Whole Foods gets new landlord

Looks like Chuck Lebo, president of Lebo Properties, which manages Shopper’s World on Route 29, won’t have to worry anymore about leaflet-toting political candidates. The Washington Business Journal reports that Maryland-based Federal Realty Investment Trust, which already owns the Barracks Road Shopping Center, has paid $27.2 million to a "private owner" for the property, whose tenants include Whole Foods Market, Advance Auto Parts, Radio Shack, Staples and Starbucks.

In 2005, Lebo had political candidate Rich Collins arrested for campaigning in the parking lot at Shopper’s World during a run for the House of Delegates. Although Collins won an appeal on the trespassing charges, the Virginia Supreme Court refused to hear a civil suit Collins and the Rutherford Institute filed against Shopper’s World, hoping to change Virginia property law by arguing that free speech rights apply on private property that serves as a public forum.

After the two-year legal battle, Lebo demanded an apology from the Rutherford Institute, who characterized the trespassing arrest as "mean." Lebo, fighting this battle on behalf of owner Michael McGowan, also complained about the costly legal fees.

One thing's for sure...fighting for your private property rights pays alot better than fighting for your free speech rights!