Shop owner denies landlord’s claims

The owner of a small retail shop in the Fan wants his stuff back.

Christopher Dorsey, who owns the Happy Corner on the corner of Stafford Ave. and West Main Street, has been involved in a legal dispute with his landlord, Antonio Santos, over access to the small retail shop that he ran. BizSense covered the squabble last week but was unable to reach Dorsey.

But in an in-depth interview Tuesday, Dorsey said that – contrary to his landlord’s claims – he was paying his rent on time and that his property was unfairly seized when he was locked out of his shop in April. Dorsey, 37, said he wants his property back from the store, which sells clothing, posters, used bikes and glass pipes.

“Every month, I was paying my rent in full,” Dorsey said, adding that he has feuded with his landlord since moving in to the space in 2005.

Dorsey also claims the building wasn’t being kept up. The building “was beyond run down — I would say it was uninhabitable,” he said.

Dorsey said rent was also a problem.

“Each year my rent was going up,” he said.

Dorsey said that during his five-year lease, he started out paying $1,150 per month and ended up paying $1,350 in summer 2010.

“Things were constantly changing, and I was trying to run a business,” he said.

After several warnings informing Dorsey that Santos would be “exercising lien of the property,” locks were placed on Dorsey’s shop in April.

Dorsey said he tried talking to Santos to get his belongings, which included the copy of his lease, out of the store.

“He told me to talk to the lawyer,” Dorsey said.

That same month, Dorsey filed an emergency injunction in Richmond Circuit Court to gain access to his copy of the lease and other belongings that were in the building.

During the injunction hearing, Dorsey said the judge wouldn’t allow him to explain his side of the story.

Ultimately, Dorsey said the reason his injunction was denied is unclear.

“The judge ruled that [Santos’s attorney] would go through my receipts and papers and decide what information he was going to give me,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey hasn’t spoken to Santos since the hearing and said he was initially going to appeal the denied injunction but decided against it.

“I don’t want to go back in there,” he said.

Although the Happy Corner dispute might be over for now, Dorsey said he has bigger endeavors in mind.

“My plans are to campaign for sheriff and work to bring to justice illegitimate leaders,” Dorsey said.

The owner of a small retail shop in the Fan wants his stuff back.

Christopher Dorsey, who owns the Happy Corner on the corner of Stafford Ave. and West Main Street, has been involved in a legal dispute with his landlord, Antonio Santos, over access to the small retail shop that he ran. BizSense covered the squabble last week but was unable to reach Dorsey.

But in an in-depth interview Tuesday, Dorsey said that – contrary to his landlord’s claims – he was paying his rent on time and that his property was unfairly seized when he was locked out of his shop in April. Dorsey, 37, said he wants his property back from the store, which sells clothing, posters, used bikes and glass pipes.

“Every month, I was paying my rent in full,” Dorsey said, adding that he has feuded with his landlord since moving in to the space in 2005.

Dorsey also claims the building wasn’t being kept up. The building “was beyond run down — I would say it was uninhabitable,” he said.

Dorsey said rent was also a problem.

“Each year my rent was going up,” he said.

Dorsey said that during his five-year lease, he started out paying $1,150 per month and ended up paying $1,350 in summer 2010.

“Things were constantly changing, and I was trying to run a business,” he said.

After several warnings informing Dorsey that Santos would be “exercising lien of the property,” locks were placed on Dorsey’s shop in April.

Dorsey said he tried talking to Santos to get his belongings, which included the copy of his lease, out of the store.

“He told me to talk to the lawyer,” Dorsey said.

That same month, Dorsey filed an emergency injunction in Richmond Circuit Court to gain access to his copy of the lease and other belongings that were in the building.

During the injunction hearing, Dorsey said the judge wouldn’t allow him to explain his side of the story.

Ultimately, Dorsey said the reason his injunction was denied is unclear.

“The judge ruled that [Santos’s attorney] would go through my receipts and papers and decide what information he was going to give me,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey hasn’t spoken to Santos since the hearing and said he was initially going to appeal the denied injunction but decided against it.

“I don’t want to go back in there,” he said.

Although the Happy Corner dispute might be over for now, Dorsey said he has bigger endeavors in mind.

“My plans are to campaign for sheriff and work to bring to justice illegitimate leaders,” Dorsey said.

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Blackbeered
Blackbeered
11 years ago

The “facts” in this story speak for themselves. I’ll assume Dorsey met his fate because he tried to buck the system by not hiring a lawyer … especially when there’s so many unemployed?

Mike Ogilvie
Mike Ogilvie
11 years ago

It’s much more likely that he didn’t hire a lawyer because he couldn’t afford one.

It does seem incredibly unreasonable to expect the attorney for the other side to go through his paperwork for an impartial assessment of what he should be getting. If that’s truly what happened it’s an injustice.

PropMan
PropMan
11 years ago

Gotta side with the owner from the details in this article. Maintenance is usually on the tenant in commercial leases. If the place isn’t up to standards, it’s the tenants responsibility to address that. The rent increase when taxes increase as well, it’s much to complain about. Plus, “glass pipes”? Let’s not kid ourselves what these are for. These items can easily be considered “paraphernalia” and subject to seizure from the authorities. I’m not sure how wise it is to press the issue and draw attention to products that could be considered illegal. No lawyer, no copy of lease, no… Read more »

Mongoose
Mongoose
11 years ago

First off…this guy is pretty wacky. I spent a humorous half hour in his shop once and was bombarded with far far left propaganda. Stuff like Bush knew about 9-11 etc. It was pretty funny.

Sorry PropMan, but selling glass pipes, bongs, water pipes and other “paraphernalia” is totally legal in the Commonwealth……but it’s all for tobacco use only. If you even slightly mention that you’ll be using these products for illegal substances, then BOOM! they refuse sale and ask you to leave. Buy my count there are at least 4 head shops in town, and business is good!

Christopher Dorsey
Christopher Dorsey
11 years ago

Mike, that was the most insane part of the whole thing. Santos several years into the lease started demanding through lawyers the property taxes for the building as well as insurance for the building from me. I was paying insurance for my store already. He sent this in a paperclipped copy of the lease from a lawyer named Elaine Jordan. Their copy of the lease did not match mine. The judge ordered Santos to provide me with my legal papers which I got two days ago. But guess what my copy of the leas is missing. What a shocker.

Christopher Dorsey
Christopher Dorsey
11 years ago

I have not ruled out apealing the decision.

Christopher Dorsey
Christopher Dorsey
11 years ago

To those using fake names. Why do you say things you are afraid to put your name behind?

Ian Firestone
Ian Firestone
11 years ago

It seems if Mr. Dorsey was denied access to his business files, which were in the locked building, and if the other party is allowed to possess and selectively return his files at their own discretion, then Mr. Dorsey is effectively being precluded from any defense in the matter. I have met Mr. Dorsey on several occasions, purchased clothing at his store, and had conversations with him. He seemed like a fair and decent individual. He’s a financial supporter of humanitarian and advocacy organizations, and more politically savvy than he may appear. As for those posting here critical of Dorsey’s… Read more »