ORLANDO, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - The Pulse nightclub owners won't sell to the City of Orlando. After expecting to discuss the Pulse purchase at today's city council meeting, the item was conspicuously absent from the agenda as Pulse owner Barbara Poma now says she can't bring herself to sell the club. One victim's mother, though, has other thoughts.
Pulse owner Barbara Poma talked about why she wouldn't sell the nightclub to the city and she says it's not about the money. “You couldn't put a price on it for me,” she says, “for me it wasn't about the real estate or appraisal. It was about the emotion of what happened here.”
Christine Leinonen’s son, Chris, was murdered at Pulse, along with 48 other people when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire on club-goers this past June. She thinks it's all about the money. “Personally, I think the fact that she wasn't willing to compromise on a price.”
She says the owners had plenty of time to turn the Pulse site into a fitting memorial to the victims, but nothing's been done. “She had 3 months to turn the exterior into a beautiful, hopeful sanctuary.”
She says it's disrespectful to her son's memory. “There was nothing inside that black cloth, nothing - no foliage, no rainbows, no nothing.”
Not everyone associated with the tragedy agrees though. Brandon Wolf is a Pulse survivor and a friend of her son Chris, who has a different take. “In this situation, Barbara deserves our respect, understanding and patience.”
He hopes that people will come together to make the Pulse site a fitting tribute to the victims. “My urge is that we get as many people in this community involved as we can.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer says he respects the owners' decision not to sell, and he says the city will reach out to them to see whether they want public input on the future of the nightclub site.