Joe Germanotta, the father of Lady Gaga, made news recently when it was reported that he had not been paying the rent of his ArtBird and Whiskey Bar at the Grand Central Terminal in New York.
So far, Mr. Germanotta reportedly owes around $260,000 in unpaid rent, but the owner of the establishment claimed that he would not pay the fees because his business was impacted by the high numbers of homeless people that crowded the place to find protection from the low temperatures outside.
According to the parent of the famous singer and the owners of other establishments were compassionate towards the less fortunate, but their customers were affected because the place has become less attractive over time.
The father of the “Poker Face” performer also claimed that the Metropolitan Transit Authority, MTA, was to blame for not doing anything to fix the existing issues and the business owners in the area suffered not only from the huge masses of homeless people but also from an ongoing rodent infestation and a strong need for a renovation of the place.
Apparently, Germanotta’s wish was to continue running his establishment, but under the current circumstances, the cost was too high, and he also wanted MTA to reimburse him for his initial investment.
He stated: “The homeless go in there to stay warm. We’re compassionate, but it affects our customers. When the homeless invade our areas, it becomes a less attractive place.”
He added: “I don’t think they were prepared [to manage the space]. Quite frankly, I think they’re more interested in running the trains. I’ve seen people washing their hair in the sink. I’ve seen a turd in the urinal.”
Germanotta’s words were backed up by other people working at the terminal, such as Tamarsha Sandiford, an employee at Wok Chi, and Jimmy Ponce, who works at Tri Tip Grill.
According to Sandiford, the place used to be a tourist attraction, and now it was “a homeless attraction,” whereas Ponce stated that homeless people would scare customers away by approaching them for money.
Sandiford went on to explain: “This is a tourist attraction. Right now, it looks like a homeless attraction. It’s not even a tourist attraction. Sometimes my customers buy stuff, and they can’t even sit and eat because they all take over all the seats.”
Ponce shared: “It’s bad for business. They’ll be approaching [customers] asking for food or money. They yell at customers because they wouldn’t buy them what they wanted.”
The MTA has moved forward to the Grand Central eatery. MTA spokesman Tim Minton shared in a statement: “It’s reprehensible that this restaurant operator, who stopped paying rent long ago, would try to use a public health crisis to justify his absurd position.”
He added: “We hope that by the time New York returns to normal the public will have a quality rent-paying tenant in place.”
MTA had given Gaga’s dad two weeks to fix his problems, and he has apparently failed to do so.