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Sunday, February 23, 2014

WALLINGFORD (CT) HOUSING AUTHORITY BRINGS DOZENS OF DISABLED/ELDERLY TO COURT-OFFERS NO AID!!

Me,
Taking my breathing treatment.
Shame on the Moon?
No Mr. Seger.
Shame on Michael Misiti 
and the
Wallingford Housing Authority

In December 2011 26 year Director Stephen Nere of the Wallingford Housing Authority (WHA), under the bizarre leadership of Board Chairman Michael Misiti, resigned under a cloud with a large deficit looming. Two weeks later his assistant resigned and by February 1st the entire staff of Wallingford civil servants had either resigned or replaced when DeMarco Property Management Corporation of Hartford was contracted to staff the office with a completely new staff under the even more bizarre leadership of Property Manager Maria DeMarco whose frustration with Misiti’s Board was famous. Within 8 months of taking over on February 1st 2012, Ms. DeMarco was quoted as saying to this Board  "I no longer feel we are effective here." 

                         I want to ask WHA Property Manager "Tracy,"
I take my showers sitting down, do you?

She resigned and the firm gave only 60 days notice and no specific reasons for severing their ties with the WHA on January 31st 2013. The Board promised an investigation which never happened. What was the WALLINGFORD Housing Authority Board’s solu
tion to DeMarco’s departure? They entered into an extremely bizarre relationship which gave the Authority to NEW HAVEN’s Housing Authority for a 90 day period, followed by a one year contract extension.
Ring number 1: Stephen Nere
Ring number 2: DeMarco Mismanagement
Ring number 3: New Haven Housing Authority

Have you been able to keep track of who’s in charge? Imagine what it has been like for the vulnerable disabled and elderly tenants the WHA is supposedly watching out for. But it gets worse.
Not quite a Dodge Nitro 4 x 4 "Company Vehicle,"
my personal transit system:
Two canes and a walker. 

The managers brought in from New Haven have launched a bevy of eviction cases against dozens of WALLINGFORD’s own tenants! This correspondent followed a sheriff (Timothy Wall) as he served more than HALF A DOZEN eviction notices at the South Side Terrace elderly and handicapped complex which housed fewer than 35 people at the time. They have consistently refused tenant requests to settle back rent issues out of court in a reasonable manner, being obsessed with the budget deficit at the expense of their responsibility to ensure the safety and care of the severely handicapped and elderly people they have been entrusted with.
My Spine Medicine
No narcotics, thank you,
just pain.
Do you know about pain, 
 WHA Residential Manager 
Tracy Blackwell?"

This correspondent happens to be one of those served an eviction notice by Mr. Wall and the Housing Authority--I don’t know, at this point, whether to call it the WALLINGFORD Housing Authority with NEW HAVEN employees actually staffing the office. I personally approached the office months before being served for overdue rent, and a Resident Service Coordinator named Tracy Blackwell refused to discuss the matter or consider an offer of repayment. Since moving to this complex I have been beset by a series of medical tragedies. I was doing coursework, employed by and receiving scholarships and low interest loans from Hartford Seminary when a malpracticing surgeon in Hartford botched a fusion of my 4th and 5th lumbar disks causing me to ultimately leave my employment and lose the funds mentioned. I fell briefly behind on my rent then, made a payment arrangement with the Coordinator for my complex and paid it ahead of schedule without any sheriffs, courts or the related expenses and stress.
If you look real close you can see your
Unabashed correspondent
WEARING A TIE
for this Hartford Seminary ID.

In January 2013 I underwent the scalpel again, this time for corrective surgery to the botch-job performed a year earlier on my spine, and while in Yale New Haven Hospital my oxygen levels approached dangerous levels, and a series of radiology tests revealed a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. So once again I found myself under general anesthesia, this time for surgery to implant a filter in my heart to prevent the embolism from killing me, followed by blood-thinning treatment for 6 months. It was during this period I once again found myself behind on rent, and approaching WHA Residential "Service" Coordinator Tracy Blackwell regarding the matter. I made further attempts to make payment arrangements by phone throughout the year, but the WHA refused! Sheriff Wall served my eviction notice, which specifically indicates that any funds paid by me could and would be applied to my back rent, not my current rent, and if they did remove me from my home of 3 1/2 years that money would remain with them. They finally referred me to their attorney Mr. Michael Burdo, whom I promptly contacted. Mr. Burdo asked me to provide him with specific numbers and a payment arrangement as soon as possible, so within one business day I called Mr. Burdo back and offered to make a down payment and pay my balance at that time within three months. Attorney Burdo considered this a reasonable suggestion, and said he would present it to the WHA managers from New Haven. When contacted again Mr. Burdo said they had refused my offer, saying that they were going to bring me and other tenants to New Haven’s Housing Court for eviction instead! When I discussed with Mr. Burdo that notice and the fact that paying even my current rent under these circumstances would be foolish, he was nearly speechless and replied simply “I know you have to do what you have to do.” Burdo couldn’t offer a sane reason for the Authority’s refusal of a reasonable payment arrangement at the time.

