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Possible squatting of Lanesboro storefront is creating a dispute

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LANESBORO, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Lanesboro city officials and the owners of a downtown storefront are perplexed over what to do about a man who some say is living inside of a downtown business, which is not allowed.  It's a complicated back and forth between the parties that has left the shop windows covered, and the door locked from the inside.

This dispute has been ongoing since the renter moved in back in January, and apparently without a formal rental agreement. While some people say that makes him a squatter, he sees it differently.

Charles Zahrodnik said he entered into a verbal agreement to start a puppet and textile business at a storefront along Parkway Avenue in downtown Lanesboro.

Lori and David Bakke said they have owned the property for the past 20 years and no formal contractual agreement was agreed upon.

Payments were supposed to begin on April 1.

Zahrodnik, who is handicapped, had permission to have a local church help him to move in a few things at some point.

We understand that this is not the first time Zahrodnik has run into trouble with potential landlords.

Zahrodnik said he had been in a property dispute in Rochester and Preston. He said he's not living in the storefront, but just works long hours into the night.

Zahrodnik has now been served with eviction papers.  The court hearing is April 21.

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