Faulkner Co tenant says landlord leased someone else's land

FAULKNER COUNTY (KATV) - A lease agreement went terribly wrong in Faulkner County, with both sides saying they're in the right.

On Monday, James Munson overlooked what used to be Munson's Fish Store off Highway 365 in Mayflower. He leased his store for two years before he packed it up December 31 -- spending $5,000 to do it.

"I wanted to cry," said James Munson. "I mean it, because this is my livelihood."

When he found documents that show his landlord didn't actually own the land, he says lawyers told him to get out before he's eventually sued by the real owner.

"They basically told me I needed to move my buildings," said Munson. "What it all boils down to, he's taking from his mother's estate."

County records show the property is owned by a Mary Fuller.

"Miss Mary Fuller is in a nursing home and she has Alzheimer's," he said. "[She] don't even know that I'm here."

Fuller's son and Munson's former landlord, Russell, says there's more to the story.

"He packed up and left because he didn't want to pay the bill," said Russell Fuller, who leased the property to Munson on a month-to-month basis in 2010.

Fuller maintains he indeed owns the property.

He says Munson is finding a way out of paying his $350 per month rent that just went up.

"I guess he's crazy," said Fuller. "I've got seven and a half acres out there. It's mine and my family's. It's heir property."

His cousin told KATV by telephone that he believes the true power of attorney of that property is Fuller's sister who resides in California.

When asked, Russell Fuller denied stealing water and gas from Munson's property at the old fish store on two separate occasions, despite Munson's allegations that Fuller harassed him.

Meanwhile, Munson is trying to re-open at another Mayflower location in a couple months while he builds a legal case against his former landlord.

"I'm off the highway but I own the land here, so that's one good thing," said Munson.

He's more comfortable opening on land he now owns, but worries there may be victims who don't realize it until it's too late.

"I hope nobody else gets in this predicament," said Munson, "because if you don't have a lot of money and you work hard all your life you can lose everything you got."

Fuller says his former tenant has 30 days to clean up his property or Munson will owe rent for January.

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