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Junction furniture store closes in Seaway Plaza

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The furniture store associated with the now-defunct Junction Boyz auto body company also has gone out of business.

The Junction Inc., which catered to soldiers and sold furniture, children’s furniture and washers and dryers, closed its Seaway Plaza store several weeks ago, said Timothy R. Farrell, the plaza’s maintenance supervisor.

When a reporter called Tuesday, a recording stated the store’s phone was “temporarily disconnected.” Owner Edward J. Sampson Jr. could not be reached for comment.

With the outside temperature hovering around minus 15 degrees on Tuesday and the store’s windows covered in frost, Mr. Farrell said he was about to unlock the front door and go inside to turn on the heat.

“I haven’t seen him in a long time,” Mr. Farrell said of Mr. Sampson.

In September, the Watertown Industrial Center Local Development Corp. evicted Junction Boyz from its 30,000 square feet of space in the business incubator at 800 Starbuck Ave. for nonpayment. By that time, Mr. Sampson had racked up $274,370.01 in back rent, late charges, unpaid utilities and a loan for painting equipment, according to court documents.

Junction Boyz stopped paying its rent and utilities in 2010.

On Tuesday morning, the question of whether the furniture store was still open was brought up during a debate of whether the WIC board should consider a settlement offer from Mr. Sampson, who requested the board accept $30,000 from him for the back payments and allow him to move back in.

But the WIC board did not budge, although board member Nickolas W. Darling argued that $30,000 was better than not receiving any money at all from Mr. Sampson.

Mr. Darling also expressed concern about the amount in legal bills WIC has had to pay to evict Junction Boyz and take its owner to court. So far, WIC has spent about $3,000 on legal expenses associated with the situation, said William J. Soluri, the industrial center’s site manager.

WIC board Chairman Donald W. Rutherford said it was too late to do any more business with Junction Boyz.

“He lost all credibility with me,” Mr. Rutherford said of Mr. Sampson.

The company installed car audio equipment and car starters and completed custom body work, collision repairs and paint jobs.

In the months since the eviction, WIC has started marketing the space formerly occupied by Junction Boyz. Mr. Soluri said he showed the space to an unidentified potential tenant and is waiting to hear whether the business is interested in moving into the center.

Meanwhile, Junction Boyz has failed to remove several vehicles, a golf cart, inventory and equipment from the space, Mr. Soluri said. It will be up to WIC’s attorney, Keith B. Coughlin, Watertown, to determine whether the board can seize the items or if Mr. Sampson will be made to remove them, Mr. Soluri said.

Last year, Mr. Sampson attributed the failure of his business to delinquent accounts from Fort Drum soldiers. He later blamed his financial troubles on his business dealings with Oak Rock Financial LLC and the loans he had for his customers with the Long Island commercial lender. He claimed Oak Rock was overcharging him “millions of dollars” on the loans, so he no longer could pay his rent.

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