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Sometimes I wish we could say things unedited

01/20/2014

Entry 01/20/2014 07:33:00 AM – Mentat 689

What I am doing is what someone should have done a long time ago. Putting you out of my misery.” – Londo Mollari, Babylon 5

Some letters you really wish you could send to people when they deserve it… This is one such example.

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Dear Idiot Landlord,

You sir, are incompetent. Lazy. Delusional. Selfish. A prejudice douchebag. A micromanaging control queen. A hypocrite. The kind of scatter-brain that borders on the schizophrenic. You want to establish with everyone that you’re “good” and that you’re their friend: but that’s just a shill to take advantage of other people’s giving nature so that you can take all that you can from them. When you’ve gotten all you can and people refuse to give you any more of their generosity, you throw various tantrums — “cutting your nose off to spite your face” as we say around here — to shame them for not giving. When they tell you they’ve done enough, you then ignore them, you avoid them, you think they’re trying to take advantage of you by “shafting” you from your deserved monies. And last but not least — the cherry on the top of this putrefying mess — all the right (and wrong) elements for being a slum lord. You disgust me. I find I positively loathe you and at this point in time you had better be praying to whatever god you worship that I have obtained an intermediary to dealing with you or the consequences would have indeed been dire.

It’s 2014 and in the 10 out of the 26 months that I’ve been living here, I’ve had the distinct honor of working for you to learn just how much of a delusional hypocrite you are. You use the phrase, “I’ve been doing this… for more than 30 years…” like a mantra to establish that you have more than the necessary experience, but between the gallery you built in one of the worst sections of town and 7 out of 14 apartments in my neighborhood that I’ve helped you cleaned out from tenants that have moved out — I’ve seen half-assed, shoddy and poor craftsmanship that can only establish one thing: You’ve been doing it wrong the entire time.

Oh don’t get me wrong; the idea of opening a gallery in the former industrial part of the Olneyville neighborhood is certainly an ambitious undertaking. There’s a quite a bit of promise there if the other companies that have bought the buildings near to yours come through with their promise about apartment/condo housing and bistro-style office space. The problem is that your completion of the art gallery there is two to four years too early. As the neighborhood currently stands, it looks like a dump: the kind of place Ma & Pa Art Buyer wouldn’t want to be caught dead in. It’s depressed, has nothing in the way of personal security and comfort and generally gives the feeling to even the casual passers-by the impression not of a fine art gallery but instead of such art work falling off the back of a truck somewhere. The worst sort of elements for a commercial property that relies heavily on the pedestrian traffic of casual passers-by.

Like your Art Mobile — they both sit there unused (and I’m betting un-registered) at the new gallery location. Lofty and ambitious ideas that do nothing because you lack the trust of having good people help you with this venture. What would be called pipe dreams taking up wasted space…

But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Call my bringing this up about the Art Mobile and Gallery as a foreshadowing that comes from casual observation.

You seem to have forgotten though what the priorities are in your life as dictated by your career choice. While it’s true that your family will always and inevitably come first, owning property is next in that list. You have done a poor job in handling problems that come to you about the apartments. Tenants have to chase you down about problems and issues within the apartments. And if their skin color is different than white, you can (and have) taken longer. Take for example the laundry list I had sent to you about my apartment a couple of months ago.

Three doors needed to be sanded down because the 100 or so layers of cheap pain that you had used to make the apartment “pretty” for the next potential tenant made the doors impossible to close. The back entrance door needed to be replaced because two panels had been broken in (one more than a decade ago because of a drug bust, the second where a previous tenant had been evicted from the apartment for excessive disturbances to the peace and known heroin use) and needed two locks instead of one because of a known thief in the house. An electric outlet in the spare room didn’t work. The electric/light switch in the bathroom was becoming useless (turning on when it was off and off when it was on at random times) and most importantly the kitchen sink faucet was useless beyond repair and leaking more and more with each use.

An e-mail was sent to you to fix these issues as you seem to demand instantaneous communication at all hours of the day and night for anything you need to say but can take up to a day for a response to come back from anything sent to you. But I digress. The fact is , it took more than two weeks from the time you needed to “inspect” the apartment for what needed to be done to the time that the actual repairs needed to be done, citing that that the faucet needed to be special ordered (something that should have been kept in storage as this is not the only apartment that has such a facet/sink in the kitchen.

