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Channelside Cinemas wins in federal court, can host RNC events

7:33 PM, Aug 21, 2012   |    comments
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TAMPA, Florida -- Channelside Cinemas celebrated a huge victory in federal court today; the business will be allowed to host the several events they had planned during the Republican National Convention.

The landlord for Channelside Cinemas tried to get a temporary restraining order to stop the functions from happening.

The 10 News Investigators first broke this story and reported that federal court Judge Michael Williamson ruled it made no sense to stop these events less than a week before the RNC is scheduled to get underway.

It is a big deal and a big win for the theater, which already had $150,000 in deposits. With food and liquor sales, it could more than double that amount.

However, the owners of the cinemas are still trying to figure out why the landlord was trying to stop them in the first place. "Even the judge knows about the Republican Convention because there are numerous times we've been in court talking about it," said owner Howard Edleman.

It was federal court Judge Michael Williamson who refused to grant the injunction that would have cancelled the events at Channelside during the RNC. Those events include several political films that range from a biography of President George H. W. Bush to a documentary called Hunger Hits Home. Jeff Bridges, who appeared in the film, is also supposed to be at the event.

Channelside Cinemas is also expecting former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former tough man Chuck Norris for other events. However, they told the court a planned event with former Fox News guy Glenn Beck fizzled because of the controversy.

The court ruled cancelling the events would not serve any public purpose. "This whole shopping center is going to be crazy with people and crazy with events, including ours," said Edleman.

The events and the people could bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars to Channelside Cinemas, which might help the company get out of bankruptcy, and that's why the theater's marketing director couldn't understand why the landlord was trying to stop the events. "We're providing work and draws to the shopping center. This is the one time Channelside is the focal point, and as everyone knows we've struggled for four or five years with empty buildings," said Matt Pezzullo.

Attorneys for the landlord didn't want to comment on camera, saying the court ruling speaks for itself. The owners of the cinema say it is part of a long-running feud with the landlord.

What makes it even crazier is that the Port Authority, which owns Channelside, is kicking out the landlord, who seems to be going out kicking and screaming.

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