A Moorpark plant nursery owner is taking on the might of Southern California Edison as it battles to escape eviction from the property it has been located on for the past 28 years.
The power company served Performance Nursery with papers due to what it claims are safety concerns, citing alleged storage of flammable liquids and inoperable vehicles under power lines.
However the business’ owner Tom Lucas has vowed to fight the utility giant all the way, claiming if they win their case it could send his wholesaler under, despite the fact its eviction period has already been extended from 75 days until July next year. He is even hoping Public Utility Commission could help him.
"I've got my eviction papers. So I've got to go to court now and try to stay here. We have 460-thousand plants here," Lucas said, "Maybe the PUC will get involved? It'd be great if they could slow down the process. Give me five years, three years to move so I can find property, move my plants, without being out of business."
Lucas claims if he does not succeed the consequences could be dire.
"It could be a disaster, eight million dollars in plants that need a home," Lucas said, "Might end up having to liquidate, give them away for free. I don't want to see them just get ground up."
SoCal Edison is maintaining that it is vital he moves to ensure grid safety and customer service, and is plowing ahead with its case.
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"The legal process will take several months to play out. At which time the judge will determine we have the right to vacate, evict Mr Lucas," spokesman Rudy Gonzales said, "We'll approach him about removing the plant material at that time."