Dispute between old, new owners of Tiki Bar leads to arrest for battery

SEBASTIAN — One man was arrested on a battery charge after what should have been a peaceful exchange of property turned into a physical disturbance at the Paradise Marina and Tiki Bar, according to the Sebastian Police Department.

Authorities arrested Thomas Gilliams, 53, of New York, after they say he shoved the marina and bar’s new owner, Terry Potter, Thursday.


Gilliams and four others, including former Sebastian City Council candidate Joe Scozzari, were issued trespass citations from the site due to the incident, according to police spokesman Officer Steve Marcinik.

Gilliams has since been released from the county jail on $500 bond.

Officer Marcinik said that an agreement had been arranged Thursday morning for former property owner Damien Gilliams to retrieve his personal property from the Paradise Marina and Tiki Bar.

However, Gilliams did not show up to the site. Instead, Thomas Gilliams, Leslie Gilliams, Scozzari, Victor Dellatorre and Matthew Julian arrived to collect Damien Gilliam’s things.

At about 11:50 a.m., an associate of Potter called the police department to report a verbal disturbance. By the time police arrived, the disturbance escalated to physical when Thomas Gilliams shoved Potter, according to Officer Marcinik.

It took police officers about an hour to sort out what happened at the property and clear the call, he said.

Potter took control of the property on Monday, after winning the site in an auction last week after it fell into foreclosure. At the time, police responded to the scene to keep the peace between Gilliams and his crew and Potter when Potter tried to evict Gilliams.

Since then, both sides have maintained that they are the rightful owners of the items left on the property – including coolers, refrigerators, kitchen utensils and memorabilia.

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