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Beginning February 1, I rented a room from Barbara Seiger in her apartment at 315 East 70th Street #10G New York, NY 10021. She kicked me out on 6/17/2011. The reason?
Apparently some of her clothing and jewelry is missing/misplaced/hidden, but she decided I stole it. Which I swear I would never do. She demanded an “explanation” but I can’t offer one for something I didn’t witness and have no knowledge of.
She declared she will use my security deposit to “replace” the missing items, which is illegal. So is evicting someone using threats!
Losing all the money is bad enough, but mostly I don’t like being evicted for something I didn’t and wouldn’t do.
Random things: She insisted I am the only possible culprit, but she had several people visiting or sleeping there. I never did. She’s been known to leave the front door unlocked. Many people could or did have access.
My theory is that Barbara, who is 83 and rather forgetful (maybe senile), got rid of the items or put them elsewhere. Or she did this deliberately to smear me.
She admitted that I don’t have the items. She looked in my room when I wasn’t there. For some reason my clothing buying habits were “proof” to her that I must have stolen from her. She also refused my offer to file a police report, so we’ll never know what really happened. I’ve moved out of NYC, but please beware and don’t answer any of her Craigslist ads for a new roommate. She may accuse you next!
May 18, 2009 I posted brief report on court in District of Columbia finding landlord and four tenants guilty of negligently and intentionally harming neighbor by serious nighttime for more than a year. This was about the only effective way of getting relief against bad landlords and tenants so a friend and I went further into the evidence in that case so more details can now be given which may aid others in similar problems.
The landlord was Ms. Nancy Itteilag and the tenants were Mr. Michael James Lavoie, Mr. Christian Etienne Wood, Mr. Edmund Victor Donnelly, and Mr. Robert John Bercik. After a week’s trial a jury found all these people guilty of both negligently and intentionally harming the neighbor through nighttime noise occurring usually several times every night for months on end. The court had earlier brought some relief by granting the neighbor’s request for an order of that sort. The jury granted money damages against the landlord and all four tenants. The amount was not large. Our investigation concluded that the money granted was limited because the jury did not want to impose a lengthy debt on the four tenants, who were university undergraduates. The verdict against the landlord may well have been in six or seven figures but the court told the jury that only one figure could be awarded and it had to apply to the landlord and each tenant.
Among witnesses for the neighbor was another neighbor, Mr. X, who lived in the house on the other side of the tenants. Mr. X lived there with his very elderly mother who was seriously ill. There was testimony about Mr. X repeatedly being awakened at night by the tenants’ noise and having to quiet his anxious and upset mother.
Another witness was an expert in property management in the locality. This expert testified about the steps the landlord should have taken, including a careful investigation like talking with any neighbor who might have knowledge. Ms. Itteilag gave sworn testimony that she had talked to the neighbor with the elderly mother but she had denied doing so in other sworn testimony and there was nothing to support her claim. The expert said that Ms. Itteilag should have called to the tenants’ attention the lease provisions against harming neighbors, but Ms. Itteilag admitted she had never done this. The expert said that Ms. Itteilag should have given the tenants notice to cure the problem or vacate the premises, but the evidence was Ms. Itteilag did the opposite, she encouraged the tenants to have more parties including large ones at night. The expert testified that Ms. Itteilag could have sought a court order evicting the tenants. The sworn testimony and other evidence in the case showed that Ms. Itteilag had woven a tangled web. To call her behavior an exercise in felony stupidity might be right. Her behavior was hard to understand beause Ms. Itteilag was a real estate agent who not only was an experienced landlord in the area and others but an experienced real estate agent knowledgeable about renting and enforcing reasonable conduct on tenants.
We have posted about this lawsuit in other sites including ohmyapt.apartmentratings.com/nosyneighbors.html and hope that the reports offer something to be considered by people harmed by bad landlords and tenants.
I was recently effectively and unfairly forced out of my home of 5 years at 2219 Elliot Avenue South in the Phillips Neighborhood in south Minneapolis by the new landlords, Antonio Vejas (sp?) and Candace M. Myers. The previous landlord, Joel Mugge, had greedily put the building at risk of foreclosure with $600,000 in additional mortgages, of which I was unaware at the time I made the building my home. Further, as Building Superintendent, I had, by my own initiative and largely uncompensated, brought the building and property back to life from an unlivable condition. The rest of the story is told in the following 2 letters that I wrote to Antonio Vejas (sp?) and Candace M. Myers. I will detail the other despicable actions of Mr. Mugge in a later post.
