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City withdraws default letter against Fishhouse

ESCAMBIA COUNTY   --  The City of Pensacola has withdrawn the default letter they sent to the Fish House Restaurant.
      
Owner Collier Merrill says he's thrilled,
But, he told channel 3's Amber Southard, all the talk about the letter has damaged his business.

Only big smiles at the Fish House after nearly three weeks of defending their name.

On November 15th the City of Pensacola sent a default letter claiming the Fish House owed them a percentage of its sales over the last 13 years.
   
$5 million worth in back rent. Fish House owner Collier Merrill says the letter was wrong. 
"It's not a possible damage it has definitely damaged our business and I'm shocked," said Merrill.
   
The letter said they had 90 days to pay or the restaurant would be shut down.
"Every day we are living with this because it's just sitting out there and every day it's ticking off one day closer that you might lose your lease,"  said Merrill.
   
He said damage to his business kept piling up. People unsure of booking parties, banking relationships, and employees giving letters of resignation.

"It occupied some employees every day because every new customer who walks in ask about it, so they've got to try to explain their situation and to keep hearing that over and over. And that's that we're trying to do explain to them don't worry it's going to be okay," said Merrill.
   
Tuesday the city rescinded the default letter and Merrill says while he's still upset.. He'll keep working with the city.

"I'm going to move on and be a big proponent with the city and just continue right on," said Merrill.
   
But, he still has many unanswered questions. We took this issue and the document to City Hall and were told by the City Administrator that the city has no comment at this time.

"We'll meet, we've always been willing to meet. it's not like we've been hiding out in California some where I mean I'm downtown every day," said Merrill.
   
Fish House management and employees are ready to move on
Merrill says no worries that the Fish House plans to stay here open and ready for business for the next 30 years.