Gallery Owner Calls Eviction 'Discriminatory'
August 29, 2003
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA--Earlier this year Laurel Morehouse was contacted by Frank Wheat, manager of the Neonopolis mall.
According to Morehouse, Wheat said he was trying to boost Neonopolis' visitor traffic and cultural amenities. So he asked her to move her gallery/store, Art Works for Everyone, into a first-floor space at the mall. Wheat offered to lease the space to her at no base charge, expecting only 10 percent of the store's sales in return, Morehouse says. He also did not require her to sign a lease agreement or to pay up-front deposits.
It seemed like a perfect match for Morehouse, who has avascular necrosis and founded Art Works for Everyone as a way to give back to her community.
For nearly three months Morehouse operated the gallery/store at the mall, with the help of about 10 homeless volunteers.
But Wheat resigned from his job on August 18.
And the new management team wants Morehouse and her non-profit to move out by this Sunday.
Mall management staff accused Morehouse of letting homeless people sleep in her store, a claim Morehouse denies. They also told her to remove her service dog, Goliath, claiming its urine posed a "biohazard".
"I told them that issue was resolved by the ADA years ago," said Morehouse, who has hired an attorney to fight the allegations. "It's just one more way they've tried to make things difficult for me."
Morehouse believes the mall is discriminating against her because she is trying to help homeless people, she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
"Neonopolis tenant faces ouster" (Las Vegas Review-Journal)