EAST LIVERPOOL-Local business owner Brian Kerr came to the city's Community Improvement Corporation finance committee meeting Tuesday asking for a loan to renovate his business. His appearance before the committee has since sparked controversy due to comments Kerr made about buying another local business.
Kerr, who owns PC Doctor LLC and Laptop Express LLC, requested a $25,000 loan from the CIC to renovate his business's building on Fifth Street in downtown East Liverpool. When asked by the committee if the project would result in job creation, Kerr told them he recently purchased the Wolfe TV business and intended to hire someone to take on the work.
Committee members Bill Cowan and Sam Scafide have both confirmed that Kerr told the board Tuesday that he had bought Wolfe TV. "Yes, he said he bought Wolfe TV," said Cowan. "He said he was going to move the business to his business downtown."
Since the story regarding Kerr's request for the loan ran in Thursday's edition of The Review, owner of Wolfe TV, Tom Wolfe, came forward stating that he had not sold the business or the name to Kerr, nor did he have any direct business dealings with him. Wolfe says he closed down Wolfe TV last year to pursue other business ventures but noted that it is not yet permanently out of business.
"That's not to say that it isn't going to reopen in the future," said Wolfe. "It's never been talked about selling the Wolfe TV name, its business, its customer base or anything," said Wolfe. Wolfe says the only dealing his family has ever had with Kerr was when his son "sold a couple of his used TVs that were laying around." He stressed that it was his son who sold the TVs to Kerr and not him. "I don't think Mr. Kerr has ever stood in my business, and I don't believe I've ever been to his," said Wolfe. Wolfe said he may seek legal advice in the situation.
When contacted for comment, Brian Kerr confirmed that he had dealt exclusively with Wolfe's son when purchasing the TV's; however, he contended that he had bought out Wolfe TV's entire inventory.
"They were out of business, so I bought everything that they had," said Kerr, noting he bought approximately 12 to 14 TVs. When questioned as to why he stated to the finance committee that he had bought the business, Kerr claimed the misunderstanding over his statement to the committee was a matter of semantics.
"I didn't purchase the business itself. I purchased everything within the business," said Kerr. Kerr says that his business will begin working TVs but as PC Doctors not Wolfe TV. "I bought what he had as a business, I didn't buy the clients and I didn't buy the name."
Committee members were skeptical that Kerr had misspoken about purchasing Wolfe TV. "He misrepresented it to the finance committee," said CIC member Sam Scafide. When the decision to grant the loan comes before the CIC board, the way in which Kerr presented his purchase of the TVs from Wolfe TV could weigh against him according to Scafide.
"When he goes before the full board this could affect his chances of being awarded the loan," said Scafide. Kerr's request for the loan will come before the CIC Board of Trustees when they meet 5:15 p.m. July 8.