Why Would A Person Continue To Live In A Slum-house?

           Hmmm …

This question is one which many people will ask after reading these posts. I can say that, in part, it is something akin to ‘Stockholm Syndrome’. A syndrome in which hostages and kidnap victims become loyal to their kidnapper.The first answer is this: Because the house was in such bad shape when we moved in, each and every improvement that we did, made it better than it was. In that way, I suppose we convinced ourselves that since it was better, it was growing to being okay. I know we left it better than we found it! *

The second answer is that it was only upon writing the previous blog, and seeing the photos, (there are more), in conjunction with obtaining decent housing, that I honestly did not realize just how bad it was. And, yes, to the point that I did shed some tears regarding that condition, and how they treated me, but also tears as to how Pima County Justice Court and Pima County Superior Court responded to me.

There is also the fact that we were desperate, having been illegally evicted at a prior location, (again via the corrupt Pima County Justice Court), even though my rent was paid at the court. My mother was in rehab at the time, and it was just too much. They saw us coming.  I didn’t see the house prior to moving in, but my son did, and he just wanted a roof over our head. My heart sank when I first saw it. To be perfectly honest, it is the worst place I have ever lived in, including two other states! And finding another place after being evicted, (albeit illegally), would be difficult. So we stayed.

I do not know if, in my heart of hearts, I can ever forgive them, including the court system which took their side, via ignoring the counterclaim which we filed. The Judge Pro Tem, Thomas Benavidez and Blythe Edmondson should both be ashamed of themselves, but I doubt that they are. Xavier Verdugo should be ashamed for inserting himself in such a way without looking at the facts and following protocol and civil procedures. Lisa Royal, (Court Administrator), should be ashamed for not taking proactive action to make certain that the rules of civil procedure are precisely followed. Adherence to the rules is imperative! Judge Metcalf, Pima County Superior Court judge should also be ashamed for allowing a slumlord to get away with retaliation and lying under oath, and for allowing an attorney to get away with making false pleadings. The ball was in his court to make certain that Pima County Justice Court adhered to the rules of court, and make certain that the truth and fairness ultimately prevailed. He didn’t. He did not even try. As an American citizen, that stung, and it also hurt.

The other tears were for my mother, as the shady slumlords interfered with my grieving period, so that interrupted process rose to the surface, and I cried again after writing the previous blog. I was not ready to go through all of her things. When she passed away, we had to get her items out of the townhouse she was renting, and even though we got rid of an enormous amount of items via donations, the empty carport and shed were soon filled with her items. We both just shut down after the initial shock of losing her. She was 97 years old and kept everything, including items that belonged to her 5 siblings who preceded her in death. So this process forced me to deal with something which I was not emotionally prepared to do.  It is no wonder that I am emotionally and physically exhausted, and missing my mother even more.

         Grief

The Judge Pro Tem, Thomas Benavidez, did not even seem care that, on the day of trial, I was suffering with severe bronchitis and sinusitis! I provided him with the medical statement showing that I was seriously ill, and initially, he did not even want to accept it from me. The video of the courtroom hearing shows that. He didn’t care. Any person with one iota of compassion would have continued the hearing for that reason alone. I had just sought medical treatment over the weekend. He should have known that a person who is ill and taking medication was not fit to present a case, and in fact,I  had not even been able to adequately prepare for the hearing. But again, his actions gave the impression that he didn’t care and that he only cared about the slumlords and their attorney.

And, yes I moved, but it was out of fear, and knowledge that, despite being wrong, they would more likely than not, despite the rent being paid, pull another ‘surprise’ and send the constable to ‘kick me to the curb’ rent paid or not, retaliation or not. All they seemed to care about was the slumlords. So I looked for another place, and only out of fear. Even while moving, having paid rent at my new home, that fear remained, which I expressed to all of the friends and neighbors who helped me move. But even after I had moved, the attorney had submitted a document which alleged that I was only appealing in order to stay within the residence – I was either already gone or packing to leave. I continued and continue to fight what has been an injustice. Why? Because as an American citizen, it is my right and my civic duty to do so.

