The battle in Lafayette between a mom-and-pop music store and fast-expanding Flatirons megachurch may finally get legal. It was always moving this way.
Flatirons Community Church has grown in the town over the last decade like something from a sci-fi movie. Cars pack the downtown area during service days and the church has bought the entire Lafayette Marketplace strip-mall where it is located. It wants to set up offices and church-owned businesses in the mall, reportedly.
But Lafayette Music’s owners have resisted the church’s expansion. “Ever since the church bought [the complex], they’ve made it clear that they want us out of the space,” said music store owner Mark Benassi to The Daily Camera. “…You gotta ask: Why are they so obsessed with getting rid of us?”
The music store has started a GoFundMe crowdsource campaign to raise $15,000 for legal fees to stand up to the church. The funding page states:
Even though we pay our rent and have three years remaining on our lease, our landlord, Flatirons Church, wants us out of this space but they don’t want to buy out our lease. They say it “doesn’t” work for them. Instead, they prefer to use a clause in our lease which they think gives them the right to force us into another space in this center which is less visible, less accessible and totally unsuited to our business yet charge us the same rent and force us to pay for things we already have in our current location such as providing wheelchair accessibility. Sounds incredible, but it’s true.
Church leaders say the store is thousands of dollars behind on its rent* and that its efforts are all an effort at defamation, trading on grumblings in town.
“It’s only defamation if it isn’t the truth,” Benassi responded to The Daily Camera.
* Updated to include the fact that the store has been behind on its rent.
Photo Credit: Andrew Ferguson, Creative Commons, Flickr.