Marina manager tries running over tenant over rent, cops say

Florida Keys police say an Islamorada marina manager hit a man living on the property with his car and tried to strike another man in an ongoing dispute between the property owners and the tenants they’re trying to evict.

Chad Lyons said the manager, Richard Van Der Dijs threatened to sink his 28-foot cabin cruiser, which is docked at Smuggler’s Cove Marina at mile marker 86 on the bay side of U.S. 1, before getting into his 2012 GMC SUV and aiming it at him.

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Robert Van Der Dijs


Van Der Dijs, 53, hit Lyons, 25, after driving the car toward another tenant, Patrick Malloy, police say. Lyons took phone video of the incident as he walked backward to the left trying to get out of the way of the SUV, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Matthew O’Neill wrote in his report.

Lyons could not get out of the way and appears in the video to land on the hood of the car. O’Neill said he suffered a minor ankle injury.

Van Der Dijs was arrested on aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated battery. He is in county jail . Bond information was not immediately available.

When a deputy reached him by phone after interviewing Lyons, Van Der Dijs said he did not speak English. However, cops knew he did from previous calls out to the property.

Van Der Dijs then told deputies the two men stood in front of his car to prevent him from leaving. When asked why the video shows Lyons backing away from the vehicle, Van Der Dijs responded, “He knew I had his life in my hands, not because I hit him bro,” O’Neill wrote in his report.

Lyons told deputies Van Der Dijs were arguing around 11 a.m. over a dispute about unpaid rent. Van Der Dijs then drove out to U.S. 1 but returned immediately. He first aimed his car at Malloy, and then turned it in Lyon’s direction, according to the report.

“It should be noted that the location were standing during the incident were not in the path of the vehicle, nor blocking or hindering Van Der Dijs from exiting the parking lot,” O’Neill wrote in the report.

Malloy could not be reached for comment. Lyons said the bar, restaurant and motel at the marina closed in January. The marina owners then told the liveaboards they had to leave by Feb. 21, Lyons said.

Lyons, who moved to Smuggler’s Cove in October and signed a year lease, said he has the money to pay rent and offered. He said management was willing to accept the money, but they would not give him receipts showing he paid the rent.

Since then, management has tried several tactics to make the remaining liveaboards leave, including unplugging power cords to boats, cutting off water and locking the property’s bathroom facilities, Lyons said.

It’s not clear how many people are still living in the 80-slip marina.

The property is owner by Argos Properties, LLC on Brickell Avenue in Miami. Representatives from the company did not return a phone call for comment.