After years of searching for a buyer, Florida entrepreneur Oscar Parsons finally sold the former Sarasota Bradenton International Convention Center for $5 million.
But the deal came after a court ordered Parsons to pay $650,000 to ex-tenant La Mesa RV Center over damages caused by a fire in 2013.
La Mesa also is pursuing attorneys’ fees from Parsons that could substantially raise the final award.
“I’m trying to recover from that,” the 95-year-old Parsons said Wednesday.
The 17-acre property and 100,000-square-foot building at 8005 15th St. E. was bought by Eagle Overwatch, a company headed by Richard R. and Joyce LaMore, according to the Sarasota Herald Tribune. They operate Innovation Marine Corp., adjacent to Parsons’ property, which manufacturers and services custom performance marine gas and diesel engines for the U.S. Navy, other government agencies and foreign governments.
Six months after an electrical fire damaged the building in October 2013, La Mesa pulled out of the center, saying Parsons refused to repair a fire-damaged area as required under the lease. The dealership also said the lingering smell of smoke made the building a poor place to sell RVs.
But Parsons filed a counterclaim, arguing La Mesa bore some of the blame for the blaze and failed to pay nearly $100,000 in back rent. He also wanted about $350,000 for roof replacement costs.