Part 8 – May 1, 2017-May 14, 2017

On May 1, 2017 Agostino arrived (on time) to collect the rent.

2017-05-01 14 06 – rent payment

I don’t know the identity of the woman accompanying Agostino, and haven’t seen her around the building since. It later became obvious that Agostino is every bit as sleazy as his brother, but he’s a lot easier to deal with. There was no sign of Richard Pollington when Agostino collected the rent, so we were hopeful that our landlords had received the message that we did not wish to deal with Richard Pollington.

Since the deadline on the compliance order to repair the windows (written on Jan 5, 2017) was April 30, 2017 and the windows were not repaired, we left a message for Donna May Lord (the Property Standards officer who had written the compliance order) on May 1, 2017. Ms Lord did not respond to the voicemail we left.

The next merit hearing at the LTB was scheduled for May 9, 2017. In the week before the hearing, there were several incidents involving Richard Pollington.

On May 3, 2017 I was greeted by Richard Pollington in the front hall of the building with “Fucking cunt. Leave me out of your shit. Why don’t you move out, asshole?” I did not respond. I also left another message for Donna May Lord to get in touch with either of us. She did not respond to the voicemail.

On May 4, 2017 Richard Pollington pushed his way past me in the front foyer, saying “Get out of the way. Fucking fag cunt.” I did not respond, not least because I really wasn’t certain what a “fag cunt” is.

On May 5, 2017 I left another message for Donna May Lord. She did not respond. I also called and left a message with our Ward Councillor, Jason Farr.

On May 6, 2017 Richard Pollington spit in my direction as I was climbing the back stairs to my unit and screamed at me “Stay the fuck away from my door, you fucking fag. We don’t want you here. Fucking cocksucker.” (It is necessary to walk past his side door to reach the stairs to my back door). A moment later I heard a thud as a small rock hit the side of the building about 3 meters from where I was standing. I looked over and saw Larry Norman throwing another rock, which hit even further from me than the first one. I went inside and called Agostino to complain. Agostino told me that he would inform Richard that we could use the common areas of the building.

There was also loud banging at irregular hours coming from Pollington’s unit at all hours of the day or night. On May 8, 2017 Pollington again spit on the ground beside my feet as I was entering the building.

We went to the hearing on May 9, 2017. Cora Williams showed up, and sat with, John. Before the hearing started, she asked for the member’s attention and stated that she hadn’t been paid her witness fee. I hadn’t had a chance to pay her. The member told us to pay the witness, then noticed that there was another merits hearing involving the same people on May 11, 2017 and launched into a long, hard selling speech on the virtues of mediation. We agreed, since he had already stated that we would not be having a hearing that day.

The mediation session was short. It began with the mediator asking my roomate for her version of events. It took John less than three minutes to hijack the conversation and antagonize my roomate. When John made a statement that was a provable lie (that he hadn’t mentioned my roomate’s underwear on February 22, 2017), my roomate offered to play the recording of the event. The mediator said “We aren’t here to consider evidence”. After a few more minutes of increasingly antagonistic falsehoods from John, we got up and left in the middle of one of his speeches. Mediation (or negotiation of any kind) with a sociopath is pointless, especially one who realizes he can lie unchallenged.

Back in the hearing room, the member had become aware that there was another merits hearing involving the same people in two days. He adjourned the T2 application (SOT-80393-17) until May 11, 2017.

On the way put of the building, John spit on the ground just behind me. Now I know where Richard Pollington learned his manners.

Nothing was resolved. However, it only used up 10 minutes of hearing time, and less than a half hour of a mediator’s time.

That puts the tally so far at 3 hearings, using 2 hours 40 minutes of a member’s time, and 30 minutes of a mediator’s time.

On May 10, 2017 I dropped off a flash drive containing the latest videos and audio recordings to Vidy Yahkni, John’s paralegal, as disclosure for the T2 application to be heard the next day. I dropped it off at her (now former) office at 414 King Street East and asked for (and received) a receipt for the flash drive.

