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Junction Boyz faces court action

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The Watertown Industrial Center Local Development Corp. has started legal action to collect $214,177 in overdue rent, utility charges and an equipment loan owed by Junction Boyz Inc., an auto body and stereo business that has leased space in the facility for a number of years.

The WIC filed court papers in the Jefferson County clerk’s office Friday. A court date for state Supreme Court has not been set.

According to the court papers, Junction Boyz and owner Edward Sampson Jr. failed to pay $156,576 for uncollected rent and late fees, $46,383 for unpaid utilities and $11,218 for an overdue loan on a vehicle paint booth as of May 31. The WIC also is suing for legal expenses.

As of June 24, the WIC board has terminated the company’s 20-year lease for the space at the 800 Starbuck Ave. facility.

Attorney Keith B. Coughlin, who represents WIC, declined comment, citing the litigation. Mr. Sampson could not be reached for comment.

Junction Boyz has not paid $7,000 in monthly rent since December 2010. In January, the WIC board met with Mr. Sampson, who also owns the Junction furniture store in Seaway Plaza, to tell him legal action was pending after he failed to meet an amended payment agreement that began in January 2011.

Two weeks ago, the WIC board discussed the situation in open session and then behind closed doors about how to handle the legal arguments.

The company installs car audio equipment and car starters and does custom body work, collision repairs and paint jobs.

In recent months, Mr. Sampson made an offer on a different payment plan and the WIC board had a counterproposal that included “an up-front payment” and “an amended payment plan,” the owner said last month.

At that time, Mr. Sampson said he hoped the matter still could be resolved. Junction Boyz employs six workers.

Earlier this year, Mr. Sampson attributed the downturn to Fort Drum families, on which the business previously relied, who were not bringing their cars in to be repaired. He also said business was hurt by more people buying new cars with their insurance checks rather than repairing their damaged vehicles.

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