HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Harrison County Sheriff's deputies are searching the old skate park building on Debuys Rd. for missing equipment. County supervisors say the former tenant sold county property, and they're now taking inventory to see what else is missing.
One piece of equipment that was seen being hauled away from the facility is a craps table. It's unclear who that table belongs to or what it was doing in the building. Deputies also seized other materials that appeared to be related to gambling.
The Harrison County Board of Supervisors terminated Kevin Mattina's lease after he allegedly went without paying rent and utilities for the building. County attorney Tim Holleman said Mattina owes somewhere between $6,000 to $8,000 in unpaid power bills.
Supervisor Angel Kibler-Middleton says she's also upset that Mattina sold county property from inside the facility. Middleton said Mattina sold bleachers that cost $80,000 for just $5,217.
"I can't imagine. It's like renting a hotel room and selling the flat screen because you rented the room for a night," Kibler-Middleton said.
Mattina was awarded the bid in spring of this year, and had intentions of opening a sports complex called Gulf Coast Athletic Club at the property that has been idle for years.
Supervisor Connie Rockco called the property "cursed."
The skate park site has had multiple problems since the county initially developed it. Every investor who gambled on the Debuys Rd. site ran into unforeseen issues. From the county getting into the skate park business, to in-line hockey, and roller derby leagues, to a movie sound stage, and now to the Coast Athletic Club, the property has never been able to keep a tenant.
County officials are now working to figure out the next chapter for the property. Tuesday morning, Harrison County inmates were helping county crews gather equipment and figure out what else may be missing or damaged.
"Mattina had moved some things outside that didn't need to be outside," Kibler-Middleton said.
Still, the supervisor confirmed that Mattina sent a letter to supervisors asking to work with them and move forward with his project at the skate park.
In that letter, Mattina tells his side of the story, claiming zoning issues delayed the opening of Gulf Coast Athletic Club. Mattina also claims miscommunication is the reason he got rid of some of the county-owned equipment left inside the facility. He said as of Nov. 9, all equipment owned by the county had been returned.
"I'm one of five, but I'm not renegotiating with him," Kibler-Middleton said.