For the second time this month, a Marathon mobile home park owner was locked up Monday for allegedly destroying the property of a tenant in the weeks following September’s Hurricane Irma.
Ralph Mutchnik, 72, owns the Galway Bay Mobile Home Park at mile marker 47.5 oceanside. His arrest Monday was for allegedly destroying a shed belonging to tenant Leroy Mikolowski in the weeks following the storm.
Two witnesses who stayed in the Keys during the storm told investigators Mikolowski’s shed was not damaged in the hurricane, yet Mutchnik instructed workers to crush it with an excavator and remove it from the property.
Mikolowski, who was in Michigan during the storm, returned to Marathon in October and found his shed and everything in it was gone. He valued it and its contents, mostly fishing gear, at $22,780 according to the affidavit.
Mutchnik was arrested on felony charges for property damage over $1,000 and larceny, taken to the jail on Plantation Key and released the same day on $10,000 bond.
Investigators say he also unlawfully damaged and ransacked a trailer owned by Andrew Garshott in the weeks following the storm in an effort to render the dwelling unlivable in the eyes of city officials. For this, he was arrested Jan. 11.
Mutchnik reportedly had an excavator punch two large holes into the roof of Garshott’s 34-foot Prowler in September, according to the arrest affidavit.
Mutchnik pleaded not guilty to felony charges of criminal mischief, grand theft over $20,000 and filing of false documents against real or personal property Tuesday at the Marathon courthouse for the Jan. 11 arrest.
He is also being sued by the Galway Bay homeowners association, members of which say their rent has gone up a whopping 48 percent in the last three years.
The first hearing for the lawsuit was last week, and another hearing has not been set.
Katie Atkins: 305-440-3219