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Basketball clinic gets free legal help in fight against eviction

Landlord orders Culture Complex out by December 31
Basketball clinic gets free legal help in fight against eviction
Posted at 9:31 PM, Dec 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-07 23:10:34-05

A couple of former collegiate — and before that, Corpus Christi high school — basketball players are trying to keep their clinic for local kids open despite receiving an eviction notice a few days ago.

The duo behind Culture Complex had just paid their December rent when they found a notice as they arrived at the basketball program's building on South Padre Island Drive at the Crosstown Expressway.

“It was like a stab in the heart actually, because we kind of watched it grow," Culture Complex co-owner Corey Haywood said. "It was like our baby. We put so much time and effort — and really the money too (into the business)."

Haywood and his business partner and friend Marcus Ellison opened their doors in April after signing an 18-month lease, but landlord JoAnn Amaya now wants them, their basketball court and equipment out by December 31.

Amaya says it's because of a "breach of contract", and when pressed for specifics, she said it was a matter involving rent.

Haywood says if it's about he and Ellison supposedly not paying their rent, Amaya has it all wrong.

“We have all our receipts on everything," Haywood said. "We paid our rent. We have text messages that show we paid our rent. We’ve never been late on our rent. So I don’t understand why she’s evicting us."

The matter could be headed to court.

When a Corpus Christi law firm heard about the eviction notice, they immediately started representing Haywood and Ellison.

“We have a team of seven lawyers," attorney John Garcia said. "I’m paired up with (the) Webb, Case, and Manning (law firm) who is funding the litigation. So not only do we have a big team on this, we are doing this out of the goodness of our hearts, because we believe in this project. We believe in this business. We believe in people like Culture Complex."

It's unclear what tactics the legal team might use to fight the eviction order.

Whatever they do, Haywood has his fingers crossed that it will work, especially since he estimates he and Ellison have $25,000 to $30,000 invested in their business.

But if the legal fight fails, Culture Complex might still live on.

“Hopefully we can stay here," he said. "But if we can’t, I would just like that we can get our own place — something that we can actually build. We wouldn’t have to worry about being evicted or anything. That’s something we can make bigger and last longer for the kids here in the community.”