County tears down shoe repair shop

County moves contents of Greene Dreams Shoe Repair to warehouse

MIAMI – At 5 a.m. Friday, while Greene Dreams Shoe Repair was closed and its owner was home sleeping, Miami Police moved in -- smashing in the front door and starting the process of closing and tearing down Greene's business.

On Friday morning, an emotional Greene learned he will no longer be allowed inside the shop his parents opened.

"This business been here for 50 years. My mother, my father, they started on this corner. My brothers, these my brothers right here, we stood on this corner as a little boy. I was a shoe shine boy," said Greene. "I haven't got the slightest idea now. I'm believing that God, in some kind of way, God going to work this out for this injustice that I just had done to me. I don't have a clue not what to do, but I do know that my eyes is on God."

With an order from Miami-Dade County to remove him from a structure deemed unsafe, Miami Police began removing everything inside, boxing it up and taking it to a warehouse. The county owns the property.

"After they have done us wrong, broke into my business to tell me to stand to the side and do a deal, I think that's illegal," said Greene. "It's the City of Miami that's broken into my business."

Just before noon on Friday, workers began tearing down the building as Greene watched.

"Unfortunately, as I said, it's had to come to this. We didn't want it to be this way, and we have, throughout the process, communicated with him, let him know his rights, and also kept him abreast," said Karla Damian with the Miami-Dade County Transit Department.

The county plans of building apartments, retail stores and a bus depot at the location. 

"We've seen things come and go, and we have still been here," said Paulette Greene, Tyrone's wife. "I think this is pure shame that they're destroying my business."

Greene, however, says he has a valid and binding lease until May 2014. The case had gone to court more than once and the courts ruled in Greene's favor.

But a City of Miami Unsafe Structures Board deemed the property unsafe and cut off power and water.

The unsafe structure status supersedes the judge's order. Earlier this week, Greene was issued a final notice to vacate the building.

"We have worked very closely with Mr. Greene for a long time to give him relocation options, and even now, there's a temporary location option on the table for him," said Damian.

The county offered to pay to move Greene to another temporary location, to pay the difference in his rent, and then put him back in the new structure at the same rent he had been paying for five years.

But Greene said no to the offer.

"Right now as we standing here Jeff, we got customers might be coming here right now at 9 o'clock to pick up their shoes. They don't want to hear that you had a problem with the court. I got to deal with that. They're trying to scandalize my name but the devil is a liar," said Tyrone Greene.

The county says it would cost $500,000 to repair the building, only for them to then tear it down.

"It would be a colossal waste of the taxpayers' money to fix the building when it's going to be demolished shortly after," said Damian.

Meanwhile, the contents of his store and his customers' belongings were taken to a warehouse for safe keeping at the county's expense.

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