First, you refused to replace the back entrance door outright citing that it was an “unusual size” and it would cost an exorbitant amount to getting it replaced. An issue that’s really a non-issue considering that an incredible amount of the houses in the Rhode Island (hell New England) area are more than a century old and there are plenty of door manufacturers that still produce/store similar doors for these houses at reasonable cost. You even tried to pass off to me that I should go looking for you for such doors which you would replace if I bought. We had agreed upon using a thick piece of plywood to cover the section of the door that had been broken in and left paint for me to paint the walls and door — something I heartily agreed upon given my experience with you and paint and the catastrophic messes you leave when you rush-paint anything. That is to say you leave more paint on everything else than what it was you were originally painting.

While I might not have much experience in this sort of thing having chosen a career in computers and information technology, in the 10 months that I worked for you in basic construction, I learned a few things along the way. Common sense sort of things that one learns on the job. I know for example that if there’s too much paint on a door, you sand the door in order for it to fit. Sometimes you need to sand the frame, but you want to avoid that because it costs more to replace a frame than it is to replace a door. Still though if one cannot get a power sander, or even a hand sander, one can use a wood plane to do the job. Did you do this? No.

What you did instead was use a wood chisel on the door frame of one door, and a straight-razor tool (used for scraping) on the others damaging the grain of the wood in the process.

Oh it gets better too. You short out the power in the apartment without warning to the tenant known for running a Server level PC, then leave the power off for hours waiting for a qualified electrician to stop by and fix the plug/switch combination in the bathroom because you were unfamiliar with wiring done when you took the property years prior. A job I will add that was completed in less than 10 minutes by a qualified electrician.

And the coup de grâce was the faucet. Even after having to come and go for hours trying to get the proper equipment to mount the faucet to the sink, one of the connectors was broken in the process (citing poor craftsmanship of the part) and without the use of an incredible amount of plumbing (AKA Teflon) tape — it would’ve been left leaking worse than the original faucet. As it stands it still leaks, but though sediment and calcification it’s less than a ½ teaspoon a day.

A job that might have taken 2, maybe 2½ hours if done by professionals took more than 8 hours by you. During that time, your lazy ass tried to bribe me into doing the work you should have done properly (and efficiently) the first time through. And to make matters worse, I had other things to do with my time and had to still chase you for two of the things on the laundry list (insulation on the back entrance door, and the electrical outlet in the spare room.

The example that I give is considered a “fast” response. If the tenant’s skin was anything other than… pink… he would take longer to respond. In one instance, days to a week before he would contact the tenant. I had been there when he had refused to accept calls from one of the tenants (the very one with a severe cockroach infestation) allowing it to go to voicemail and making excuses to me saying, “that’s his way of reminding me I need to go to his apartment.”

Then there was the problem with cockroaches and mice in the apartment building. While I would like to applaud you for the almost timely response you took to handling the problem November of 2013, this issue has been ongoing for the entire time I had been living here. In fact, it was brought to my attention by the Hispanic family that had 3 of the 6 apartments in this building. An issue that they brought up to you for months, eventually getting tired of the non-activity and moving out somewhere else. In fact, if looked at from an outsider’s point of view, the only difference between the issues 2 years ago and now was 1. You had to clean the apartment that was the most heavily infested (it would never sell if any cockroaches ran across the floor), and 2. the majority of the house at the time are RISD alums — a college you get your interns from.

This list goes on, with each and every tenant getting fed up with the sloth and non-activity of maintaining the property and moving elsewhere. And yet each and every time they moved out — they left not only a hell of a mess, but “surprises” as well. Like the tenant that stained the bathtub with oil-based paint that had set and was impossible to remove even with hours of thinner soaking in it. Like the same tenant leaving you with a $3,000 water bill (something you stated had something to do with growing marijuana in the house), Like the other tenant that stuffed handi-wipes down the toilet to the point that the only way to fix that was to rooter the sewer system. Like the cockroach problem that you had to get a monthly exterminator contract for.

You have made excuses for all this blaming it on the horrible attitude of these tenants, never once admitting or even contemplating, these are the actions of people tired of being shit upon. By society and most importantly by you through your inactivity, poor experience and ignorance. Problems that could have been easily avoided using a simple matter of policing the area on a regular basis. Something that can be done by simply doing your job on the property that’s yours to do: weekly clean up of the property of refuse and leaves. Shoveling when needed. Hell even stopping by routinely after a complaint and ensuring the complaint is taken care of. It’s not as though you can’t do this. Your Galleries are just a stone’s throw from the three buildings in the neighborhood.