So as they celebrate the false and fabricated victory, I cannot help but wonder if they will find peace knowing that they have hurt someone and robbed them of their constitutional rights. Knowing that they were complicit in assisting a slumlord to retaliate against a tenant. Knowing that they were complicit in unjustifiably wrecking havoc into someone’s life. If they do have inner peace, then, I am justified in believing that they lack integrity, empathy, compassion, and most of all, honesty. So there’s that…

(*Documented in a 2011 pleading in answer to their first attempt to evict me in 2011 … which they lost by the way.)

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Pima County Justice Court: Is It Just A Rubber-Stamp-Landlord-Court?

          slumlord ‘sick’ house

It is shameful that the court system in Tucson, Arizona seems to engage in cronyism. All a slumlord has to do is get an attorney who is well-connected and liked, and they have won before they have even begun.  It’s not always that way, but with the departure of Justice of the Peace Peyton, Pima County Justice Court has gone to hell in a hand-basket.

It appears also, that, there are some clerks who steer cases to specific judges so that the corrupt connection remains intact.  And, even though a person has the right to a change of judge, as a matter of right, somehow, that Judge will not relinquish the case.  That is my opinion as to Justice of the Peace Bacal. She is still ruling on the case, months after there were several specific requests to change from her to another judge, as a matter of right.

You see, I did nothing wrong. The landlord did. I took care of the property as best I could when considering my limited income. And even though I am not a professional painter, I painted every other year… they never painted inside, not even prior to our moving in. They only painted outside in the ninth year of our living there, and that was only to hide the wood-rot.  It was when my son complained about air conditioning not working, and I refused to allow the matriarch to bring an unknown stranger into my home, without the proper notice which is required by the Arizona Landlord Act, that they decided that they wanted us to move out.  This was all within a six months period of time.

To add insult to injury, the matriarch, Rose Collins, had the nerve to call me on the evening of Thanksgiving, as if I had nothing else to do, saying she would be over in the morning. (The law says 48 hours advance notice is required.) It was a bittersweet Thanksgiving for me, because it was my first Thanksgiving without my mother who had passed away the year before. Rose Collins also routinely harassed me about taking care of the weeds. (Yet, her son swore to the Arizona Attorney General, in writing, that they never made that a requirement of the tenancy. But, that office did not know what to do when I presented them with a notice signed by their ‘fake’ bookkeeper threatening to charge us for having it done if we did not take care of it. Yes, the notice was prepared by Marianne Powell, but she signed it as the fake bookkeeper.)

When I requested that the routine pre-winter heater cleaning take place, Rose Collins refused to have it done. This was indeed decreased services, but Judge Pro Tem Benavidez refused to rule upon my counterclaim during the hearing, and the law clerk for Judge Metcalf asserted that there were no decreased services, even though the attorney never denied that there were decreased services.  Not only that, the landlords refused to provide us with a filter as they had done every fall. And, even though rent was still being paid to the court, and I sent their attorney an email requesting a filter for the heater, they never provided one again. So, the filter from 2016 was the last one to be provided, and when I moved in fall/winter 2018, they had still not provided one. The photos below show not only the state of the filter, but also the mold that was present in the space where the filter was housed. (They were told about the mold in 2011!  I was diagnosed with COPD in the interim period.)

This is the door behind which is the filter in the hallway.

 

filter ‘closet’

This is the condition of the filter as of November, 2018 as a result of the slumlord’s refusal to provide a new filter, and the alleged failure of their attorney to instruct them to do so.

And this is the ceiling of the  filter closet, where the mold is located.

And this is the screen to the backdoor which I purchased because the landlord refused to provide me with one. This was the condition of it because I could not afford to purchase a new one.