Kirk R. Lund
Wednesday 10 March 2010
Dear Antonio & Candace:
I want to welcome you as the new owners and newest residents of the building at 2217-2219 Elliot Avenue South in the Phillips Neighborhood of south Minneapolis. I have taken great pride in the care of this property for the last four years, and it has become my home. I would very much like to continue serving as Building Superintendent.
A Little History:
When I was hired to take care of the building and property in March 2006, the building and yard were both in appalling condition. The tenants who had lived in Apartment #4 for the previous six years had completely failed to take care of it. It looked as if they had never cleaned the entire time that they had lived there. The apartment was filthy, with piles of dirt and used cat litter everywhere, including in the window sills. When the locksmith came to change the locks, he completed only the front door lock to the apartment and then fled because he felt that the condition of the apartment was too hazardous. Cat urine and feces were rotting the hardwood floor in what is now my bedroom. When I removed the cat-urine-soaked rotting hardwood floor, I got a chest infection that put me in bed for three days and required a prescription medication to eliminate.
As Building Superintendent, I have done the following:
In cleaning up and renovating the yard:
* I picked up countless loads of trash from all over the yard, including large chucks of scrap metal, car fenders and bumpers, old tires, etc..., and hauled it all to the City of Minneapolis South-Side Transfer disposal facility. Since the initial clean-up I have made numerous additional trips to the South-Side Transfer with items from the building left by tenants as well as items illegally dumped on the property.
* I continue to pick up all trash from the yard on a daily basis in order to maintain a clean yard.
* I installed four 5-gallon buckets, wired to posts at the four corners of the property. I keep trash bags in these buckets and empty them when they get full. This step has significantly reduced the amount of trash that passers-by throw on the property.
* I cut down two dead trees and cut all the dead branches that I could reach out of all the other tress on the property.
* I pruned the overgrown bushes in front of the building.
* I patched all the deteriorating concrete on the property, although, after this heavy-iced winter, I would like to re-do some of it this summer.
* I have put up and maintained necessary signs around the property.
* I put down weed-barrier plastic, wood chips, and garden edging around the entire building.
* I planted grass-seed to fill in the large sections of the yard that were bare dirt.
* I built a community fire pit area (which passed inspection by the city fire marshal)
* I built a horseshoe pit in the back yard.
* I built a basketball court in the rear parking area and have held many neighborhood pick-up games there.
* I planted a tomato garden, and I would like to plant some flower gardens (hopefully with a grant from Hennepin County or the City of Minneapolis), because there is research showing that flower gardens reduce the amount of trash that passers-by throw on a property.
In cleaning up and renovating the building:
* I cleaned up the basement of the building. In addition to the debris left in the basement by previous tenants, I hauled out three full-size garbage cans full of concrete and plaster chunks and dust from the deteriorating basement walls.
* I did the necessary mortar tuck-pointing in the basement to stop all the leaks in the walls.
* I have continued to keep the basement free of dust, and have taken steps to seal up the basement walls in order to prevent the walls from deteriorating further and producing more dust to clean up.
* I painted the front entry hallway of the building and have primed and painted the back hallway of the building, including the stair treads, baseboards, and all other previously painted trim.
* I installed seven new hand-rails with returns in the stairwells of the building. (There were three existing hand-rails, to which I added returns.)
* I scraped all the peeling paint off the porches, trim, and gutters; repaired the places where the trim was rotting; and primed it all. I have put the topcoat of paint on some of it, and would like to finish the project this summer.
* I re-finished the second-level front deck floor, and would like to re-finish the first-level deck floor this summer.
* I made two outdoor cigarette-butt depositories and put one by both the front and back entrances to the building, at a cost nearly one-eighth the cost of buying two new, manufactured ones.
In caring for and renovating the apartments:
* I have twice cleaned out abandoned tenant belongings and stored them for the required 60 days - once from Apartment #1, after the police drug raid, and once from Apartment #3, after the tenants failed to pay rent for three months, ignored the notice of unlawful detainer, and failed to appear at the court date.
* I have painted Apartment #1 twice and Apartment #3 twice.
* I have installed peep holes on six of the eight apartment entrance doors.
* I have done numerous repairs in all the apartments.
All four apartments have had tenants for the vast majority of the time that I have been Building Superintendent.
In cleaning up and renovating my apartment:
* I removed all the door knobs, latches, hinges, and other hardware, as well as all the fixtures,
and soaked them in a bleach solution, replacing what needed to be replaced.
