On May 15, 2017, around 9 am we noticed John’s vehicle parked on the street in front of the building.
My roomate and I had prepared the unit as best we could without knowing the areas John needed to access (his notice of entry was not clear on that point). We had cleared the area around windows throughout the entire unit, which was a lot of work (all for nothing, as it turned out).
The top row above (from left to right) is Bedroom 3, Hallway 2, and Kitchen, the second row is the Living Room bay window, Bedroom 1 and Bedroom 2.
At 10:20, Agostino called (AR 63) to let us know they were coming.
Around 11:30 am there was a knock on our front door. My roomate had a migraine (she was still functional) so I answered the door and she ran one of the cameras, sitting in the loveseat facing the door. It was Lynne Shewfelt and Donna May Lord. My roomate and I spoke to them for a few minutes. The video (Vid 09) is linked here:
A transcript of the conversation follows: PB is me, DML is Donna May Lord, LS is Lynne Shewfelt and MB is Marie Ball (Doc 106).
PB: …when she spoke to her and you said that you would be along to make sure that he got in.
DML: Yes. Yeah.
LS: Well no, not, we’re not here to make sure anybody gets in.
MB: Well that was Donna May’s words to me.
LS: Well you know what? That…that wasn’t the intent. The uh…the intent is here just to see that the work…if the landlord can’t get in…if the landlord can’t get in to do the work then our job is done here. We had…we had…
MB: The only objection was John. His co-landlord could get in.
LS: But let’s…but here’s…but here’s the issue. We can’t enforce the bylaw, we can’t enforce this work if the landlord can’t get in to get it done.
MB: But his co-landlord could. He did not…
PB: ‘K, Marie this is… this is not by-law’s concern.
LS: We…we can’t get involved here in this so this…if it is a dispute between you and your landlord, we can’t get involved. What we can do is enforce this order. Right?
PB: All right.
LS: We’d like to see everybody get along, and get the work done, but if that can’t happen then…you know there’s no more wor…we can’t get involved and we’re not going to get involved.
PB: All right.
LS: We would…we would like to see co-operation on both sides and we’re speaking to the landlord that way as well.
MB: I’d like to see your officers let people speak and be a little more polite too.
LS: In which way.
MB: I tried to speak to Miss Lord to explain something three times in a phone call and I was cut off three times. And I had to get rather terse to be heard the fourth time. And I actually have a witness to that.
LS: So what is it…what were you…
MB: I was trying to explain that that Friday the 19th was not a good day and as soon as I got Friday out I got jumped….verbally, that Friday they weren’t coming in, they were coming in Monday and I wasn’t even allowed to finish my thought. Three times in a row.
LS: You now what? I understand that. If you could understand for a moment that sometimes we…
MB: You know, and your officers need to let people explain instead of cutting them off.
PB: Marie…Marie. Let her speak please.
LS: No, no. And I understand…I understand that it… I’m…if you could understand for a moment that sometimes even us…even we have bad days.
MB: Yeah, I’m an ex super.
LS: Sometimes we get…we’re getting it from both ends as well. She’s getting it from me…and she’s
MB: Yeah I’m an ex super.
LS:…getting it from other people on the phone. You know, sometimes we loose our patience as well.
MB: And you know, usually there’s an apology that follows and you know that’s just good business etiquette.
LS: I’m…I’m sure she did.
DML: I believe I did apol…I did apologize.
MB: No you didn’t.
DLM: I did.
LS: I’m sure.
DLM: I did. Yeah.
PB: All right, rather than get into a discussion of what was said, we’ll accept that if there was any discourtesy it was unintentional.
LS: We do.
LS: So if you’d permit us to go back downstairs and speak to the landlord, we’d like to see that the windows get done. It would be good for you and for and…then we can discuss any of the other issues that we can enforce under the Property Standards bylaw and issue any orders that can get this work done.
PB: That’s what we’ve been trying to do.
LS: Well great. Great. So…so…if you want…if he…if he comes and does that we can talk about that while that’s being done.
