PASCO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Hundreds of vendors are out of a place to work, all because the owner of the USA Flea Market couldn’t keep his business up to code.
The county blames the owner and the owner blames the county. Vendors say they are the ones who are suffering.
“I just go bury my mother and I come home to a phone call that now I don’t have a job. This sucks, it just sucks,” said one vendor.
Livelihoods are shattered, but the owner isn’t taking responsibility for the problem.
When he was asked about the public’s and vendors’ safety, he went off on a tangent about the county.
“If they’re worried about public safety they should go out in Pasco County, every street is infested with drugs and prostitution,” said Ramesh Patel.
He later admitted he felt somewhat responsible, but not entirely.
“Morally I do, financially I don’t,” Patel said.
Patel took over in 2015 and said he’s done nothing but improve the property.
“All of my vendors know that I religiously tried harder here to keep their livelihood intact.”
Some vendors rallied around Patel on Thursday and said they’re standing behind him.
“When we was going nowhere, he then suddenly came in and said ‘just give me one year and I will bring this back to you,’ and he did that and he kept trying and he’s still trying,” said vendor Veronica Johnson.
Trying or not, the county said it wasn’t enough and won’t be enough.
“So many violations that from what I’m told, it’s going to have to be torn down,” said Doug Tobin, spokesperson for Pasco County.
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