A small-scale jewelry repair shop in Harlingen is waging a full scale war against a neighboring Whataburger.
The owner of Matt TMs Watch & Jewelry Repair along 1600 East Harrison Avenue said the restaurant is causing a health risk by allowing grease and wastewater runoff from their property to build up outside his store.
"It smells real ugly... like when you throw garbage and its been there for two, three days... when you open the bag that's the way it smells," Matt Vega explained.
The problems date back to 2007. Vega said he first filed a complaint with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. He then turned to the City of Harlingen for help.
"I'm trying to protect myself and I'm trying to protect the customers," Vega said.
Home video filmed by Vega showed what he's been dealing with over the years. It showed what cars have to drive over to pull into the store. Vega said the slippery mess from the driveway is then walked onto the carpets of his jewelry repair shop by customers.
"Nobody can help us... So they didn't give no choice but to call Channel 4," Vega said.
The same day Action 4 News started investigating the claims, Whataburger was issued a warning from the City of Harlingen. A code enforcement officer said the restaurant was in violation of city ordinance 95.05 for allowing water from the parking lot to drain onto the city street"a public nuisance.
The restaurant apparently hires a company to pressure wash the property a few times each year. The city said any runoff should be vacuumed. This is the second time in less than a year Whataburger has been warned about violating that city ordinance. Vega hopes it will be the restaurant TMs last warning.
If the restaurant fails to comply with the city ordinance in the future it could result in a ticket and fine of up to $2,000.
A Whataburger corporate representative was not available for an on camera interview. Rob Rodriguez, Senior Regional Director of Operations, provided Action 4 News with the following statement in regards to our report:
Whataburger has responded to complaints from Matt TMs Jewelry and Repair by reinforcing our external cleaning maintenance procedures with the company that handles the power washing for the restaurant. In addition, we are working with the City of Harlingen to identify any other issues that may be causing the drainage problem and hope to have the problem resolved quickly.