Larry funds to be returned to donors

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Repairs: Two cranes set to work on removing Larry the Lobster’s antennae last Wednesday, with the help of owner, Casey Sharpe. Money raised for repairs to Kingston’s Larry the Lobster is going to be returned to the donors after no resolution could be found to a dispute over the money.
Nanjing Night Net

There has been much conjecture in recent months about the status ofthe money raised for the much-needed repairs in a public appeal through GoFundMe.

The tenants of the Big Lobster restaurant, David and Frances Curkpatrick, created a successful GoFundMe campaign which generated more than $30,000 and looked to have secured the future of the Kingston tourism icon.

But in the meantime, the Curkpatricks stopped operating their restaurant which left the status of the donated money in limbo.

The owners of the site –and therefore the owners of Larry the Lobster –Casey and Jenna Sharpe -saidthey hadbeen deniedaccess to the funds by the Curkpatricks, and with Larry falling further into disrepair, they decided to act last week.

They started to dismantle the giant lobster structure and will repair him in sections before piecing him together again.

“The cost (to fix Larry) isunknown,” Mr Sharpe said. “We’re just going to have to fork out whatever it is,” Mr Sharpe said. “Me, being the owner, I haveto take action, and there is 30k, 35k or even 40k, sitting in someone’s account, ready to be used for that purpose alone, yet they won’t hand it over.”

Mr Sharpe further claimed that the Curkpatricks exited the lease prior to it finishing, and declined the offer of an exit fee.

“They left in May, it went til September, so we’ve been issuing their invoices for fivemonths of unpaid rent for that period, so they’ve just done a runner,” Mr Sharpe said.

“I offered David an exit fee. I said ‘You give me the $30k, I’ll use it on that lobster, for what it’s intended, and you can walk away’.And he wouldn’t do it.”

The Curkpatrick told the Coastal Leader that their intentionswere only ever in the best interests of the icon and the community, and thatmany locals only agreed to donate to the GoFundMe campaignif they could be guaranteed that the money would not be given to Larry’s current owners.

“We didn’t know he was starting repairs,but we were never giving it back to himuntil the repairs had beenquotedand completed to council standards,” Mrs Curkpatrick said. “It’s always been about our accountabilityto the donors and making sure the work was completedto legal standards.

“We are now giving back the GoFundMe money to the individuals that donated.”

As for the unpaid rent, Mrs Curkpatrick said their lease was never renewed.

“Our lease ended on September 30, 2015 and we never renewed our lease. We remained as a monthly tenant,” she said.

“I would have thought Casey and Jenna would have been grateful to receive $30k towards the cost of repairs that they are legally responsible for, without having done all the work, yet instead of thanks there’s been nothing but slander and accusations about starting the campaign to raise money because we hadn’t purchased the property.

“They haven’tlost anything, it’s $30k they didn’t have to start with.”

Repairs for Larry are now well underway, with the Sharpes funding the costs from their own pockets.

Recent storm damage to one of Larry’s antennae meant that the icon was potentially asafety risk, so the Sharpes decided to take immediate action.

“I’m just going to get Larry the Lobster to a standard that I deem to be safe,” Mr Sharpe said. “I’ve accepted that the antlers had given way in the storms, and something needed to be done before further damage happened.”

Last Wednesday, Larry’s antennae were removed so they could be repaired on the ground, and the rest of the attraction will be repaired from the inside. Larry will then undergo a full paint job, with repairs hopefully completed by the New Year.

Here is Casey Sharpe’s letter to the editor regarding the Larry saga.

RELATED: Larry the Lobster repairs get underway

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.