DJ Tambran says City Council owes him for damaged equipment and loss of business; Council wants rent and trade license money
The popular DJ says he is being victimized by Mayor Darrell Bradley because he ran for the PUP in the CitCo elections.
Owner/manager of the DJ Tambran Music Depot in booth #7 at the Commercial Center in downtown Belize City and popular disc jockey, Lennox “DJ Tambran” Young has been without electricity in his business establishment for three weeks now.
He is also behind two years in rent, approximately $6,500, and he believes the top people at City Hall are circling, looking to put him out despite a 15-year lease that runs out next year.
Young told us that the Council owes him far more for damaged equipment and records than he owes them for rent.
Young says he will not budge, and he wants to be properly compensated for damage sustained to very important master vinyl records, CD’s and equipment subjected to pouring rain from a leaky ceiling.
Young told Amandala earlier this week that his problems started about a month ago when he suffered water damage to the electricity line that runs through the nearly two-decade old building.
BEL was called in and found that the wires were faulty in the building, not from their meter.
The Council’s electrician then checked and found that the line was burnt, and agreed to try to fix it, and in the meantime, run temporary power to the stall.
But that lasted merely a week before it was cut, allegedly on orders of City Administrator Candice Burke to the Market Manager. Young believes Mayor Darrell Bradley also knew what was going on, although he denied it when the two men spoke personally at City Hall the day after the light was cut, on August 16.
The background to the dispute goes back some years to the mayoralty of Zenaida Moya, when due to the still-unrepaired leaks in the roof and sides of the wall in the booth, rain damaged his equipment and important records which he uses to mix and burn CDs and sustain his disc jockey business. Despite repeated requests to the Council and visits from engineers and caretakers, the leaks were never fixed, and so to recover his losses, DJ Tambran took the Council to the Supreme Court.
According to Young, he recently won a case in the Magistrate’s Court against the Council for unpaid trade license fees after the Magistrate ruled that the Council failed to properly inform him of the change to his lease that adds trade license fees to the monthly rent of $250 to the Council.
We understand that the Council is appealing that decision, but according to Young’s attorney, Kareem Musa, the Council is not counter-claiming for the rent they claim DJ Tambran owes them in the suit currently before Madam Justice Minnet Hafiz-Bertram, though they deny the compensation claim filed by DJ Tambran.
Meanwhile, says Musa, the Council’s legal advisor, Councilor Alifa Elrington-Hyde, has been informed that loss of revenue will be added to their claim because of the three weeks that DJ Tambran has been without power. The case returns to court on September 17.
Young and Musa tell us that the Council, specifically Mayor Bradley, has approached them with offers to settle, although, as the matter is before the courts, Musa today declined to disclose the specific dollar figures when we spoke with him, only to say that they were not able to agree and the Mayor failed to show up at a meeting scheduled at Musa’s office, just down the street from City Hall, a few days ago.
Musa told us that the issue is not whether his client can pay; it is about the Council’s neglect and apparent animus for Young. Young told us that even during the settlement negotiations, the Mayor was insisting that if he took their offer for compensation, he still would have to vacate the booth, which Young refused to do.
“I am closed since the 15th of August. I am losing revenue every single day. I have my bills to pay; school just opened, and this is completely unfair of them. All I can see is the pettiness of the Mayor, the victimization – yes, of course it is victimization because I ran for the PUP earlier this year. They are playing cat-and-mouse with me and I am getting very annoyed. They want me out; they want to smoke me out!” Young said to Amandala in our interview, adding that he understands that a crony of the ruling party is eyeing his stall, and it has reportedly been promised to him by the Council.
We left a message for Mayor Bradley today, but he has yet to return our call. He has said elsewhere that the Council will not pay for repairs for anyone who is not paying their rent, and if DJ Tambran is not willing to pay up, he should vacate his booth.