The owner of Gateway Mall on Jacksonville's Northside has been served notice of foreclosure, Channel 4 has learned.
The mall houses city offices, including a tax collector site and a police stop station, as well as several stores. One of the major tenants is the Supervisor of Elections Office, where the election center is housed.
The city pays more than $55,000 a month in rent just for that site.
Supervisor of Elections Jerry Holland has been complaining for months about the conditions at the site, saying they haven't been repaired in more than a year. He said the building is falling apart and the owner has not paid taxes even though the city keeps paying its rent.
The mall owner, Carlton Jones, said last month it was just sour grapes because Holland wants to move from the site.
Last week, Holland said he met with the mayor's staff, Jones and Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Fla., and worked out an arrangement. At least that's what he thought until he got a notice Friday saying the bank is foreclosing on Gateway Mall.
"My job is to worry about the problems nobody else worries about," Holland said. "I am concerned that the administration does not consider this a problem and that we are not considering any other options. We got the next election in 180 days and my concern is, what happens if we are asked to move out of Gateway before the election?"
Mayor Alvin Brown's staff has been quiet about the Gateway situation. His office said all comments on the issue will come from the city's General Counsel, Cindy Laquidara, who said it's too early to tell if the Elections Office and other city agencies will be forced out.
"That is very premature," she said. "The supervisor is interested in having a steady place to have this election, as is, I am sure, the city. My job as the attorney is to make sure that happens, and there are many legal protections we have to address."
Jones was unavailable for comment Monday, and his office had a sign that said it was temporarily closed.
"I think we have to consider other options," Holland said. "We are very careless if we are thinking this will all workout and this is our only option."
The foreclosure papers are the first step in a foreclosurer proceeding between the bank and the landlord.