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WIC board weighs suing Junction Boyz for overdue rent

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The Watertown Industrial Center Local Development Corp. might still pursue legal action to collect $199,000 in overdue rent and utility charges owed by Junction Boyz Inc., an auto body and stereo business that has leased space for a number of years in the facility.

WIC’s board of directors discussed the situation in a 30-minute executive session Tuesday but took no action. During the open session, however, board members confirmed Junction Boyz has continually failed to pay $7,000 in monthly rent.

Attorney Keith B. Coughlin, who represents WIC, said afterward the agency could proceed with an eviction and filing a judgment against Junction Boyz if its owner, Edward A. Sampson, does not pay what it owes.

He declined further comment, except to say “the board’s position hasn’t changed.” Citing potential litigation, board Chairman Donald W. Rutherford also would not comment.

The company installs car audio equipment and car starters and does custom body work, collision repairs and paint jobs.

In February, the WIC board met with Mr. Sampson, who also owns the Junction furniture store in Seaway Plaza, to tell him legal action was pending after the owner failed to meet an amended payment agreement that began in January 2011.

Since then, Mr. Sampson made an offer on a different payment plan and the WIC board had a counterproposal that included “an upfront payment” and “an amended payment plan,” the owner said when contacted Tuesday.

Mr. Sampson said he hopes the matter can still be resolved. He intended to have his attorney submit “another proposal” to the WIC board within the next couple of days that he hoped board members would consider because Junction Boyz has bounced back in recent months, he said.

After maneuvering through some lean times, revenues are up and there are $300,000 in sales pending, he said.

Mr. Sampson attributed the financial turnaround to expanding the business into selling and financing vehicles, as well as continuing the auto body business. It employs six workers.

He said the furniture store business has also undergone a recent resurgence.

In February, Mr. Sampson blamed the downturn on Fort Drum families, on which the business previously relied, for example, not bringing their cars in to be repaired. He also blamed more people buying new cars with their insurance checks rather than repairing their damaged vehicles.

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