LS: Okay, great. We’ll be back.
I believe my roomate when she says Donna May Lord had never apologized. Ms Shewfelt appeared to me to be under the influence of an intoxicant. Her eyes were slightly bloodshot, her speech was somewhat disjointed and confused and she appeared extremely ill at ease. It’s possible that intoxicant (if any) was prescribed medication. I don’t know. All I do know is that my first thought when I saw her was “This woman is high”. It wasn’t the only time I had that thought when dealing with Ms Shewfelt. It was difficult to discern any meaning in what she was saying at times.
Then they went downstairs and came back with John and Agostino. The video of that conversation (Vid 10) is linked below. Watching this video is crucial to understanding the situation.
A transcript of the conversation (Doc 107) follows:
JC: the order.
PB: Our question is to what areas of the apartment does he need access?
JC; Whatever the work is necessary. All the windows have to be checked for cracks and broken. So we’re gonna check all the windows, measure the windows and do what we have to do.
PB: Okay. Just the windows?
JC: And other work, whatever we complete, we get stalled on one job we’ll do work on the next job. So I can’t…all the work that’s required…
AC: Has to be done.
JC: Is gonna be done in whatever stages it needs to be done. So we have to go get to work.
PB: Okay, so you’re asking…
LS: The windows are what we’re here for today.
JC: That’s the last question. The order says
PB: Just to be clear Mr Cerino…
LS: The windows are what we are here for today. Nothing else.
LS: And this is where…this is where…this is where there’s a breakdown. Don’t get upset this is where there’s a breakdown. The windows…
JC: I’m tryin’ to go to work. He’s stalling me from the work. He wants the rug changed which is another job.
LS: He didn’t…did he say that?
JC; No no, no no. It’s there in the order.
JC: In the…
DML: It’s not in our order.
LS: But it’s not in our order sir.
LS: That’s got nothing to do with what’s on our order. The windows only.
JC: So I can go in every room to fix the windows.
JC: Each and every room.
LS: And this sort of stuff happens….trust me, we walk away. Right? That’s it. So you need to…
JC: I am addressing this. But I have to go in every single room and check every single window.
LS: Okay. And that was put on the uh…24 hour notice right?
JC: I already told them that.
DML: When I said that you had to access everything in the uh…every room in the window.
PB: All right.
DLM: Or in the uh…or in the apartment.
PB: The uh…the question we have is about uh…from your notice of entry it says that we will be doing the work that is required to repair the issues on the work order by property standards.
PB: Now, my understanding is that includes the windows
PB: The front and back door.
JC: The front door and back door have already been done already.
AC: The back door
PB: Those issues were on the work order. So the windows, the front and back doors, if any repairs need doing, the toilet.
AC: Oh, that’s been done.
PB: Okay. And uh…what was the other thing.
MB: The bedroom doors.
PB: The bedroom doors.
AC: The bedroom doors are done.
JC: windows. Why are we talking? Windows.
JC: I’m tryin’ to get started.
LS: I know.
JC: Half hour we’ve been talking about work I have to do.
PB: Mr Cerino we simply want to be clear about your intentions.
JC: Can I do my job? Can I please do my job?
LS: Yeah but I thought we weren’t going to be discussing anything.
JC: I’m not I’m here to do my job.
LS: Yes you can do the windows.
JC: He’s discussing right…
PB: All right. Mr Cerino you will be allowed access to windows only. If you display any of the abusive behaviour tha you have in the past, you will be asked to leave the unit.
JC: And I’m asking you not to talk to me while I’m doing the work.
PB: Mr Cerino if we…
JC: I’m asking you not to talk to me or my brother while we’re doing the work in the unit.
PB: We will not speak to you unnecessarily, sir.
JC: That isn’t what I s…that isn’t…I’m asking you not to speak to me or my brother while we are in the unit.
JC: Mr Cerino we will speak to whomever we choose in our home.
DML: Is there any reason why you need to speak with him?
MB: Yes. He needs to let us know when he needs in the one bedroom where the animals are so we can move them.
