invoice of $13k for the lift rebuild. The lease provision states they are responsible for the "repair and maintenance" of the ADA lift, consequently they disputed this invoice, due to the landlord had completely removed the previous lift, he himself filled the first level of the lift's shaft with concrete, and a new lift was constructed. The Strong's argued that the new construction of the lift is above and beyond their scope of responsibility.
In July 2023, they received another default of lease that their security cameras were a violation of the lease, although Michelle Strong has an email from the Property Manager giving permission to install cameras at the entrances and exits of the business. On August 5th, 2023, the landlord installed a green laser aimed at their security cameras. Later that evening, Ryan Yates, made a blasting loud noise to disturb the business.
The Strong's had a dream, a vision of the business concept come to be known as Capitola Bar & Grill, a family friendly sports bar with live music. They employ 25 members of the community. The Strongs are asking for your help to save their business, as the landlord is attempting to bury them in legal fees and remove them from the building, in which they will suffer a great loss to their investment. The Strongs have a GoFundMe to help them keep afloat of the heavy legal fees they are still enduring.
Below you will find the attached submissions from the landlord's active member, Steve Yates, and his son, Ryan Yates. Steve Yates has refused to meet with us regarding a compromise to our music program, and he continues to make efforts to evict us from the building. Steve Yates has made false statements and has made outlandish accusations. Ryan Yates, Steve Yate's son, who resides above our bar, continues to call Capitola Police Department with frivolous claims, such as a call to local PD on March 20th, 2023, because Lasalle Strong was in a common hallway of the building. Ryan Yates in his submission to the City Council has accused, Lasalle Strong, of "personal threats and intimidation tactics", and stated," the behavior of the owner towards residents who have voiced their concerns is unacceptable". Ryan Yates makes careless and damaging accusations, while showing no proof of any behavior or interactions with Lasalle Strong. Despite Steve Yate's claim, "I couldn't compromise with them. They have no sense of reasonable".
After many unreciprocated attempts to meet with Steve Yates, in November of 2022, we reached out to the local chapter of the NAACP of Santa Cruz County. On December 9, 2022, Steve Yates was informed of a written complaint and was given the opportunity to discuss the matter (letter below). Steve Yates did speak with the representative over the phone; however, the communication was fruitless.
Through our Public records request, an email thread between Steve Yates and Chief of Police, Andrew Dally were received (attached below). In December 2022 Chief Dally writes an email asking Steve Yates, "Are you open to any adjusted conditions or possibility of conflict resolution?" Chief Dally mentions several times in this thread that their only reason to deny our permit is the absence of Yate's signature. In response, on Friday Dec. 23, 2022, Yates claims that the complaint from the NAACP, "needs my attention prior to even attempting any type of resolution". Yates then goes on to state," if the Strongs did file this I will not forgive this act."
In an email from Steve Yates to Chief Dally on Monday January 23, 2023, Steve Yates again contradicts his stance that he is receiving numerous complaints from his tenants, while in this email he states," I'm going to inform the tenants to call each time these violations occur." Yates again attacks the character of Lasalle Strong, falsely claiming, " the one (tenant) I do have has had his tires slashed, smoke blown in his face and told by Mr. Strong," he was not going to like what was going to happen next."" It's disgusting and defamatory for Steve Yates to make false claims without any legal consequences.
Steve Yates can afford to behave this way. There is a Verizon Wireless Cell Tower on the building, which pays the landlord a monthly rental fee. Please reach out to Verizon Wireless and let them know the conduct they are funding. Please stand with the Strongs and hold the landlord accountable for his actions. Lasalle Strong is the only black business owner in the Capitola Village, lets come together and "Keep the Strongs in Capitola".
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