“We just found out yesterday afternoon when our district manager called to tell us,” said Rob Lawson, Store Manager, of Ocean State Job Lot. Lawson was referring to a call from Jane Colton, District Manager, to tell him that Joe Soley/Jonathan Cohen, new owners of the 251 Route 1, Falmouth Shopping Center had served the Rhode Island corporate headquarters last week with a subpoena – a notice to vacate the premises.
The basis for the eviction notice from Soley/Cohen was a technical and procedural issue in the exchange of lease documents since the major chain moved into the space last fall. It opened on November 18, 2017. The chain has 131 stores and is forty (40) years old according to chief financial officer John Conforti, in the North Kingston, Rhode Island corporate headquarters.
A summons calls for the attorney for Ocean State Job Lot of Maine 2017, LLC to appear in court on May 24, 2018 at 9:00 am to respond to the eviction notice. The attorney for the plaintiffs is Adam S. Taylor, Esq, Taylor McCormack & Frame on Milk Street, Old Port. The attorney for the defendant is Seth Brewster, Esq. with Eaton Peabody.
Many shoppers in the store this morning were unaware that this store will have to fight the notorious Soley/Cohen Team in Court to remain in the Shopping Center. “It’s outrageous. It’s a great store. Why would anyone do this?” asked Dori Waxman, a former Portland City Councilor when she learned the news. “I don’t come here often, but when I really need something that is seasonal, this is where we come,” said Sheran Andrews, who lives nearby. “I love the store. The variety of items they sell such as food items and seasonal items matter to us, ” said Andrews. “It appears unjust for new owners to evict new tenants,” said Jamie Siegle.
“We will fight this eviction for our associates, our shoppers and the community,” said Conforti earlier today.
Soley is no stranger to the Maine court system and has been found in violation of city codes more than once. He has a reputation for letting his properties deteriorate and not investing money in their upkeep. It is rumored that because Soley refused to replace much needed electrical wiring in his The Residence, 10 Exchange Street condos, Cohen was forced to pay to have the work done himself.
Soley once told this blogger that his former business partner in Baltimore housing was the disgraced Vice President Spiro Agnew under Richard Nixon. Soley’s partner, Jonathan Cohen, is the developer of the new headquarters for WEX on the Portland waterfront.