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‘Numerous complaints:’ Village leaders in Butler say troubled boat business has been an issue for years

BUTLER -- It could be "bon voyage" for a boat business in Butler. After years of problems, the village administrator says it's costing taxpayers and scaring other businesses into leaving the village.

A customer says his boat was left outside Casanova's Outdoor Adventure Store for months, and mice got into it. That's just one problem of many that even include allegations of drug use and prostitution.

Kayla Chadwick

"We've responded to numerous complaints of theft from customers, threats to customers," said Kayla Chadwick, Butler village administrator.

Chadwick said Casanova's has been a problem for years. At first, it was the large number of boats being stored around the property and in the alley.

"Village-owned property. Our code says no parking of boats on the right-of-way," said Chadwick.

This picture from 2015 shows just how bad things got. Photos from a month ago show there wasn't much improvement. Pierre Casanova, the owner of the store, contacted FOX6 to do a story about how poorly he believes he's being treated by the village. He declined to speak with us once we agreed to look into the problem.

The claims aren't just about his boats.

"(Drugs and prostitution) -- those are just allegations at this point. Nothing has been substantiated," said Chadwick.

Chadwick said Casanova doesn't have a permit to do repairs on the property, and he's been using an adjacent building without an occupancy permit. While the boats have since been cleared, in just two years, police have been contacted 41 times, and have issued Casanova 11 parking tickets. He also allegedly threatened to have a motorcycle gang deal with a tenant. Chadwick said it's hurting the whole village.

"Police were over there as early as (Monday) morning dealing with an angry customer. There is a neighboring business that told us they are moving out of the village because of Mr. Casanova's property," said Chadwick.

Casanova's attorney also declined to speak with FOX6 News on camera, but said his client is working to get these matters resolved. Casanova will have one last chance when his case comes before the building board. No date has been set.