By Sabina Mollot
On March 31, Town & Village ran the article, “When your roommate’s an abusive grifter,” detailing one Peter Cooper Village man’s struggle getting a non-rent paying roommate, who also brought his three children to live in the apartment part time against the tenant of record’s wishes, out of his life.
At the time, the roommate had been living in the apartment for about a year, while also doing things like swiping the other man’s mail, singing loudly during the wee hours of the night and making constant accusations of harassment against the primary tenant, “Neal.”
We recently caught up with Neal (not his real name), about the status of his attempt to get an eviction in court. Previously, Neal said he was told by his attorney it probably wouldn’t be long before the roommate, “Jason,” was evicted. However, Jason’s still there and has been able to delay the court case by arguing he couldn’t lose his home because he suffered from bipolar disorder. This was after an another argument he’d made, that he needed more time due to a trip he was planning, had fallen flat. The judge had asked Jason if he had his plane tickets already and Jason admitted he didn’t.
“You’d have to be a fool not to realize he was just stalling for time,” said Neal, who also suspected there was no trip planned since Jason had no money, never once paying Neal the full amount of rent he owed. Jason’s rent is $1,500, but he only payed around $250 since that came from government subsidies in a check sent directly to Neal.
Another court appearance is set to happen this week.
Meanwhile, in recent months, Neal has continued to be treated to Jason’s constant taunts, including gems like “I’ll be living here after you’re dead” and “I know the whole legal system and I’ll be here as long as I want.” He’s also advised Neal he’s wasting money on his “Jew lawyer.”
Recently, Neal’s phone service was suddenly cut off (this happened twice) as was his internet. “You can guess who did that,” sighed Neal. Neal said he was also once spat on by Jason during an argument, the spit getting into his eye. Neal said he called the police who showed up along with Public Safety officers and EMS workers. At that time, he said, Jason had calmed down and was telling the responders he was the one getting harassed.
The argument was over Jason’s believing Neal had stolen his phone. (A T&V reporter previously called Jason for his point of view, but was hung up on after he said, “This is harassment.”)
Security as well as cops have been called a few times over the course of Jason’s tenancy.
Neal, a retired professor, said he doesn’t even care about getting all the back rent he’s owed or the money he’s spent on legal fees; he just wants Jason out. He had reached out to Town & Village in the hope of warning neighbors how difficult it can be to evict a roommate that doesn’t work out.