Mount Vernon tennis instructor inspects damage, sues city

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MOUNT VERNON -

A Mount Vernon tennis instructor says he is suing the city for property damage and being wrongly evicted by Mayor Richard Thomas.

Kela Simunyola says the last two months have been a nightmare. In June, Mayor Thomas abruptly evicted him from the tennis center at Memorial Field.

The mayor then sent in crews during the middle of the night to haphazardly deflate the million-dollar bubble protecting the tennis courts.

MORE: Tennis instructor faults Mount Vernon mayor in court dispute

“As the eight weeks go by, its starts to rip because it’s too much time sitting on the ground,” Simunyola says.

He says he is suing the city for $27 million for wrongly evicting him and nearly destroying the bubble, which now has extensive water damage in addition to tears and punctures.

VIDEO: Owner visits dismantled Mount Vernon Tennis Center

The mayor insists Simunyola was evicted because he failed to pay rent for two years.

The tennis instructor says he has hired a team to help him re-inflate the bubble and another team to take the city on in court. He says this experience has been devastating him and his family.

“Everybody keeps talking about the bubble, but it’s our lives and the business,” Simunyola says. “We can't function, I can't work.”

Lawyers for Simunyola, Mayor Thomas and the City Council will be back in court next Tuesday.

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