Since then, one of my neighbors, a woman with severe psychiatric and medical disorders and dependent upon her electric wheelchair for mobility was not only served eviction notices, she was kicked out of the home she lived in for years and now resides in an out of town homeless shelter! This is their intent, apparently with others under their “care.” They employ a social worker part time, and a current full time residential staff of three and a shared director, but they have never once attempted to discuss or, God forbid, help disabled (and elderly) residents figure out how to pay their rent in a timely manner and to make good on any back rent. The only contact I’ve received regarding my debt has been two eviction notices and a statement that includes over $600 in COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY court expenses!
Taking a different treatment:
No tie in this one.

Why does the NEW HAVEN/WALLINGFORD Housing Authority insist on bringing every past-due tenant to court, making a mockery of the New Haven Housing Court, regardless of the amount? My neighbor and friend, also then subject to eviction harassment from the WHA, said he was told that “Over $90,000 in back rent is owed” and they need to balance their deficit, run up under Stephen Nere and DeMarco Mismanagement. They are clearly abusing the eviction process, running up incredible fees and costs--for both tenants and the Authority--as well as clogging up the New Haven Housing Court!

The primary job of the WALLINGFORD Housing Authority is to provide low-income elderly and those suffering from severe disabilities in OUR COMMUNITY WITH SAFE AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Instead what these NEW HAVEN managers are doing is threatening those they are supposed to be helping and stressing out the entire WHA tenant community. Due to my own mobility problems (I use a cane or walker and should use oxygen for longer excursions) I have had difficulty finding transportation to a court date in New Haven at 9am on a Tuesday, so I swallowed my pride and called the WHA and spoke with the Property Manager assigned to my case, Ms. Leasley Negron, who seemed sympathetic to my plight but indicated that Resident "Service" Coordinator and self-described "Court Liason" Tracy Blackwell would be the staffer going to court that day, and she transferred me seemingly assuring that I would be transported. Astoundingly Mr. Blackwell actually had the audacity to say that driving a tenant in “the company vehicle” (a currently listed $21,000 Dodge Ram Nitro 4 x 4) would be a “CONFLICT OF INTEREST!” I have observed this vehicle riding about town carrying only Mr. Blackwell and ask the Court and the WHA if this vehicle is intended ONLY TO TRANSPORT A STAFF OF THREE, or does it ever transport a client. If not then HOW ON EARTH CAN THEY JUSTIFY THE EXPENSE OF THIS 5 FIGURE “COMPANY VEHICLE??”

THE COMPANY VEHICLE
THAT CAN'T GIVE RIDES TO TENANTS.
NICE, HUH?
4 X 4.

When Stephen Nere left his job under a cloud of suspicion in December 2011 he was handed $110,000 for mismanaging the Authority, just short of the total $180,000 publicly stated shortfall at the time. Over $98,000 (I hardly passed algebra, but Nere's cash award along with his cronies' adds up to $208,000 or $28,000 in excess of the entire WHA deficit at that time) was given to the others who resigned after Nere stepped down. The total budget of the WHA was reported at $1.6 million at a Board meeting last year. According to the Meriden Record Journal,  the “WHA will pay New Haven $485,814 annually for services, plus a 10 percent administrative fee.” The math is simple, $585,814 for three staffers from New Haven, one part-time Social Worker who does no effective Social work to help tenants with their finances, and a part time director. WOW!! That is over ONE THIRD OF THE ENTIRE BUDGET they are mismanaging in this way and doing such harm to their tenants! And remember, by the only figures available, tenant rent shortfalls only account for about 20% of the current deficit at WHA! And the WHA/New Haven Housing Authority staff get exclusive use of a lovely ‘company vehicle’ for their staff. OMG!!!
Lots of cash sure changed hands when
Stephen Nere
left the WHA.
Hmmm...
I wonder?

As I appear in court on my own behalf and seek, once again, a reasonable payment arrangement for a past-due rent which has climbed in amount due to huge medical matters and the passage of time since my first offer to Attorney Burdo, I also ask this Court to take a look at the sheer volume of eviction cases the New Haven managers of the WHA have brought and consider to please, at least discuss with them and/or COMPELLING THEM TO SEEK OUT-OF-COURT SOLUTIONS PRIOR TO THEIR POLICY OF AUTOMATICALLY BRINGING ALL TENANTS IN ARREARS TO COURT WITH THE THREAT OF EVICTION! I know that due to this eviction process my own stress is at a near all-time high, and has done severe harm to my chances of recovery from 2 lung collapses, two lung surgeries, and 2 hospitalizations for pneumonia in the last 3 months. I can only presume that it has done the same for all those being dragged unnecessarily into court, especially my poor neighbor with her electric wheelchair! I am happy in my home, love my neighbors, my pet is happy here, and I am beyond willing to pay my balance and desire strongly to continue living here.
My Oxygen Machine.
PLEASE 
no smoking when I'm using it.
TY.
I also ask Wallingford’s Mayor William Dickinson and the Town Council to bring Chairman Misiti and his Board before them to explain their harassment and harm done to WALLINGFORD’s Housing Authority tenants by the NEW HAVEN managers, and to end their contract with them quickly and take responsibility for the WHA by once again hiring WALLINGFORD citizens to run its Housing Authority. Just because Stephen Nere and his cronies posed a problem is no reason to relinquish WALLINGFORD’s control of this essential feature of our town! DeMarco did NOT work, and now this crisis being created by these NEW HAVEN managers proves that outside management is not only a cop-out, but is costing tenants and the Authority large sums of money and the serenity of the WHA tenant community.

Thank you to the Housing Court for its time and please consider my request that the WHA no longer be allowed to abuse it. 

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