VERO BEACH, Fla. - UPDATE:
Representatives with the Indian River Mall paid their electric bill at 8:41 a.m. Wednesday to keep their lights on. The figure paid was $428,175, which included a deposit and past due charges.
The mall is completely up to date on the money they owed.
Their next bill will be due Jan. 15 for December usage. Their electric bill is usually in the $50,000 range.
Owner Mike Kohen said, "everything is fine...happy it's over...will never happen again."
The Indian River Mall has until 10 a.m. Wednesday to pay its power bill or the City of Vero Beach will shut its lights off.
The mall is on the clock to come up with three months of unpaid power bills, around $153,000 and a deposit or the lights shut off at 10:15 a.m.
“We don’t want to turn them off. That’s the reason we’ve been working with them for so many months but unfortunately the meter keeps turning as we keep discussing and we just have seen any results,” said Vero Beach City Manager James O’Connor in an interview.
He says the last attempt by the mall to lay a bill was back in September. “They wrote us a check for $56,000. It bounced and that’s when we became alarmed,” he says.
If the bill isn’t paid on time, it means every business inside the mall, with the exception of the big standalone stores, will be forced to close like Counter Culture.
Anthony Damiano owns it with his wife Lisa.
“I’ve been assured by the mall management that there will not be disruption tomorrow morning. Time will tell at this point. But hopefully we won’t,” Damiano said.
Mall owner Mike Kohen in an email told us he’s paid the bill. In a quick conversation on the phone, he says he’s paid over $200,000.
“We cannot confirm that it has been wired. We do not see any wire transfer into our accounts. We had asked them that once he wires it, please send us a confirmation that the wire of the transfer of the money has taken place. We have not received that as of 5 p.m. this evening,” O’Connor said.
The timing of a potential closure comes in the middle of a traditionally busy shopping season.
“Hopefully they will come to some sort of resolution because this is not only going to effect the public it also effects all of the employees. My staff. And everyone who comes to the mall,” Damiano said.
We’ll know by 10:15 a.m. Wednesday if it’s been paid.