Lawyer tries to make businessman pay up after owing nearly a half-million dollars

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:
FILE Photo of The Atrium in south Fort Myers in 2017. Credit: WINK News.

A Southwest Florida businessman owes his landlord nearly a half-million dollars. We are learning the attorney for the landlord is exhausting all options to make him pay up.

We visited where the Atrium building once stood in south Fort Myers Monday. The property is undergoing construction for a new bank.

Court records show that man, Matt Hurley, still hasn’t paid up in a lawsuit against him. Now, other people may be getting the bill.

But in 2017, the Atrium of Southwest Florida says businesses were suddenly forced out because the man leasing the building didn’t pay rent.

Tenants say they were forced out of the Atrium building when Hurley took over to build his “Innovation Center.”

Here, a lawsuit filed by the building owner, Atrium of Southwest Florida, says Hurley started leasing the Atrium executive center in 2017 and stopped paying rent.

Local businesses were blindsided by eviction notices and nearly $500,000 never paid.

Now attorneys representing the Atrium are asking the court to issue writs of garnishment against other companies the owner claims have money or property belonging to Hurley. They say this is a way to get the judgment paid.

One of those whom the plaintiff is going after is William Figlesthaler for Congress. But the campaign told us, in part, Mr. Hurley’s personal matters have nothing to with the campaign.

Their statement:

“Matt Hurley has many friends and acquaintances in District 19 who are actively involved in politics and government. His experience in Southwest Florida politics dates back nearly a decade. As such, he has insights into the District 19 Congressional race. He has no official, contractual or financial affiliation with Dr. Figlesthaler, his campaign team, or his medical practice. Mr. Hurley’s personal matters are noncriminal, long pre-date this race, and have nothing to do with the Dr. Figlesthaler for Congress campaign.

As the frontrunner in this race, it is unsurprising that some would try to insinuate that this is an issue for our campaign, rather than simply a political hit piece that is being fed to them by a candidate in order to smear an opponent.”

The connection between the campaign and Hurley remains unclear.

Fitzgerald Frater, the attorney representing the Atrium, said, “Our pursuit of the judgment on behalf of our client is in no way tied to any political event or candidate and in no way motivated in any direction by any political interests.”

We called and left a message for Hurley for comment and haven’t heard back yet.

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