By Michelle Nicks, Reporter
CANFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio – An order of monks who settled at the old Colonial Motel on State Route 224 face eviction, along with the 18 to 20 people they are providing shelter and low rent housing.
Arthur S. Klein, the owner of the motel who was once busted for prostitution, is asking a court to evict members of the Syro-Russian Orthodox monastery. Klein claims they owe him more than $40,000.00 and that they’ve defaulted on monthly payments on a land contract.
But Bishop Stephen Thomas of the Syro-Russian Orthodox Church says, “I want the people in the community to know we have not done anything wrong. We’ve tried to work with this man. He said he would renegotiate with us on an asking price, and on interest, and every time we’ve set a time aside – he’s never shown up.”
Both the Bishop and Archbishop are fighting to keep a roof over the heads of the people they shelter through a homeless program, and they argue that the money owed to Klein is not even close to $40,000.00. Archbiship Thomas Kjera says, “He wanted to do whatever he could to pacify and keep us here, but now he has someone that can afford to take over this place, now he wants to rush us out so he can put somebody else in here.”
The leaders of the church say they feel taken advantage of, accusing Klein of not being up front about the problems that plague the building, including major plumbing problems and a collapsed ceiling, and they say the stigma of the motel from a year and a half ago still plagues them.
Bishop Thomas says he just hopes that the judge hearing this case understands that it’s the church that has been taken advantage of by Klein, not the other way around.
Klein did not return a call from 21 News for comment. His attorney Duane Doyle of Twinsburg would only say, “We have no comment other than the pleadings.”
A court hearing on the eviction is scheduled for July 29th.