Intro: You are now listening to the alternative perspective podcast where we explore the stories of the less fortunate people who are battling with homelessness. I am your host Tevin Fairclough.
Track: While interviewing the subjects for the first episode of the alternative podcast I was approached by a thin and frail older man who was in or around his 70s who hauled behind him a suitcase and a beautiful furry Golden Retriever who he later likened to a medical device such as a wheelchair or an oxygen tank.
Track: He wore a gray hoodie that was slightly oversized with his sneakers clean in a neon green color. He introduced himself as Pastor Michael Vincent Crea.
Track: He gave his dog the name Taranga which he States is a warloff word from Senegal West Africa which means hospitality he said they’ve been together since 2015.
Track: From the conversation we had, I gathered that his battle with homelessness started around the time the building he was living in was sold.
Act: They lost the house that I was in again that was bought from Istan LLC, a bunch of gangsters who have their offices at 40th and Madison, who knew they were selling it to Dr. Harry Merryman who is a psychologist and he runs Lakeview Community Services resources out of gym Geneva New York. Dr. Harry Merryman of Lakeview Community Resources AKA Lakeview Mental Health Services AKA Lakeview Health Services so God knows where his taxes are going since he keeps switching his name. He started out two years ago he said do not move he said when his project is done he’s going to give me a new place, when construction begins they will move me to an apartment and so I waited.
Track: He claims that his living space was substandard
Act: We were living at 713 Court Street. It was two bedroom house we had a backyard for my service dog to to go out and rest we had a driving/parking spot, the driveway was never repaired, the water from the rains came down into the basement, he never cleaned out the gutters, the gutters overflowed and went right down into the foundation. Last Summer in 2018, the basement flooded 3 times I had to move everything out I bought everything back in three times put it on wooden skids but got a hernia. I asked for reasonable accommodation under Americans living with disabilities law to have the stuff in the basement move into the garage where the people had already moved out since he didn’t proceed with his project in a timely fashion, instead of giving me that option which was right there he gave me a retaliatory eviction and within six months if someone ask for their rights to be upheld or a repairs to be made a retaliatory eviction can be claimed by the tenant against the owner of property this was done just 33 days after I make my request and after he had failed 4 federal inspections.
Track: Crea sought refuge in Staten Island but had some issues when he tried to get his things back.
Act: So what happened was not only did they evict me and my service dog but when we went back in for her protocols and my health protocols when I went back to try to do a T.R.O because they weren’t giving me the 30 days to remove my property as required by law we were arrested and when we were arrested I was separated from my dog.
Track: He explains that Tarango was held in terrible conditions at the ASPCA.
Act: When she was separated from me up in Ithaca they held her in terrible conditions at the ASPCA because a neighbor of mine who knows her visited her and said she was in trauma and peeing on herself. She’s never done that she’s never peed inside the house and she won’t even pee on cement.
Track: When he got to his arraignment he was met with a Professor at Cornell University to represent him he said that this representative said to him:
Act: I am not your lawyer I am only here for the arraignment. I said to him three things:
1) I need my dog returned immediately.
2) I need a lawyer and
3) I need my property protected
Track: He was released according to him. The ADA stated that he should be released based on his own recognizance.
Act: The judge thought I spoke out of turn when I asked for my dog to be returned. He put me in Tompkins County Jail without the dog, without a phone call and without a lawyer that was on the 9th of July 2019.
Track: In jail he found that another inmate was waiting 25 days for a psych evaluation and that the judge had ordered the same for him as well.
Act: I had already started my Irish hunger strike not drinking a drop not eating a bite and when I heard that, I did what the Irish did against Margaret Thatcher when she criminalize free speech and political speech. I ripped up the orange suit I put on the blanket and I said I am innocent until proven guilty in a trial by a jury of my peers Beyond reasonable doubt.
Track: He claimed his innocence and refused to wear the jumpsuit he was given.
Act: Someone there ended up knowing the history and I had my psych eval the next day now this is the 11th of July and the two psychologists said Pastor Crea knows what he’s doing. so I had the get-out-of-jail-free from the district attorney. I have a get-out-of-jail-free from the psych Tompkins County mental health personnel and now the judge orders the chief of the 18-B lawyers to be my lawyer he should have had me out that afternoon on the 12th of July instead they kept me in the house until the 17th the original date that they had said.
Track: When Crea was released all his belongings were thrown out and they ended up in the Ithaca dump.
Act: I can get back Furniture anytime I can get back clothing anytime. Can I get back the film that I did of my African father and his family in Senegal to hear that Africans defended and got Europe free in the second world war as the Senegalese did only not to get paid as Usman Sen Bene’s film shows in Liberation 1994. Can I get back the original photographs that I had from working with the Rwandan refugees in a mess unit after 10,000 people in the camp after 800,000 Africans were slaughtered and we gave little notice to any here and we still don’t. When two people died in the Middle East it’s all up in arms and when 800,000 – 1 million afterwards of casualties die we don’t give them credence. I had records of that those are destroyed, all of my life’s work was destroyed my writings, my poetry , a screenplay I was working on.
Track: He also mentioned the discrimination he faced when he tried to get housing in different housing arrangements as a pet owner.
Act: Every single contractor that they are dealing with is discriminating against my service dog’s rights and my rights as American living with disabilities. They are paying people and allowing these folks that are getting taxpayers money through the contracts the cities are using to make up their own rules.
Track: He mentioned this isn’t the first time he has been displaced.
Act: And this isn’t the first time when I was on Staten Island Reverend Terry Troia – The president and the chief executive officer Project Hospitality, an organization that strives to meet the needs of the homeless and hungry – was given a contract by Letitia James – Attorney General of New York- to house me in the Cosmopolitan Motel and I come back to find out I’m not allowed to go into the room after 4 months because she didn’t pay the rent. What happened to the $10,040 that wasn’t paid. $2,510 was not paid every month to this hotel Terry Troia was getting $3,500 for Project Hospitality in a sweetheart deal and so you have to ask as I asked on a video that I made myself with Mr. Zishon Ying a filmmaker from NYU “where is the money going?” and that’s what’s happening now. Why am I not housed? Because due to disability I cannot go to a group living situation I cannot go to a shelter I cannot go to any shared apartment because of the esophageal cancer, because of being raped in the New York seminary and accosted at another seminary in the Catholic church after leaving Cornell I cannot go into any group living situation.
Track: I asked if he was able to find work and provide for himself during this dilemma and he replied.
Act: I cannot be employed and it’s cost me not only all my life’s work has been thrown out, I have been unemployment since 2006 by Social Security Administration in a writing my claim to be unable to work or credible and that’s in their own statement from the 11th of August 2006 awarding me my social security disability and I’ve been on disability since 2006 it’s now 13 years later and my section 8 hasn’t even been used now because of being displaced. But the taxpayers paid for three years I paid for three years every penny on time
Track: I asked how do they expect him to provide for himself if they considered his claims to be unable to work credible.
Act: They don’t they don’t expect- they don’t see us because the system dehumanizes anyone just by the way it’s set up and right now I’m shivering my dog is shivering and we’re on the streets shivering with these folks here because the system is made to be cookie-cutter rather than what the law states is to take every person individually according to what their situation their needs are and then provide.
Outro: You have now reached the end of the alternative perspective podcast I’m your host Tevin Fairclough.