Yes, let me make something clear here — it’s your responsibility to ensure the sidewalks, parking lot, even walkways are clear on these properties — not the tenants. You can either do it yourself, use your eligible to drive sons to do it, or some third party with a plow and snow-blower (it’ll be cheaper and more efficient than just shoveling). And don’t throw a fit when your tenants refuse to do it. It’s not their property, they’re not responsible for and lawsuits that might occur… And if they feel like being generous about it — you are still responsible to ensuring the shoveling for the property was done correctly according to RI law, not the tenants.

The thing is, out of the 26 months that I’ve been here, I’ve seen next to nothing of that rent money put back into the properties you manage in this neighborhood. You have two apartments on the first floor of one building and the first, second and third floor of the second that are missing storm windows for the last two winters. The one apartment building that seems to be in somewhat decent is — not coincidentally — the one that you use for materials storage, which also used to be the one you had an office in for years that is now the apartment of a Providence Police Detective.

All it takes is someone with a high school education to figure out that if rent is $600 a month for 14 apartments for 1 years, you’re looking at more than $100,000 ($100,800.00 actually) gross income. And rest assured I know, you charge $100 – 200 more a month for the other apartments to cover the costs of an apartment filled with artwork that looks more like a hoarders nest than a storage area. You blurt this out to prove to me by charging what you charge for my apartment, you’re a “good and giving” man. Add in the factors of how little you put for costs for renovating/cleaning up the apartments when the previous tenants move out of the apartment, it doesn’t take a detective the likes of Sherlock Holmes to figure out — barring personal living expenses for the litter of kids you spawned into this world — where the majority of that money’s been funneled: the art galleries and art mobile sitting there doing little.

No let me take one thing back as I sit here and wrap this up. The art gallery does one thing for you actually: it creates the illusion that you’re a giving person to the art community by promoting local artists. A philanthropist to the Rhode Island Art Community for more than a decade. It makes me wonder what that very community would think of you if they found out how much of a slum lord you are, how you use people and pay them under the table (and without tax record, I strongly suspect) for either less than their worth and in one case even below minimum wage. How you use people ’til they can’t take you any more — hell even can’t stand your guts at all. And when they give up, how you slander them for their disgust in you and your “sparkling” personality.

Friends and family keep telling me, “let it go…”, “move out and move on…” But the thing is, I feel like this has been going on for a long time. And if I were to do like so many others before this, when will it end? How many more people are you going to use before they either take you to court or even beat the living shit out of you for being such a dreg. A douche bag.

If I had my way, I would personally find a bit of enjoyment punching your teeth so far down your throat, you’d be biting your asshole while you were taking a shit. But as it stands, as we are supposed to be part of a civilized society the only restitution I have is to not pay you until the current problems have been properly handled, or take you to court for your gross negligence in maintaining a safe (not to mention clean and efficient) living environment. A clean community that tenants and residents can take a certain amount of pride for living in. And pray I don’t go back to my old ways and becoming an activist… that’s when it’ll get truly ugly.

In Disgust,

Michael Andrew Baldelli

P.S. While three of your residents at this property are non-drivers (myself one of them) does not mean we’re second class citizens. This does not automatically give you carte blanche permission to be parking your expired/no license plate piece of shit vehicles here, nor leaving a tenant’s junked car sitting there for months (and in their previous location years) at a time un-monitored, un-maintained and unkempt. I know for a fact that two of these three tenants have people that come to visit them routinely, and given the dangers of parking on the road can get rather difficult between the construction and the speeding tow trucks for the junkyard at the end of the road… Well, let’s just say we pay rent and we see signs in the parking lot these spaces are assigned to the apartments in question. Just because this area can be considered “private property” does not mean they’re immune from other laws about what looks like “abandoned vehicles”.  Especially when such toxic chemicals such as gasoline and oil (not to mention steering fluids) leak into the water table (remember – there’s a drainage gutter that leads directly to the Woonasquatucket River which is considered EPA protected)

You once suggested to a tenant that he sell his other broken down vehicle for money (to pay off an outstanding debt). I strongly suggest you heed your own advice in this.

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