City terminates lease of business for Port of Rochester diner

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. - A Charlotte restaurant owner is asking for some leeway from the City of Rochester.

That request comes after the restaurant's lease was cancelled two years. The city wants him out by next week for failing to honor his lease agreement.

"I want to stay here,” said Mom’s Margios co-owner, Jeffrey Scott, who poured a quarter of a million dollars into building the restaurant. “I want to be part of the revitalization here. Charlotte is hurting, and, if I leave, there's another business gone from here in Charlotte."

Keeping business at the Port of Rochester remains a struggle. Scott said it's been hard to keep people in the chairs at the diner during the winter months.

"There're days I'll sit here and make $100 for 12 hours," he said.

He says that's making it difficult to keep up with his $4,500-per-month rent. He makes most of his money at the diner’s retro lounge through karaoke on Friday nights.

"I'm still here for the long haul,” Scott said. “I’m the one who's stubborn and grinds things out. I want to stay here."

The diner opened last fall. Scott fell behind in rent. The city came up with a payment plan that got him caught up by September 2017.

Now, he's back in arrears, unable to pay rent for the past three months.

"We've moved to cancel the lease, not only because he's failed to pay the rent, but because he can't simply be trusted to comply with the terms of the lease," said the city attorney, Patrick Beath. “He's not abiding by it [lease], and he's repeatedly failed to abide by it, and at this point it's a business decision. The city's got to cancel that lease and use this slow time, during the winter, to get a new, more responsible tenant in that space."

The city and Scott have had a conflict over outdoor seating as well - something the city says is another reason they are canceling its lease.

Scott said he's been calling the city asking to meet to work out something. He claims the city denied all requests.

"I’m not asking for a handout,” he said. “I’m not asking to give me money. All I’m asking for is, wait a little bit in the winter, because you're going to get in the summer."

Scott has a petition circulating, hoping to force the city to continue his lease.

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