John did not enter the apartment on May 10, 2017, nor was an Notice of Entry served for May 10, 2017. I mention this because John later claims he was refused entry on May 10, 2017 (which seems to be a confusion of dates on his part; the events he described appear to be a distorted account of the events that took place on May 15, 2017).

On May 11, 2017 we went to the merits hearing to have our T6 and T2 application heard. Or so we thought.

Before the hearing, a young woman who identified herself as an LTB staff member spoke to me about the “benefits of mediation”. My roomate wasn’t around and she wouldn’t shut up long enough for me to tell her that I wanted my roomate there for any discussion. LTB staff frequently talk over any self-represented litigant. They have more respect for licensed paralegals, and seem to at least hear what they have to say before answering. After my third attempt to get a word in edgewise, I walked away while she was still talking. Someone should explain to her that if you want to sell someone on something, you should actually listen to and answer their objections.

While waiting to speak with tenant duty council, John walked by me in the hallway and threw a crumpled up piece of paper at me. It bounced off my chest, and I ignored it. In many ways, dealing with John Cerino is like babysitting a bratty three year old.

Before the hearing went on the record, Member Sean Henry made a long (approx 15 minutes) speech extolling the virtues of mediation which, it seemed to me, was directed at us. He singled out my roomate, and was told four times (by my mental count) no. Then he turned on the recorder, and tried again.

{insert hearing recording}

As the day dragged on, we were pressured (which bordered on coercion) to accept mediation. After inquiring if mediation could be conducted with only John’s representative present (not John) we were told that could be done, so we agreed to mediation.

Around 3:30. Ms Rossiter, the LTB mediator (and the same one who had conducted our Case Management Hearing) informed us that a family member had been hospitalized, and asked if we would agree to come back another day. The mediation was scheduled for May 19, 2017.

We had a witness who waited in the lobby of the hearing room (a professional HVAC technician) for the whole day on May 9 and May 11. His time was entirely wasted by this excercise.

Shortly after arriving home. my roomate received a call from Donna May Lord, the Property Standards officer who had “investigated” our original complaint and written compliance orders for the window repairs (among other things).

During the call, Ms Lord told my roomate that she would be accompanying John on his next entry, to “make sure that he gets in”. When my roomate tried to explain to her that May 19 would not be a good day, Ms Lord continued to talk over my roomate. The conversation got a bit heated (Property Standards officers are routinely rude and condescending towards tenants and my roomate does not respond well to that. Neither do I.) When my roomate asked what she should do when John became abusive, she was advised to leave the room.

Ms Lord is apparently quite comfortable with John Cerino’s behaviour towards tenants, as long as it means she can close her file.

But I didn’t agree. I contacted the Hamilton Community Legal Aid Clinic, and received a call back from a lawyer. One of the questions I asked was whether a Municipal Law Enforcement Officer would be tasked with enforcing a landlord’s entry. (I didn’t know much about municipal law). He said he didn’t know, but it seemed reasonable.

That upset me, for a lot of reasons. Neither of us wanted John in our home again. His behavior was intolerable, and neither of us believed we had an obligation to tolerate a bully in our home, even if he did own the building. John, by his words and actions, had made it clear that he was unable or unwilling to control his antagonistic behavior.

After some back and forth between Jason Farr’s office (and I’ll fill in the details of that fiasco later; Mr Farr’s staff aren’t competent to run a telephone booth), I obtained the name of Ms Lord’s supervisor, Lynne Shewfelt, {NTS: insert background material on Shewfelt} who had been hired by the City of Hamilton in 2010 as part of their effort to enhance enforcement of Property Standards bylaws. Another of the many ironies in this whole circus is that Ms Shewfelt’s approach to enforcing the Property Standards bylaws in Hamilton is very much like that of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth approach to documenting past events.

On May 12, 2017 I left a message on her voicemail. {insert 2017-05-12_11_09_9055462424_Out – message left for lynne shewfelt}

and followed up 90 minutes later with an email:

from: Peter Bosch
date: Fri, May 12, 2017 at 12:38 PM
subject: Complaint about By-Law Enforcement Officer Donna May Lord

Ms Shewfelt;

My roomate (XXXXXX) and I are tenants at 99 East Ave S, Hamilton. {my roomate} is an ex-superintendent with 15 years experience and I am a former landlord.

