UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – University City officials say taxpayers will be on the hook for paying for some of the Seafood City cleanup costs after the owner left behind thousands of pounds of rotted seafood.

The cleanup process for Seafood City costs about $7,000 a day. University City says the owner does not have enough money to pay for the bill, and the city had to step in due to a health hazard.

After several weeks, a biohazard company has removed rotting fish inside the Seafood City Supermarket. The St. Louis County Health Department shut down the grocery store in December 2022 and then again last March, saying it was operating without a health permit.

University City officials did not want to speak with FOX 2 on camera, but provided a memo from the city manager. The memo states that the board approved to pay the remaining balance   ($127,831.78) after the owners of the now-shuttered Seafood City store failed to pay for emergency remediation. 

Now, residents want to know why taxpayers have to foot the bill.

“I’m very upset that the city council would approve something like this for someone else’s responsibility,” said Arlene Sandler. “It’s another example of what happens when pollution occurs and the perpetrator leaves.”

“Somebody help me out if I don’t have any money if I don’t have any money for my house,” said Sharon Patterson. “Do the same thing for me. Let’s all help each other then. If that’s how it’s going to start to work, that’s how we should do it, okay? But I don’t think one person should be allowed the favor.”

University City manager Greg Rose outlined the emergency funding, which included the total requested in addition to dumping fees and staff time. There were four outstanding invoices that were not paid by the property owner, Six Fortune LLC.

Leaders said that the city would levy a lien on the property for not only the six-figure bill it’s now covering but also its staff time.

Meanwhile, the business owner of Seafood City and the property owner, Six Fortune LLC, are suing each other in St. Louis County.