Romneyville campers might get kicked out before Republican convention

07/27/12 Janelle Irwin
WMNF Drive-Time News Friday | Listen to this entire show:


Activists camping in tents on the property of a private business in downtown Tampa may be forced to leave. On the conflict at the Romneyville encampment set up to protest the Republican National Convention next month.

The camp was set up in May with permission from the owner of downtown’s Army/Navy surplus store, Nick Potamitis. Activists signed a four-month contract and paid him $1500 dollars in advance for rent until early September. But Tampa code enforcement has threatened Potamitis with fines for having tents on his property. Harry, one of the Romneyville residents who asked that his last name not be used, said the group has no plans to vacate, but they are still worried they might have to.

“Codes enforcement came by the other day and gave Nick a whole bunch of problems and of course he got scared to the point that he – it all bogged his mind and he was like, ‘I don’t know what to do, you guys gotta go’. You know, he was scared.”

The owner, Potamitis did not want his voice recorded, but told WMNF that he realizes the group has a contract with him and that there isn’t much he can do to evict the activist group. The Romneyville encampment is styled after the depression-era shanty towns called Hoovervilles. Organizers say they expect some 250 campers during the Republican convention. For now there are about a dozen tents set up in the mulched area – many of which are hot pink.

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