On January 5, 2017 Ms Lord issued two work orders for our landlord, John Cerino (17-208573 00 PS and 17-100489 00 PS). Ms Lord was somewhat abrubt and dismissive of {my roomate’s} complaints when she arrived for the inspection on Jan 4, and did not issue a work order for what, in our opinion, are shortfalls in property standards (specifically, the kitchen cabinetry, and some of the doors in the building).

On February 22, 2017, Mr Cerino bullied his way into our apartment without proper notice, and was verbally abusive towards {my roomate}, insulting her, making mocking noises, telling her to leave the room, swearing at her and his workers, speaking of {my roomate} in the third person and demanding access to the bedrooms to take photographs even after {my roomate} told him there were personal items out in the bedrooms and she would need time to put them away. As a result of Mr Cerino’s actions that day and on previous occasions, he was informed by letter that he would be denied access to the apartment in the future. Most of Mr Cerino’s behaviour has been recorded on video and audio recordings. There is no doubt that it is abuse.

Mr Cerino has a co-landlord, his brother Agostino, who Mr Cerino insists is a landlord. Agostino has told us that he is a part owner in the bulding, and that he (Agostino) is John’s partner, and has been all his life, although not on title to the building. Agostino is welcome in our unit to do repairs.

Yesterday. Ms Lord contacted {my roomate}, and informed her that there would be a by-law inspection on Monday, and that Mr Cerino (John) would be there. When asked what {my roomate} should do if Mr Cerino became abusive, Ms Lord advised Ms Ball to “Leave the room”.

While I have not yet been able to get legal advice on this point, I am quite certain that a tenant has the right to remove a landlord who has become verbally abusive in their own home.

Moreover, Ms Lord would not let {my roomate} speak during parts of the conversation, and it took {my roomate} three attempts to communicate to Ms Lord that Friday, May 11 2017 would not be a good day for repairs and why. Ms Lord kept talking over her.

Ms Lord has not communicated with us (the tenants) on this matter, except for a pone call I made to her in April in regards to this complaint, and another I filed online. At that time Ms Lord informed me there would be no action on the second complaint (despite some of the points I complained about being clearly visible from the sidewalk) and was not interested in our concerns. She has not contacted us in regards to the repairs, or both missed deadlines (one work order was completed a month late, the other has barely been started and was to be completed by April 30).

As Ms Lord is aware (having been told by both { my roomate } and myself), {my roomate} suffers from PTSD {redacted}. Ms Lord’s discourtesy to her on the phone mimicked (inadvertantly, we’re certain)
the pattern of abuse {my roomate} suffered as a child.

Moreover, Ms Lord appears to have swallowed Mr Cerino’s story whole, without so much as asking our side. Mr Cerino has stated to {my roomate} that his workers and he are being harassed by us and denied access to the unit. That is not true.

Lastly, Ms Lord’s statement that she would be along to “make sure he got in” (Meaning John Cerino”) is a bit puzzling to me. It seems to me that refusing access to a landlord (even with proper notice) is properly an LTB matter, not bylaw enforcement.

We have no wish to escalate this situation further. Please call me at your earliest convenience to discuss the matter.

A few minutes later, she called:

But, she hadn’t read the email yet. So she said she’d call back.

At 13:03, (about 20 minutes later) she did call back.

2017-05-12-1312 – 19055462424_In-conversation shewfelt and Bosch-edited for posting

A few points to note about this conversation:

Around 8:35 in the conversation, she asks me if she can call back, and the conversation ends after she makes a few promises (which were broken). Her word isn’t good for much. She never called back, or answered my email. The next contact either of us had with Ms Shewfelt was on Monday, May 15 when she came to our door in the company of Donna May Lord.

Around 11:20 on May 13, 2017 a Notice of Entry was delivered by sliding it under the front door of our unit.