DML: But that’s, but that…we’re not going to engage in any…any conversation. It’s just, okay, now I need to get into the bedroom.
DML: That’s all…all you need to talk to him about.
DLM: Is that it? Can…
PB: As I said Ms Lord, we will limit communication to him to necessary speech only, but we will speak to whom we choose in our own home.
JC: We w…we wish not to speak to you.
LS: That’s fair enough, right?
PB: So noted. You may come in sir. Now Agostino, are you coming in?
AC: Of course I am. I have to work.
JC: I need him to hold the ladder.
PB: Are there any other individuals enter…
JC: Not right now but there might be later.
PB: If there are, please have them check with Marie or myself…
JC: uh huh
PB: …before they enter our unit.
JC: Absolutely, they’ll be coming in with us.
JC: We will bring them in , so they be not in the presence of us whenever we’re here. They’re our workers. Can we go work?
LS: Go ahead. Thank you.
JC: Excuse me. Did I say excuse me?
AC: Thank you.
MB: Uh…Donna M…
PB: Sorry, did you…will you come in?
LS: Did you want to talk to us about something?
PB: Ah, I would, but I think, uh, another time may be appropriate. I’d like to keep an eye on things.
MB: It’s okay. Go, talk to them.
JC: So this is one window…
PB: You got it?
JC: …to measure.
AC: You mind not recording me please?
MB: It’s my right.
AC: It’s your right?
JC: I put on there not to record. They’ve alr…they’ve already gone against what we had. Go get the police. Go get ’em before they drive off, Auggy.
AC: I will.
JC: Excuse me.
Donna May Lord’s contempt for the idea that this is our home (not John’s) is a bit hard to take. It shouldn’t have been necessary for me to repeat that we would speak to whom we chose in our own home. It’s our home. The Property Standards officials I have had dealings with over the last three years are almost all like that. They serve the taxpayer, not the citizens. Low income tenants are merely citizens, not taxpayers. The landlord is a taxpayer.
The klanging sound you hear during the conversation is John Cerino using the ladder as a noisemaker. You’ll see videos of Agostino carrying that same ladder (identifiable from the paint stains). It doesn’t make a sound when Agostino carries it, but John uses it as a distraction and to add confusion to the situation. John clangs away while Shewfelt is talking. I doubt John heard a word she said. When John enters the apartment, he uses the ladder quite aggressively, shoving it in my face, and following when I stepped back. John’s version of “excuse me” is another example of his antagonistic behavior.
As John and Agostino had gone into the bedroom to begin work, I had moved into the kitchen with Lynne Shewfelt and Donna May Lord and continued our conversation (recorded separately in audio). The two MLE officers did not witness the events in the bedroom, nor were they aware John and Agostino had left when the three of us returned to the living room area about three minutes after John and Agostino had left.
Once the three of us had returned to the living room, and Shewfelt and Lord were made aware that the Cerinos had left, they went into the hallway in front of our unit where John and Agostino were waiting. We closed the door behind them.
About two minutes later, a loud and angry voice could be heard from the hallway. Individual words were muffled, but there was no doubt it was John screaming in the hallway. I opened the door to ask John to hold it down, and was surprised to see the two MLE officers standing there with John and Agostino.
I asked them to have the conversation somewhere else. Shewfelt did not reply, but John loudly and belligerently demanded “Do you own the hallway?” Agostino chimed in. Shewfelt was saying something in reply to John when I closed the door. The noise stopped a short time later, and I could hear someone stomping their way down the stairs.
The audio recording made on my cell phone of the entire time is (AR 64).
The video linked below (Vid 11) is the same one as above, but with the audio from my cell phone recording instead of the camera audio and two camera angles. At the point that my roomate begins to record John and Agostino in the bedroom, the video diverges from the recorded audio. At that time I was going into the kitchen with both MLE officers. My roomate had the camera shown in the lower left of the screen, the other camera was held by a friend of my roomate (who is briefly visible in the other camera). John always traveled with a crowd, and we were prepared to record multiple incidents simultaneously if necessary.
