The Buyer’s Dilemma


You may recall our story from last week about how the town has put a lien on this $4 million home on Terry Persaud’s property. Persaud also owns the Sunset Grill, where the town has four code violations accruing fines against Persaud. He cannot sell the home until he addresses the issues at the restaurant.

Toby Roberts lives in Utah. She’s ready to purchase the home. She’s been ready to buy the house since she thought she had a deal back in late July. Now, she has over $200,000 invested in furniture for the home and has to sit on the sidelines watching interest rates rise. “My interest rate was 2.9% when we were supposed to close. It’s nearing 4% now.”

Roberts tells Beach Talk Radio News she was told the house would close 30-45 days after she agreed to the price back in July. She’s not getting any answers from anyone on Fort Myers Beach. “Terry’s lack of compliance and selling me a house that he knew he couldn’t close on is what has cost me a fortune.”

By law the town is allowed to put a lien on all properties in the same LLC if one property is in violation of the town code. And they’ve done that to the home because of the issues at Sunset Grill.

The town wants Persaud to, at least, get his parking lot into what they say is compliance. They want him to put a fence around a garbage compactor, upgrade the drainage and do a few other cosmetic improvements. In fact, Persaud, at one time, agreed to make those improvements. But the fight between Persaud and the town just got uglier, with the town sending code enforcement officers undercover to catch him renting chairs on the beach without a license and Persaud filing a lawsuit against the town for pulling his license to sell alcohol on the beach. Persaud won that case (on appeal) and filed a lawsuit against the town for lost liquor sales.

In the middle of the fight is Roberts, who wants to buy the house on the beach. “The sad thing is that eventually they will settle. Terry will pay less. The city will get paid. But I get screwed.”

Roberts says when she found out there was a lien, she was assured that it was just something they would pay at closing.

Persaud’s fines from the 4 violations have accumulated into the hundreds of thousands. Every day hundreds of dollars are tacked on.

Last week Town Manager Roger Hernstadt and Town Attorney John Herin said the resolution is simple: come into compliance at the Sunset Grill. Neither want the house to be released so it can be sold. They say Persaud would use the proceeds from the sale to defend himself in the lawsuit he has against the town.

Persaud says being that the restaurant has been there since 1974 it is grandfathered in and the town is bullying him.


  1. Actually the restaurant and bar has been there since the 40s when it was named the Plamore. It became Top O Mast in the early 70s when Steve Strauss bought it and made it famous across Lee County for its hot popovers, prime rib and Rum Runners.

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