To say this notice is high handed would be understating the matter. There are also a few subtle mindfucks in this Notice, directed at us. More on that later (it’s an example of gaslighting behavior). {fill in story of triangulation example 4}

Agostino had been writing the notices of entry up until this point, and I had asked previously if his intervals were intervals for entry (ie: the period of time they would be in our unit) or windows for time of entry (ie: an interval during which they would arrive). Agostino hadn’t given me an answer. John was doing the same thing here. The wording suggests it is an interval for entry for May 15 (“we will be there at 1130 am to 430 pm on Monday May 15 2017″), meaning the time of entry is 11:30. The wording also suggests it is an interval for entry on May 16 and 17 (“We will also be there on Tuesday and Wednesday May 16 and 17 from 9am till 4pm.) If it is an window for time of entry, the interval is 7 hours long for May 16 and 17 and the Notice is invalid for those dates (NTS: Expand on this for the reader’s benefit). If it is an interval for entry, John was more than two hours late on both days (May 16 and 17).

The LTB guidelines state that a landlord’s Notice of Entry should be as specific as possible about time of entry. There’s some case law on the subject too (NTS: Expand on this in detail). I don’t think this Notice is valid. I’ll update this post when I get a ruling by an LTB member on this point).

My roomate got in touch with me, so I asked her to email a photo of the notice, which she did. I tried calling John’s paralegal, and was told to call back on Monday morning (a bit late to voice my objections to this notice).

{insert 2017-05-13 13 37_9055227877_Out_Conversation – Yahkni, Bosch}

I still hadn’t heard back from Lynne Shewfelt, despite her promise to call back. So, I emailed John’s paralegal (not that I expected an answer, but I did want to document my objections):

And I sent another email to lynne shewfelt.

from: Peter Bosch
date: Sat, May 13, 2017 at 3:02 PM
subject: Re: Complaint about By-Law Enforcement Officer Donna May Lord

Ms Shewfelt;

In regards to our telephone conversations and email yesterday, there are two corrections that should be made.

1) The line ” it took {my roomate} three attempts to communicate to Ms Lord that Friday, May 11 2017″ should have read ” it took {my roomate} three attempts to communicate to Ms Lord that Friday, May 19, 2017)”.
2) On review of my records, I discovered that I was mistaken when I informed you that both {my roomate} and myself had informed Ms Lord that {my roomate} suffers from PTSD. {my roomate} had not informed Ms Lord of her health issues, and when I did, my exact words were “mental health problems”. I did not inform Ms Lord of the exact nature of those issues, and we have no reason to believe she is aware of them. However, her demeanor and comments still raise concern.

Earlier today a notice of entry was delivered to our unit. The text follows, and a photograph of the document is attached.:

This is a 24 hour notice that we will be working on Unit 2-99 East Ave South on Monday May 15th 2017. We will be doing the work that is required to repair the issues on the work order by Property Standards as well as the other work that is needed to be addressed to the unit. Please move any Furniture or obstructions near the windows so that we can put a ladder there to measure, order, and repair. I will be there with my brother, and Donna May Lord from property will also be there. We will be there at 11:30 am till 4 pm on Monday May 15th 2017. We will also be there on Tuesday and Wednesday May 16 and 17 from 9am till 4pm.Do not talk to me or my Workers or interfere with our work so that we can be done in a timely fashion. Video and recording will also be viewed as harassment and will not be allowed.

There are several issues with this notice, and it appears to be provocative and inflammatory under the circumstances.

Ms Shewfelt, in light of Ms Lord’s comments to {my roomate} on May 11 of this year (specifically, Ms Lord’s statement that she would “be along to make sure he got in” or words to that effect), Mr Cerino’s reference to her is a bit curious. Mr Cerino has often boasted of his connections in Hamilton, but we had dismissed those claims as self-aggrandizement.

I had hoped to hear from you again, after our last conversation on the telephone where you offered to come along to the inspection, and where I asked you for an accommodation for {my roomate’s} mental illness. I would appreciate a call at your earliest convenience to discuss the matter.

Peter Bosch
(289) xxx-xxxx

Not much happened on Sunday, May 14, 2017. Neither my roomate or myself received any communication from Lynne Shewfelt, Donna Scally, or our landlords.

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