The main issue the Englerths have with James Pontillo, Tom Englerth Jr. said in an interview Monday, is that Pontillo has never asked their permission to be on their property to work on his building at the corner of Main Road and Morganville Road in Stafford.
"He never had permission from us as property owners," Englerth said. "One time he asked a guy that worked here (at their tenant's business), but he had no authority to give permission."
Two years ago, police were called to the location when Tom's dad, Tom Englerth Sr., complained that Pontillo and his work crew were trespassing. The same issue came up a little more than a week ago.
Pontillo started restoration work on the building two years ago after outbidding Englerth to purchase the property at auction. At the time, he was talking about opening a pizzeria downstairs, but then worked stalled as he became tied up in personal issues. First, his sister developed cancer and passed away. Then his grandmother had a stroke and later passed away. Then a sink hole developed on one of his properties in the city.
"It's just been one thing after the next," Pontillo said.
Now his permits for putting on a new roof and building a restaurant downstairs have expired. He believes town officials are going to try and deny him new permits.
Englerth said he doesn't believe Pontillo will be able to pull new permits.
If work can resume, Pontillo doesn't believe he can have workers complete the new roof without getting access to the parking lot on the west side of his building, property owned by the Englerths and leased to the Stafford Trading Post.
Tom Englerth Jr. is skeptical his father will ever grant such permission at this juncture.
"He never really respected my dad," Englerth said. "My dad's a tough guy, but he's a nice guy. Once you piss him off, it's hard to gain back the respect from him."
Nothing will happen unless Pontillo can produce proof of insurance, Englerth said.
"He needs appropriate insurance and to show us proof," Englerth said. "He then needs to go to my dad and probably apologize and then ask in a nice way. Can that work? I don't know."
Pontillo believes the only permission he needs, he indicated, is from the owner of the Stafford Trading Post and he believes he's gotten that permission before. He doesn't believe he'll ever get a fair shake from Tom Englerth Sr.
Pontillo thinks Tom Englerth Sr. is still angry that he bought the building and kept Englerth from tearing it down.
Englerth Jr. confirmed that his family wanted to buy the building and they were going to offer to help pay for the historical society to move it to another location in Stafford.
"We're not trying to be jerks," Englerth said. "Since he came in there, he's only made nonsense promises, that he was going to open a restaurant, that he was going to open a pizzeria, he was going to put this place here out of business. He's done nothing for the community I don't think. I don't like to talk about people like that, but it's bullshit. It really is."
Englerth was particularly bothered by some of the comments left on The Batavian insulting his father (two name-calling comments were removed) after last week's story was posted, and he just wanted to set the record straight that his father really is a nice guy and is reasonable if treated fairly.
"We're just old-time farmers looking for what else can we do here and there to make a living," Englerth said. "We have to. Our economy is based on looking at what else you can do to succeed."