SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Mall evicted an antique store called “Stuff Store” and dumped all the inventory outside of the back entrance.
District 6 Alderman Tony Thomas owns the "Stuff Store" and he's telling people to go pick up what they want.
People were picking up couches and bed frames and dressers and loading them into their cars on Friday evening.
The eviction notice posted by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office says that removal of any property without permission of the owner is considered theft by taking. But Thomas said he’s gotten everything he wants and is encouraging people to be “finders keepers.”
You can see the eviction notice amid the pile of furniture, picture frames and lamps taking up parking spaces in front the Savannah Mall entrance.
Security guards asked WTOC to leave the private property, but luckygoers kept their hunting for free finds.
This eviction comes after the Savannah Mall filed a lawsuit in 2018 suing Alderman Thomas and his business “Stuff Store” for not paying rent. Court documents show the mall claims Thomas didn't pay nearly $70,000 worth of rent.
WTOC spoke to Alderman Thomas who confirmed that he did, in fact, stop paying rent to the Savannah Mall, but says he stopped after he reported failing infrastructure concerns to mall management that went unaddressed like a broken escalator preventing customers from coming to his store.
In a counterclaim, Thomas writes “Savannah Mall did not honor their promises and [commitments] to foster a positive sales environment for merchants and customers resulting into major financial loss to merchants.”
According to a settlement, Thomas was ordered to pay installments of up to $16,000 and vacate and remove all property by the end of April. Now, Thomas is encouraging people if they want the furniture to go get it.
As a City of Savannah alderman, their role is to make decisions about city funds and taxpayer dollars.
WTOC asked Thomas if his personal finances would impact his role as alderman and he said it would not influence his job or decisions for the council.
Thomas assured he has served for 20 years and will continue to do what is best for his district.
Thomas said on the phone he is deciding his next steps with his lawyers. But in the settlement, Thomas agreed not to sue the Savannah Mall back for damages.