Yet, Pima County Consolidated Justice Court opted to take their side in ways which went beyond the normal procedure.  They were hell-bent  on making certain that these ‘upstanding’ landlords, who did not give a damn about their property, had it returned to them, because they had to be right because their attorney said they were.  The Judge Pro Tem, Thomas Benavidez, was in such a hurry to grant them everything, that he did not even prepare the required minute entries, (causing a greater problem later on), and, had he bothered to delve into the issues raised within our counterclaim, he could have obtained testimony as to this. All he did was ask the attorney, Blythe Edmondson, if she replied. She said ‘no’ in way which I perceived to be cocky and arrogant, as if she already knew that she would not need to do so. So he just moved on, rushing us to finish with presenting our case.

And, it remains my opinion, that, after that, parties within the clerk’s office, sided with the landlord and the landlord’s attorney, ignoring policy and protocols as defined within the Arizona Rules of Civil Procedure, and at times, as I said to D. Wade and Xavier Verdugo, it appeared to me that they were making things up as we moved along. Mr. Verdugo, (Civil supervisor), seemed to believe that his opinion mattered when it came to my counterclaim, and other issues, to the point that he had initially refused to send the default judgment to a judge because ‘he‘ didn’t “see service”. Even though the attorney was served twice!  And oddly enough, he takes it to a judge who parrots exactly what Mr. Verdugo said …. (hmmmm). The attorney and her cohorts throughout this process have lied and stated that Benavidez ruled upon the counterclaim. He did not, and I have recordings of the hearing to prove it.  But for some reasons, the slumlords had more credibility than we did.

This was not how it is supposed to happen in any court. They are not supposed to care who wins. They are supposed to be impartial.  And in light of all of the above, clearly there has not been any fairness or impartiality.

My unbelievable life renting from a slumlord in Tucson Arizona; Pima County Justice Court supports them

slumlord 2

First of all, one must know the definition of a slumlord. A slumlord is an unscrupulous landlord who milks a property without concern for tenants. Slumlords overcharge for property that is kept in poor repair and allowed to deteriorate.

Secondly, a slumlord is easy to get along with, until you complain about a condition which needs repair.

Thirdly, a slumlord is usually represented by an attorney who allows and encourages their client to lie under oath and does not advise their client to do the right thing.

Lastly, a slumlord court is one in which a judge refuses to protect the tenant in favor of that landlord, despite proof that the landlord has violated the statutes. With his or her loyalty being towards the attorney who is representing them.

I have just had to deal with this in Pima County Consolidated Justice Court … for the third time. And if you are a person of color, you can forget all about justice. But on this, the third time, I have decided to speak out, and name names.

I have moved away, but I continuing to fight the bogus judgment and attorney’s fees for the sake of my rental credit history and my credit history. I filed an appeal, and unlike before, this time the judge refused to allow oral arguments, and made a rapid ruling, affirming the actions of the slumlord, the attorney, and Pima County Consolidated Justice Court.

I lived at 2018 North Tucker Drive. How did I come to live there? Ten years ago, I got evicted, even though my rent was paid to the court. The Constable at the time, Archibald Cox, called me on the telephone and told me that I had to get out or he would physically remove me. I went to the courthouse, and appeared before Judge Peyton. However, he did not believe me, and the last words he ever said to me were: “The constable wouldn’t do that.” And why not? Because my rent was paid and there was no order signed for him to do so.  And yet, on that Monday January 28, 2008 morning, Cox appeared with the property manager, and their attorney and did just that. I was in shock, and my son who had just moved in with me, was also shocked, but he, much less than myself. We had nowhere to go and no money, because my rent for the month had already been spent…on rent! My son was working, and he paid for movers and everything, so we were practically moved out by the time he arrived, but I still had items in there. I sat in front of the bus stop with some belongings, waiting for a taxi to take some items to my mother’s house, and I cried. All of the neighbors, (the drug addicts and prostitutes, were laughing at me. But my son using a taxi, rode around a found the place on Tucker, the same day. The company name is RC&C Limited Partnership. The owners are : Rose Collins, Marianne Powell, and Andrea (Andy) Collins, (a male).

We signed a lease, and because we were desperate, agreed to take care of the weeds, etc. I still had not seen the place. The Collins family saw us coming, and had addendum after addendum, and we agreed to it. We even agreed to pay the water, and I personally changed the name from Rose Collins, the matriarch, to our name.  (But, Andrea Collins later lied under oath, to the Arizona Attorney General and said that they never required us to do either thing. But The AZ attorney general didn’t care that he lied to them.)

