Chamber sued by juice vendor

May 05, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Martinsburg-Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce is being sued for $50,000 by a juice vendor who claims he was unfairly treated at last summer's Gus Macker basketball tournament outside the Martinsburg Mall.

Christopher Grant claims he was selling refreshments at the annual basketball tournament on June 13 but was told by Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Judith Faul to pack his belongings and leave, according to a lawsuit filed in Berkeley County Circuit Court.

Chamber of Commerce board member Norwood Bentley said the matter has been referred to the Chamber's insurance company.

"I don't think (the lawsuit) has any substance," Bentley said.

Grant's attorney, Keith L. Wheaton, of Martinsburg, said Faul told Grant he did not have the proper permits to sell items at the tournament. Faul declined to comment.

Grant was allowed to return to the tournament the next day when Faul discovered he had received vending permits from the City of Martinsburg and the Martinsburg Mall, Wheaton said.


"He was told he could come back, but he had already lost profits from Saturday," said Wheaton. "He was doing pretty good business up to the point he had left and it was, I believe, a rather hot day that Saturday."

Wheaton added Grant was the only vendor told to leave that day.

Grant, who travels around the area selling refreshments and souvenirs at different events, claims the incident humiliated him and caused him to lose an undetermined amount of income.

The Chamber of Commerce promotes business interests in Martinsburg and Berkeley County and is a privately funded organization.

No court date has been set for the case.

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