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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

'Phantom of the Fox' won't have to leave Midtown theatre

Joe Patten, aka The Phantom of the Fox
It's official: Joe Patten — the longtime Fox Theatre resident affectionately known as "The Phantom of the Fox" — can remain in the apartment he's maintained in the historic Midtown venue for more than 31 years.

The Fox announced today that a settlement has been reached in the dispute between Atlanta Landmarks, its owner and operator, and Patten, who helped save the theatre from the wrecking ball in the 1970s.

Patten, who'd renovated the apartment with $50,000 of his own cash since moving in in 1979, claimed the theatre's board committed housing discrimination when it terminated his lifetime lease and asked him to sign an occupancy agreement — complete with several stipulations — after he experienced a stroke.

Patten's friends and the army of supporters who urged Atlanta Landmarks to let the 83-year-old stay in the apartment called the new contract unfair. Patten refused to ink the occupancy agreement and was threatened with eviction.

According to a statement released by theatre, the terms of the settlement agreement are confidential.

"Mr. Patten will continue to live in the apartment and Atlanta Landmarks will continue to have the right to manage the theatre property," the statement says.

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