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Club may be killed by lease, not police

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000

TAMPA -- It might be the landlord, not the county, who shuts down a Carrollwood after-hours club that has been under attack by authorities for a month.

Hillsborough County Judge Eric Myers on Wednesday authorized landlord Joe Raymer to evict club owner Elias Abusaid from the property at 5226 Gunn Highway.

Raymer said the lease had expired without the required written notice from Abusaid to renew. He also said he was concerned about police raids on his property and allegations that Abusaid was operating a rave club without a permit.

Abusaid said he doesn't know what the future holds for AV-02, his once-thriving club that now attracts few customers.

"From a business point of view, I don't know how much more my company can stand," he said.

County commissioners and sheriff's deputies want to close AV-O2, saying it is a rave club where alcohol and drugs are rampant. A June 3 raid led to the arrest of 25 adults and five juveniles for various drug, alcohol and firearms charges. Abusaid, however, has continued to operate.

Last week, a judge allowed Abusaid to stay in business after hearing his argument that he is operating a late-night shareholders meeting for his bottled water company, not a rave club. He said he doesn't charge admission but instead sells shares of of the company for $10 each.

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