BRANDON — One of Tampa's more colorful characters, known for his famous strip club and his outspoken political views, says a lawsuit his company has filed against the owners of the Green Iguana restaurants is strictly business. No funny stuff.
“It's a straight-up lawsuit to get them to pay me” for two liquor licenses, said Joe Redner, owner of the Mons Venus strip club on Dale Mabry Highway and a former candidate for the Tampa City Council.
Redner's P.M. Realty & Investments, Inc. is suing Brandon Iguana Inc. for failing to pay off a $57,000 promissory note, according to a complaint filed in Hillsborough County Circuit Court.
The only problem is, Redner lost the note, according to the suit.
The complaint states that P.M. “does not have in its possession a copy of the note” and “has not been able to locate the note after diligent search.”
According to Redner, who was reluctant to speak at any length about the lawsuit, he sold Brandon Iguana two liquor licenses in December 2008, and obtained a promissory note for $57,000, which stated that Brandon Iguana would make monthly payments of $1,128.67, which included 7 percent interest. And payments were made until Dec. 2011, leaving a balance of $34,717.26 unpaid, according to the suit.
“Is this a small amount of money to you?” Redner questioned, when asked about the suit. “I'm not going to expound on the lawsuit. It says what it says.”
And what it says is that the promissory note provided that if there was a default in payments, the entire amount, including accrued interest would be due on demand. Redner is also demanding attorney's fees.
Richard Caldaroni, the 50-year-old owner of Brandon Iguana, has made a few headlines of his own. In July, Caldaroni was handcuffed and removed from a Key West flight after authorities said he was disruptive and scared the other passengers.
Agents for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection met the Silver Airways plane on the tarmac and arrested Caldaroni to the cheers of the other passengers. He was charged with disorderly conduct.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office reported that Caldaroni had been loud and used abusive language on the flight, he refused to turn off electronic equipment and at one point, blocked a female flight attendant from walking down the aisle, then made a sexual gesture toward her. Shortly before that, according to published reports, Caldaroni was arrested for DUI.
P.M. Realty filed its suit just two weeks after the Key West incident.
Alan Fosco, chief operating officer for Green Iguana Restaurants, did not return a phone call for comment on Thursday. And Penny Larsen, who said she was the company representative for Brandon Iguana, said it is their policy not to comment on any pending legal matters.