AceShowbiz - Lady GaGa's father is blaming homeless population for his refusal to pay rent on his restaurant business. An owner of the Art Bird & Whiskey Bar in New York City's Grand Central Terminal, Joe Germanotta has reportedly withholding $260,000 in rent and fees from the New York Metropolitan Transport Authority.
Speaking to The New York Post about the matter, the restaurateur claimed the increasing present of homeless people have cut his business by 30 percent since 2018. "The homeless go in there to stay warm. We're compassionate, but it affects our customers," he reasoned. "When the homeless invade our areas, it becomes a less attractive place."
Germanotta, who supposedly pays $40,000 rent and $10,000 in fees per month, additionally accused the MTA of seemingly not caring about the homelessness problem on the terminal's lower concourse. "I don't think they were prepared [to manage the space]," he said of . "Quite frankly, I think they're more interested in running the trains."
Further voicing his problem with the homeless, Germanotta said, per quoted by CNN, "Some days, there are more homeless people down there than there is foot traffic in the early morning." He added, "The homeless guys are in there washing their hair in the sink. Imagine you're a tourist and you walk in there and see that. You'd leave."
The businessman has been told pay $260,000 in the next two weeks. Should he fail to do so, the eviction process will begin. He told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday, February 26, that he wants to be released from his lease, which expires in 2028.
The MTA's communications director Tim Minton, however, blamed the late payment to Germanotta himself. Insisting that the food court is "a great place to do business", he told The New York Post, "This is a landlord-tenant dispute, pure and simple, in which the landlord seeks to blame his financial struggles on anyone but himself."
"The fact that Mr. Germanotta does not appreciate someone who is less fortunate having a cup of coffee near his business is not the problem of the people of the state of New York, who don’t expect to have to subsidize his struggling business," he further argued.