Property Owner in Lovejoy says he’s being run out of town, concerned about racism

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Lovejoy business owner is claiming he is getting driven out of the neighborhood.

Rick Mason owns the building that houses Checkmate Bar and Restaurant.

He says he’s tried to compromise with the city, but now neighbors are trying to run him out town.

Rick Mason acknowledges the violence that happened at Checkmate on Saturday morning. One man was critically injured after several people with guns started shooting at each other outside the bar.

Now, Mason has made a compromise with the city. He will surrender his liquor license and operate as just a restaurant. But he says now, he’s getting threats from the neighborhood telling him to get out.

When Mason bought the building on Lovejoy, he didn’t believe those who called him “crazy” for buying property in the neighborhood.

But still he and his team invested tens of thousands of dollars in revamping the property. Now he says, even though he’s made this agreement with the city, neighbors are still making complaints to the city to completely shut him down.

He says his employees have been threatened, cars vandalized, and racist letters sent to the business.

Mason says this alleged racism is hindering the growth of the neighborhood, and he’s not the only business that’s been pushed out of the area.

Mason says he was hoping Lovejoy would a thriving neighborhood but now he says there are just vacant properties and empty houses.

Mason says once the liquor license is taken away, he will operate as a restaurant until he can sell the building to another owner.

We spoke with Councilman Rich Fontana earlier this week.

He tells us Checkmate is no stranger to problems and the decision to take away the liquor license is what the community wants.

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