A while later I noticed two police cruisers pull up in front of the building, so I went down to see what was going on. Here’s what happened (Vid 12). Subtitles have been added to Vid 12 in the video embedded below (Vid 12a). Watching this entire video is crucial to understanding this entire situation.
A transcript of the conversation is here: (Doc 308). I’ll add commentary to this post about some of John’s manipulation techniques and Allcroft’s responses to them at a later date, but for now I’ll point one highlight.
Around 7:10 in Vid12a, 8:45 in Vid 12a, and 19:30 in Vid12a, John says that he will be bringing a camera along when he enters the unit. Allcroft urges him to do so, even stating “If you feel that will help you get the work done” and absolutely “Absolutely” each time John says he will be bringing a camera.
Around 27:30 Allcroft says to me “But if he brings somebody in and starts recording you, you brought that on yourself. By recording him. Okay? It’s not really a police matter.”
Actually, it would be a police matter. If John bought a camera into our home to ‘video tape them’ while working, he would be committing a crime. I (and my roommate) are free to record what we like in our home. John isn’t. It’s that simple, and I am quite certain Allcroft knew it. Allcroft had counselled John to commit an offense (criminal mischief). And John and his agents took that advice, on many occasions. After this they began following me around with cell phones held up as though recording, or taking pictures of me around the building.
Richard Pollington had disappeared from view shortly after he’d told Uhlik that John would be there in five minutes (early in the conversation). I doubt Richard heard this conversation, but after this date, Richard began calling me “welfare bum” “gov’mint tit sucker” and other names of a similar nature on a regular basis as I would pass him in and around the building. To my knowledge, he did not do the same thing to Marie.
This incident will be the subject of an OIPRD complaint (yet to be filed) and there’s more to the Allcroft-Cerino interaction than meets the eye in the video. I had overheard John boasting of his “connections” in the city twice before (once on the property at East Ave and once in a McDonald’s). I’d remembered that as Allcroft’s advice became more and more sympathetic to John (and more and more contemptuous of tenants’ rights in general).
There’s one other factor the reader should know. I am 98% certain I’ve met Allcroft before, in 1994.
To make a long story short, I was helping a friend deal with two gay bashers in downtown Hamilton. They two thugs in question had mistakenly thought my friend was alone. When they ambushed him, they found themselves dealing with two ex-soldiers who had trained to fight as a team (I’d served with my friend in the armed forces and we’d often sparred as a duo against other duos and singles). I freely admit we were both dressed and acting like targets for gay bashers.
Gay bashing was a problem in downtown Hamilton in that time, and the cops would find a reason not to charge bashers. Both of us had friends who’d been victimized by such vermin, and neither of us was particularly adverse to a fight if we were clearly threatened or attacked. But this time around, they jumped Mike without provocation or conversation. The only thing I heard them say to Mike was “You brought this on yourself, pussy”. I wasn’t sure of their motivation, but I was sure of their intentions. They wanted to hurt my friend.
It was a short fight, ending with one of lying them semi-conscious on the ground, and the other sitting after he’d been kicked in the kidney, struggling to breathe through pain (and I think that was Allcroft, but there is some uncertainty. It was a long time ago, and there was no goatee). I’ll refer to him as “Thug A”, his buddy on the ground as “Thug B” and my friend as “Mike”.
Thug A managed to get enough breath to direct a stream of homophobic insults at Mike. Mike pulled a piece of reebar he kept in a pocket in his jacket sleeve (he hadn’t bothered to take it out for the fight, or hadn’t had a chance) and said to Thug A “That’s gonna cost you”. Thug A then held out a badge and said “Don’t try it”. Mike looked at the badge, looked at me and said “It’s legit”, then spit on Thug A and told him “The next guy you bash might not stop to look at that, pig” then walked away. I followed. Thug A didn’t try to stop us. At the time, gay bashing police officers in Hamilton were not uncommon. There is still a deeply systemic problem with homophobia in HPS.
