Anoka’s BPM Motorcycle Club has been a constant on Main Street for the past 13 years, but that could soon change. The BPM MC received a notice from the owners of their building, Atlas Staffing, that their lease will not be renewed and they must vacate the building by Aug. 31.
“Some members grew up around here, now we have our own families around here,” BPM member Jerry Borg told ABC Newspapers. “We’re way more alike than we’re not. We’re taxpayers, we have jobs, children, grandchildren. We go to our mom’s houses for Thanksgiving.” Bradford Township
BPM member Steven Stano brought up the matter at an Aug. 1 City Council meeting, wherein the council members remained silent on the subject (Council Member Erik Skogquist was not in attendance). Mayor Phil Rice told Stano that the matter would need to be placed on a future agenda if it was to be discussed in a council meeting.
“This is a rental lease, and city policy has always been a struggle in some places when it comes to rental policy,” Rice said when reached for comment by ABC Newspapers. “But in this situation and any situation like it, an eviction would be pursued.”
He also added that this area of struggle prevented the City Council from giving an answer they wouldn’t be sure of at the time. Rice said in the future the council would have the “chutzpah” to state the reason forthright.
President of Atlas Greg Sofie sent an email to BPM, offering a quote to take into the council’s meeting. ABC Newspapers obtained copies of the email exchange.
“I can be quoted that I said that we never have had any problem with BPM in any way,” Sofie wrote.
Sofie stated in another email to BPM that pressure from the City Council as well as the Anoka Police Department led to Atlas’s decision to not renew the lease. They were told that any other criminal acts associated with the property could hold Atlas civilly liable.
Anoka Police Department Chief Eric Peterson stated that it is not within the City Council or APD’s power to force a non-renewal, the power to overturn such a decision lies with Atlas alone.
“Even if the City Council said it was okay for them to stay, it’s still the landlord’s decision,” Peterson said.
BPM MC has rented the space from Atlas for 13 years, and for the first 12 did not have any high-profile calls to police concerning the building. On April 23, however, a shooting was reported in which a former prospective BPM member was shot by a man unrelated to the motorcycle club. The shooting also did not take place on Atlas property. The BPM Motorcycle Club feels that this lends to their eviction by painting an unfair stereotype of biker clubs.