* I patched all the holes in the walls and ceilings.
* I thoroughly washed every surface in the apartment.
* I primed and painted all the walls and ceilings.
* I installed new counter-top laminate in the kitchen.
* I installed a new solid-core front entrance door to the apartment to replace the existing flimsy interior door.
I have already purchased, and have on site, most of the paint, stain, concrete and mortar mix, and other materials needed to complete the renovation of the building.
I have been through a great deal working at and living in this building during the last four years. When I started as Building Superintendent, trespassing and vandalism were a routine occurrence on the property. There were people routinely trespassing on the front porch, selling and using drugs. After one tenant in Apartment #2 moved out, it became apparent that he had been selling drugs out of the apartment. People would come in the middle to the night and bang on the windows of Apartment #2 looking for their drug dealer, Abdi. On one of these occasions, the banging was so loud that it woke me up with a start on the second floor.
Vandalism to the property has included graffiti, damage to the chain-link fence, and broken windows. On one occasion, someone cut a hole in one of the first-floor front porch windows, apparently with a torch. The window cost more than $60.00 to replace.
The building has also experienced police raids. About two years ago, the police broke down the front entrance door to the building as well as the front entrance door to Apartment #1 in a drug raid, They insisted on screwing shut all the windows and doors with security screws to keep any of my neighbor’s accomplices from re-entering the apartment. When we asked them to lock the windows from the inside in a non-destructive manner, they refused and went ahead with screwing them shut. I fixed the front entrance door to the building and replaced the antique glass window with maple plywood and a peep hole. I had previously repaired the building’s front entrance door due to a police raid in 1997, when I lived in Apartment #2 for a year-and-a-half. This repair is still in place today.
Twice when there were domestic abuse crises with the tenants, I offered whatever help I was able and stayed at the property until the crises was over, even though I had somewhere else that I was supposed to be at the time. I have tried my very best to be a diligent and responsible Building Superintendent.
The quality of life at the property has improved because of the significant work I have done to improve the building and property and because of my vigilance and dedication in confronting and deterring people who were trespassing on and vandalizing the property, and who were dealing and using drugs on the property. Crime has not been a problem at the property for over two years now.
I have also been vigilant in keeping unauthorized vehicles from parking in the tenant parking area in the rear of the property. Despite my vigilance and the clearly posted signs warning people that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner’s expense, people still sometimes park there unauthorized. I have developed a parking citation to place on the windshield of unauthorized vehicles as a warning, and on a few occasions I have called Cedar Towing to have a vehicle towed, but the owner of the vehicle has always come back and moved their vehicle before the tow truck arrived – as people most often park there for only a short period of time in order to run into the nearby Somali Market.
I would like to get a video surveillance system for the property, as further deterrence and in order to have something to go on if these problems do re-surface on the property – and also because unauthorized dumping of large unwanted items by the trash containers in the rear of the property continues to be a problem. In the meantime I have put up signs that say “Absolutely NO Dumping Allowed” and “This Area Under 24-Hour Recorded Video & Audio Surveillance” as a measure of deterrence.
I have represented RiverTown Property Management (RTPM) well, and have been the face of this property and defended it for four years now. I have spent many more hours maintaining, improving, and defending this property than those for which I have been compensated. I was adequately paid for my work during my first year as Building Superintendent, but, after that, I put in tens of thousands of dollars of uncompensated labor in renovating and maintaining the property. I did most of these things on my own initiative simply because they needed to be done.
Future Needs for the Property:
The work in the building that I have yet to complete or have otherwise been unable to complete is as follows:
* Complete exterior porch, trim, and gutter painting.
* Re-finish first-floor front porch floor.
* Replace back building entrance door. (I have tried on several occasions to fix it so that it will shut on its own and not catch on the floor. The existing door and frame needs to be replaced with a pre-hung door.)
* Repair gutters on the south side of the building.
* Repair chimney.
These are all jobs that I can do.
The work in the apartments that I have not yet completed is as follows:
* Remove deteriorating wallpaper in dining room, kitchen, and bathroom.
* Apply drywall compound, sand, prime, and paint walls.
* Finish sheet-rocking, apply drywall compound and tape, sand, and paint around bathroom sink. (The sink had fallen off the wall. I re-attached it and started sheet-rocking the bare lathe left exposed.)