When I finally saw the place, my heart sank. And I spent the majority of the first night running from sewer roaches. The Collins family NEVER did anything about the cockroaches … EVER. The carpet had been in there for at least forty years, and they did not paint or clean it at all. So, in the ensuing years, I spent a small fortune on bug spray and painted every room every two years. They NEVER painted. They NEVER did anything. i had carpet professionally installed in my son’s bedroom, and purchased carpet for the rest of the house in order to cove the old stained carpet that was there when we arrived. I remember when the lock broke due to age, and Andrea (Andy) said that they were not going to replace it! I told him that there would just be a hole then, because I wasn’t going to replace it. He ultimately was told by his mother to purchase it, and I told them that I would install it. Which I did. Then there was the time when the old toilet seat broke, and I purchased one. But the daughter, Marianne Powell, said that they did not reimburse for toilet seats, and that it was my responsibility. I even painted the front porch. There was never central air conditioning, just a window unit in each room. So I learned to use fans to relay the air from each of the bedrooms to the rest of the house.

The bathtub faucet did not work, and I told them about it several times, and even put it in an answer to their lawsuit, (which I won), but they never fixed it. I wrapped it in duck tape to stabilize it. But Andy told the Arizona Attorney General that I was making it up. I even installed the shower head. And when they decided to paint the facial over the porch, I was able to see the rotting wood, which explained the condensation coming through the ceiling.

The refrigerator which was in the house when we arrived was a piece of junk that stopped working about two months after we moved in. So, we would buy other used ones, and Marianne told me to put the outer one out to the curb. They had promised us a washing machine that was already there, but two days after we moved in, Andy came and got it.  Ultimately, a neighbor gave us one, which we used until we moved.

My son had been my mother’s caregiver for five years, and after she passed away, he was trying to make his room more livable. There was an electric heater in the wood ceiling. My son paid an electrician to come and fix it, but the electrician said that it was not up to code and he could not repair it as it was a fire hazard. See Photo. You can see where it was in the photo. So he changed so that it would be a light fixture, and he also fixed the other three outlets in the room that did not work.

We would use one of the long orange extension cords from the kitchen to his room. He also paid to have a professional carpenter to fix the lock on the side gate, and a neighbor who is a professional contractor, fixed the door on the shed for us so that we could lock it, as it had all of my mother’s belongings in there and other valuables as well as heirlooms.

Then, after my mother passed away, an agency agreed to help us pay a very large portion of the rent. But first, there had to be an inspection. Marrianne agreed to have all of the repairs done. Including moving the window unit out of the window, since that too was a fire hazard. But after moving it, the old one, (which was about five years old), just stopped working. (Prior to my son complaining about the air conditioner, their maintenance man did a great job on replacing the air conditioner for my room. see photo. 100_1509 But he did a deliberately awful job on the one for my son’s room after he complained about no air conditioning. See photo) 100_1449

Now, mind you, this was September, 2017, still very hot in Tucson, so, for the first time ever, my son complained, and I agreed he should. Andy didn’t like that, and he admitted to the AZ attorney general that this was the reason they wanted us to move! And Rose Collins refused to put a screen on the window! (See photo)100_1453

And he admitted it in writing! Judge Pro Tem (not a real elected judge), Benzvidez refused to admit it into court, then it mysteriously disappeared and was not with the other exhibits. Hmmmm. But I have copies.

So, in June 2018, Andy changed the account so we could not pay our rent. I had it taken via courier. He held onto it for most of the month, then returned it. I suppose that was after he met with the attorney, Blythe Edmondson.  So for ten years, this was my life. Clearly, they meet the definition of slum lords, and this is not even all of it. There is so much more. Yet the properties for their White students are in great shape, and they even pull the weeds and pay water for all of their other properties. They got away with it for ten years! Then one complaint and they turned on us. smh

(Next blog: Pima County Consolidated Justice Court proceedings.)