St.maarten– The Court in First Instance rules on Friday morning on a dispute between the
Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation and Claire Elshot. Tzu Chi wants Elshot to vacate a building on its property that she uses for the ACE Foundation School for undocumented children because she is $19,500 behind in rent payments.
Attorney Hedi Kockx told the court yesterday morning that before she moved into an empty building on the Tzu Chi property on L.B. Scott Road she had been forced to leave another building due to $20,000 in rent arrears.
Tzu Chi offered its building in 2013 for $1,000 a month, half of the price Elshot paid at her previous location. “She paid a deposit and one month rent. After that, nothing has been paid anymore,” Kockx said.
Tzu Chi has asked the court permission to evict the ACE Foundation from its premises. “There was never an agreement that this would be permanent or that there was no obligation to pay,” the attorney said, adding that the organization had never forbidden Elshot to host fund raising activities – except for bingo (because Tzu Chi opposes gambling) and barbecues (because Tzu Chi opposes the sale of meat).
“The defendant is responsible for her income, but she prefers to hold up her hand,” Kockx pointed out. “There are insufficient donations to fill any gap. We have allowed the school to finish its 2015 school year, but without any financial support from Tzu Chi.”
Kockx said that Elshot had been made aware of the termination of the lease contract in a timely manner and that she had had enough time to look for an alternative location. “However, she prefers to stick her head in the sand. It is incomprehensible that someone keeps demanding donations without putting up one dollar herself. We are asking the court permission to vacate the building.”
Elshot, who arrived ten minutes late for the court hearing citing parking issues, told the court that she had asked for a postponement of the court case, because she had received documents from the opposing party only on Monday. She told the court that she had paid $14,000 on the rent arrears to her previous landlord and denied that she prefers living from handouts.
Source: Today SXM Tzu Chi wants Elshot’s school off its property