ST. PETERSBURG — The proprietor of an aviation upkeep firm that’s being evicted from its plane hangar at Albert Whitted Airport after internet hosting a Feb. 5 Tremendous Bowl get together with rapper 50 Cent mentioned he was getting used as a “scapegoat.”
In an announcement to the Tampa Bay Occasions, Abraham Tray, supervisor and registered agent of sky Addict Aviation, characterised himself as a father and small enterprise proprietor accountable for a kid and one full-time worker. Now, he mentioned, his enterprise and revenue is in jeopardy as a result of Mayor Rick Kriseman terminated his lease on the airport.
“My enterprise is now dealing with a disaster,” he wrote. “A further one on the highest of the worldwide disaster that we’re all dealing with for almost a yr already.”
Kriseman’s resolution to terminate Sky Addict’s lease of the three,000 foot hangar — a five-year time period that was simply renewed in December — was primarily based on the truth that internet hosting a live performance is exterior the scope of what the hangar house is meant for use for. Sky Addict additionally didn’t file a COVID-19 security plan, required by town for occasions bigger than 250 folks. That rule went into impact on Feb. 1. Sky Addict was given 180 days to vacate.
“Mr. Tray has six months to seek out one other location for his enterprise,” wrote Kriseman spokesman Ben Kirby in an e mail Friday. “He violated the phrases of his lease and native orders. He ought to have thought of the results prematurely.”
In his assertion, Tray defined that a number of weeks in the past, a pal requested to make use of the house for a advertising occasion with all proceeds going to charity. The pal — whose identify Tray didn’t reveal in his assertion, however did share with metropolis officers — concentrating on the plane hangar “as a result of it had the capability to carry the gathering with wholesome distance between folks and it’s partially outdoor.” Tray agreed to donate the hangar house after being “assured all permissions and well being protocols could be met and that security measures could be in place.”
“I understand how desperately folks need to really feel ‘the conventional life’ once more,” he wrote.
The occasion, which featured 50 Cent and Tampa’s DJ Recent, was alleged to be “restricted capability,” with admission beginning at $85 to to $7,000 for a desk, in response to tabloid web site TMZ, which first reported the information of the get together. Regardless of the capability restriction and security efforts — which Tray mentioned included indicators and a security crew reminding folks of correct masks and distancing etiquette — TMZ referred to as the occasion “COVID-oblivious” and images present many attendees not following the principles.
Kirby mentioned town is exploring punitive motion in opposition to the occasion organizer.
The information of the town terminating the lease of Sky Addict’s plane hangar precipitated some confusion amongst patrons who feared the Hangar Restaurant and Flight Lounge was being evicted. Proprietor Steve Westphal mentioned the restaurant obtained about 30 telephone calls from involved prospects.
Final week’s get together might not have been the primary hangar get together in St. Petersburg through the pandemic. Photographs and posts on Fb present there was a celebration Nov. 25 at a St. Petersburg plane hangar. It’s unclear if it was Sky Addict’s hangar; Tray didn’t return a request for remark, and metropolis officers mentioned they haven’t any data of a Nov. 25 occasion.
• • •
SUPER BOWL CHAMPS: Bucs are world champs, and there might by no means be a greater story to inform
BUY THE BOOK: Tom Brady led the Bucs to Tremendous Bowl glory, and we’ve got the e book to show it
CELEBRATE WITH TIMES KEEPSAKES: Order Tampa Bay Occasions entrance pages, a particular commemorative part and different gear
FROM THE GAME: 55 observations on attending the Tremendous Bowl in Tampa
MORE BUCS PHOTOS: Observe the Tampa Bay Occasions Bucs protection on Instagram
BUCS NEWSLETTER: Join the Bucs RedZone e-newsletter with crew reporter Joey Knight:
We’re working onerous to convey you the most recent Tremendous Bowl information from across the Tampa Bay space. This effort takes assets to collect and replace. When you haven’t already subscribed, please contemplate shopping for a digital or print subscription.