* At least three of the screens need to be repaired – thy were torn by the tenants who recently moved out - and I’m sure that there is other damage done by the most recent tenants.
* Install peep hole in back entrance door.
* Apply final coat of topcoat paint to kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms,
* Replace flimsy ‘interior’ front entrance door with solid entrance door.
* Install peep hole in back entrance door.
* Install light-fixture/ceiling-fan combos in living room and dining room.
* Replace hallway light fixture.
* Finish renovating back bedroom.
These are all jobs that I can do. (I do not do major plumbing nor major electrical work.)
I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into cleaning up, renovating, maintaining, and defending this property. It is my home, I am proud of what I have accomplished here, and I want to continue working as well as living here.
I welcome you as the new owners of this property. As you make your home here, I hope you will see that my work has increased the value of your property. It is a property in very good condition due to my initiative, hard work, and dedication.
As the new owners, the management of this property is now in your hands. I hope that I have demonstrated that I am qualified and would very much like to partner with you in the management of this property. I’d like to meet with you to discuss my future tenancy here, and my bid to be your Building Superintendent. I hope that we can come to an agreement that is beneficial to both of us.
Kirk R. Lund, HandyMan
Election Integrity Advocate
Kirk R. Lund
Wednesday 12 January 2011
Antonio Vejas (sp?) & Candace M. Myers:
I am now 100% moved out of the apartment, building, and property. I thoroughly cleaned the apartment as well as the common areas of the building and property. I removed all the screws and anchors from the walls and ceiling in the apartment, and I left the holes unfilled, as you specified. I have left your property in the clean and orderly condition in which I kept it for the last nearly 5 years.
You told me that you “cannot and should not be penalized for actions that took place before…[you]…took ownership” of the property. However, you failed to properly recognize the unique nature of my largely uncompensated work on the property and to give me the credit and respect that I deserved as well as had earned. You nearly completely ignored me and treated me as irrelevant when I had taken it upon myself to clean up, fix up, and maintain this property when it was a complete DISASTER and NO ONE ELSE would take care of it. I made this property my home and created there a safe place for families to live and for children to play.
You DID owe me respect and credit for all that I did for the property, even though my work began before you took ownership of the property. My work and initiative allowed you to buy a well-maintained property for less than half its market value, instead of a S***HOLE, as Mr. Mugge had kept the property before I started there. I seriously doubt that you would have even considered buying the property had it still been in the condition in which Mr. Mugge had kept it before I started there.
I deserved and had earned the right to be treated as a partner in the management of the property – maybe not a financial partner, but a partner nonetheless. I had accepted that I would not be able to own my home that I had built at this property, but I had EARNED respect and communication from you about the management of the property and your plans for it. And if you hired people to additional renovation work in the building, I deserved and had earned the right to be one of the people hired to do this work. This is not being “penalized,” but rather giving recognition, credit, and respect for my work from which you greatly benefited. Instead, you ignored my letter of welcome, introduction, and outreach to you and all of my work, dedication, and loyalty to the property.
Did you even read my first letter to you?! – if you did read it, I can hardly believe that you treated me the way you did – and in case you did not read it, I have enclosed a copy to give you another chance to read it.
I reached out to you in good faith and tried to develop a good relationship with you, and you ignored me and treated me as irrelevant. You left me in the dark for months and months about your plans for the building – about your plans for my HOME. You never offered me a lease. Sometimes it is more about what you don’t do than what you do.
And then I made a mistake by putting cat litter in the toilet (a mistake I deeply regret), and you cowardly sent me a letter through your lawyer kicking me out of my home. You can’t hide behind your lawyer to avoid taking responsibility for sending this letter to me. Even though you “never saw the letter,” it was sent on your behalf, and you are responsible for it.
I was not just a tenant who lived in the building – I was the one who brought the property back to life from a terrible unlivable condition. I am the one who took care of the property WHEN NO ONE ELSE WOULD! I cared deeply about the property and you didn’t care at all about me or all the work that I had put into the property – or at least you sure didn’t show it (actions speak louder than words!). Where is your remorse for your terrible treatment of me? I deserved much better than this from you. Just because you have a legal right to do something does not necessarily mean that taking that action is not morally wrong. If you think that you treated me fairly, then you do not expect nearly enough of yourself in how you treat other people.
So you can stop pretending that you are good people, and you can take your pseudo-niceties and cram them up your a**!
You STOLE my HOME and EVERYTHING I did at the property from me.
GO TO H***!!
Kirk R. Lund