‘This is economic terrorism. I am powerless to do anything about this…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Leftist protesters in St. Petersburg, Florida put up flyers targeting a local businessman as a “predator” who “directly profits from sexual violence, physical abuse and the caging of undocumented people” for leasing office space to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Chuck Prather, the owner of an office complex in Tampa, said he believes he was targeted because of the federal government’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which no longer remains in effect, Tampa Bay Times reported.
The flyer called for the community to boycott all businesses owned by Prather and his Birchwood Development company, including an upscale hotel called The Birchwood Inn.
“This is devastating to somebody like me,” Prather said, trying to take down the flyers. “I believe in the right to protest. They can’t take away my right to earn a living. This is economic terrorism. I am powerless to do anything about this.”
Prather has leased the office space in Tampa to the federal government for 20 years. Different agencies have operated there, but only ICE uses it today.
“I have nothing to do with ICE,” Prather said. “My lease says the United States of America. I have no control who they put in there.”
About 25 activists began to camp outside the Department of Homeland Security and ICE office in July. They erected tents and signs with one that said, “Fight ICE with Fire, Abolition Now, #OccupyICETPA.”
Protesters remained for 12 days before police arrested, for trespassing, six people who had bound themselves together with bicycle locks, Tampa Bay Times reported.
Prather had to pay $10,000 to repair damage done by vandals at the office complex. They glued the door locks together and destroyed card readers.
He said he has never “had a lick of trouble” renting office space to the federal government, until radical leftists labeled him a “predator” because of their hatred for immigration enforcement.
Prather worries the community will think he has committed a sexual or violent crime, which could harm his businesses, like his new rooftop tiki bar that will open in 2019.