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Lawsuit seeks evictions, cash from Hernando Beach Marina

The mounting problems at the Hernando Beach Marina continued this week when the lease-holder sued the current owners.

Ronald Hoffer, managing partner of H.H. & H Investments, sold the marina on a lease-to-own basis in 1996 to Chester S. Ufnal and Frank Z. Sobolak of Queensland Marine Management.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday, contends that Ufnal and Sobolak failed to make $77,377 in lease payments. Hoffer wants the money and asks that the tenants be evicted.

"I'd like to tell you all the stuff that's gone on, but my lawyer advised me not to say anything at this time," said Hoffer, who lives in Hernando Beach.

Ufnal and Sobolak _ who live in Toronto, according to the lawsuit _ could not be reached for comment. Ufnal's son, John "Rick" Ufnal, and his son's wife, Deborah, who manage the marina, did not want to comment because they thought it might affect their upcoming sentencing on criminal charges.

Hoffer has extended the lease twice, according to the lawsuit. After not receiving the payments, Hoffer hand-delivered a notice on April 13, giving the defendants 15 days to vacate. The defendants did not make the payments or leave the marina, the complaint states.

The lawsuit was filed a day after John and Deborah Ufnal pleaded no contest to grand theft and tax evasion charges.

John Ufnal, 47, was charged with four counts of grand theft, two counts of issuing worthless checks, and one count each of forgery, theft of Florida sales tax and failure to keep tax records. He pleaded no contest in exchange for a sentence of five years' probation. His 45-year-old wife was charged with theft of Florida sales tax and failure to keep tax records. She pleaded no contest and received three years' probation. A judge will decide on June 4 whether to withhold adjudication in their cases.

Ufnal was accused of keeping money from boat sales that he was supposed to send to clients. The couple also withheld more than $18,000 in sales tax, according to a Florida Department of Revenue investigation.

The couple, of 6621 Harbor Drive in Hudson, were listed as managers and corporate vice presidents. They had no previous criminal record.