I’ve showed Vid12 to Mike. He thinks Thug A is Allcroft too, but he’s more uncertain that I am. He puts his certainty at 90%. I’m quite certain Allcroft did not recognize me; I was wearing wrap-around shades for the whole conversation, and Thug A (to the best of my recollection, some 23 years later) hadn’t heard me speak.
Thug A and B tried to gay bash an unsuspecting victim, and got their asses kicked for their douchebaggery, twenty three years ago. At the time, it seemed to me that was an acceptable outcome, and it was best to let sleeping dogs lie.
This post will be updated at a future date.
The Occurrence Details Report is below (Doc 108):
Allcroft makes a few mistakes in this report, starting with the second sentence. There is a recurring theme of occurrence reports that contain inaccuracies, distortions and outright misrepresentation of what was said to police in this whole mess.
So, fifteen days after the deadline on the compliance order for John to fix the windows, they weren’t fixed. John had made no good faith effort to even begin the job. The whole day had been wasted, along with roughly 3.5 man hours of HPS time, another eight to ten hours of MLE’s man hours with no progress whatsoever on the repairs.
Some of the comments John had made to Allcroft concerned me (and my roomate). Neither of us had any particular desire to be filmed by John while in our home, or to give John the opportunity to record personal information. So, a bit later that evening, I emailed John’s representative, Vidywattie Yahkni (Doc 105).
Peter Bosch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mon, May 15, 2017 at 9:31 PM
At 11:40 this morning, your clients asked for entry to our unit. They were given access, but objected to being lensed, and left.
After they left, John Cerino made a complaint of harassment to Hamilton police (Incident number 17612965, P.C. Uhlik Badge # 1293 and P.C. Allcroft, badge #342). Your client was, apparently, under the belief that lensing him and his brother was criminal harassment.
He also made statements that he would return tomorrow morning at 9 am with a camera so his co-landlord, Agostino, could “video tape” us while we lensed him.
We have no objection to either John or Agostino documenting the work they are doing on camera, but we have a strong objection to being lensed in our own home by Mr Cerino. Our actions and behavior are not at issue in this matter, and Mr Cerino has no valid reason to lens us, only the work being done.
Moreover, your client made statements to P.C. P.C. Allcroft that 1) eviction provceedings were under way, and that we were attempting to delay eviction; 2) disclosed personal information about us.
If Mr Cerino does return tomorrow morning, he will be given access to the windows but will be asked to leave if he or anyone else begins lensing us, rather than the work being done.
Please be aware that there will be other witnesses present if/when Mr Cerino arrives,
Ms Yaknhi, it is unlikely I will have disclosure available to you on Friday, May 19 as agreed, due to your client’s actions. I have an appointment to discuss my options in detail with counsel on May 24, 2017. Disclosure would likely be after that date.
Peter Bosch (289) 698-6779
After I sent the email. I disposed of the garbage John had left behind when he left. John has zero respect for our home (Fig43).
It had been a hell of a day. It began with a visit by two MLE officers, one of whom was stoned and incoherent, the other rude; purportedly to assist in enforcing the Compliance Orders. It was followed up by a visit from our landlord (mercifully brief) where he’d stormed out angrily in response to Marie recording him, while those officers were in the apartment.
Then I had to deal with Allcroft and Uhlik’s clear bias against us (read the transcript), Allcroft’s twice refusing to view the video of the entry (which would have taken a third of the time he spent getting John’s distorted version of events) and Allcroft’s attitude towards tenants. I even had to remind Allcroft that it wasn’t us who’d called. Mostly, I just shut up and let John lie through his teeth. The blatant display of NPD behavior by John was fascinating and disturbing.
So far, this disagreement with our landlord had used up 3 hours 30 minutes of hearing time at the LTB, in 4 hearings, one by telephone, one in person (counting the Case Management Hearing as a hearing). It has also used up 2 hours and 20 minutes of a mediator’s time. It has resulted in three responses by HPS to a complaint (one by the tenants). I’ll keep a running tally.