Receipts seem to show owner not as late in paying rent

Brian Cuaron

July 13, 2011 at 2:13 a.m.

A Victoria Regional Airport tenant may not be as behind in his rent as airport officials said.

Arnold Martinez, owner of The Landing Strip Cafe, will close down on Sunday after he was served with an eviction notice on June 17. The cafe's prime feature is a jumbo-sized hamburger.

The airport management said he owes $750 in back rent, but Martinez said he is only behind $500, for two months' rent.

Martinez had receipts that support his view.

Jason Milewski, the airport's managing director, has payment records that show the cafe is consistently late in paying its rent.

Milewski said the main reason Martinez was being evicted was because he didn't pay for the last two months and did not propose a plan for paying off the debt.

"At that point, our hands are tied," Milewski said.

Milewski's records show the cafe was delinquent for April, May and June.

However, receipts show Martinez was not that much in arrears.

For example, a receipt dated April 21, showed a $250 rental payment for that month.

Yet Milewski's sheet credited that payment to the rent owed for March.

The same scenario played out with four other receipts. A payment that was listed for one month on the receipt was applied for another on the sheet provided by Milewski.

On a receipt dated Nov. 24, 2010, it said "October 2010 Rent Paid-Cash."

But that payment was credited to the rental fees for September 2010 on Milewski's sheet.

"You have receipts to prove that you're making payments. That's why you make receipts," Martinez said.

Milewski said that the receipts were listed when the payment were made. He said the cafe still wasn't current in its rental payments, no matter what month the rent was applied to.

These conflicting scenarios started with a receipt dated Aug. 31, 2010, that read "Sept. Rent - 2010." But it was later credited to the rent fee for August.

Milewski said that Martinez had given the airport a check in August, but it was returned after Martinez said he didn't have the money for the check.

But Martinez said he paid both months' rent on the same day. He couldn't provide the receipt that showed the August payment.

Martinez said he was waiting till July 17 to pay off the rent for May and June. The eviction notice said that he has until that day to pay.

"April has been paid," Martinez said.

Milewski declined to verify Martinez's receipts.



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