After years of legal wrangling, the city of Tampa is suing the owner of a condemned – and now mostly abandoned – mobile home park for millions of dollars in code violation fees.
Nearly six years ago, GreenPark Residences obtained a neglected 18-unit mobile home park on 5004 North 19th Street in Tampa.
Since then, officials with the City of Tampa have been at odds with Rosario C. “Ross” Scopelliti, 51, who owns Greenpark and has seemingly done whatever he can to legally avoid necessary repairs and maintenance on the trailers.
In 2012, according to the Tampa Tribune, Tampa city officials had condemned 17 of 18 of GreenPark’s mobile homes, relocating nearly two dozen tenants.
On several occasions, Scopelliti tried to get the city to pay him, including filing for bankruptcy protection, and bringing a 15-count federal lawsuit against the city in April 2014 for “inverse condemnation.”
In that lawsuit, Scopelliti accused the city of interfering with his leases and undermining his business by offering his tenants $1,500 each for relocation costs. He pointed out that once the city condemned the trailers, tenants stopped paying rent.
Scopelliti also argued that the city used selective code enforcement against him, claiming that Tampa had “multiple mobile home parks and other properties comparable to GreenPark …”
When the U.S. Middle District of Florida court ruled against him, Scopelliti continued his battle by filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals, which affirmed the District court’s ruling January 24, 2017.
That ruling paved the way for a suit filed Feb. 6 in Hillsborough County Circuit Court, where Tampa says Greenpark owes more than $13-million in unpaid code violation liens issued in 2011.
The city is now seeking to foreclose on Greenpark.
Scopelliti, a Canadian native, is no stranger to lawsuits of this type. He had previously sued a local government for condemning housing he owned. The Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that Scopelliti sued the City of St. Petersburg in a similar case in 2001.
Court records also show Ross Scopelliti sued wife Heather DeRigo Scopelliti – a musician and henna artist – for divorce in 2008. The couple agreed to share custody of son Angelo Tommaso Scopelliti.