JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Metrocenter Mall in Jackson remains essentially vacant after the City of Jackson moved all of its offices out of the building. They cited unbearable working conditions.
The move sparked a new lawsuit against the city by Retro Metro, who own a portion of the mall.
The lawsuit cites a breach of contract and racial discrimination for the city’s decision to leave the Metrocenter.
Retro Metro is a Black-owned business, and they’re accusing the city of racial discrimination for moving out and now renting a space from non-minority-owned businesses.
The city reported several issues for the move, including massive potholes in the parking lot, pests inside the building, mold and broken air conditioning units.
Retro Metro argues that it was the city’s responsibility to fix any issues except the roof and central air conditioning. The company also claims the city did not make them aware of any recent issues before vacating the Metrocenter, but Mayor Chokwe A. Lumumba said otherwise.
“We never heard any of the things that were paraded before the City Council about the conditions or rats and rodents and things of that nature that are unlivable or unsustainable. I never heard any of that. And if that did happen, the rats and rodents came because the city decided to bring all of the garbage and dump it in the parking lot during the garbage crisis,” said Socrates Garrett, the owner of Retro Metro.
“We want to make certain that the residents are able to take care or address the business that they have with the city, then we have to have a space that’s conducive for business. So, that’s why we made the move. We have a long list of challenges we complained about over the course of time,” said Lumumba.
The mayor added that the move was not personally motivated, but it was an effort to do what’s best for the city.
Retro Metro filed a different breach of contract lawsuit in June 2023, but their attorney said the new lawsuit is much more detailed.