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Paul T. Johnson's
Small Landlord's Commentaries

Last Commentary added on March 9, 2004

Paul T. Johnson is a small landlord in Ellenville, a village in southeastern New York. His charming enclave of a variety of one and two family wood-frame buildings provides rental units for working people of modest means. He lives there in a Victorian-era house. Some of the houses date from the time when Ellenville, which is just south of the Catskill Mountains, was part of the prosperous resort region to which Jewish families from New York City once flocked during the hot summers. During the early fall of 2003, visitors to the shady group of houses could hear a father who'd recently been laid off strumming his guitar. As he came toward the open door to say hello, his pre-teen daughter happily joined in the greetings from her outdoor hammock. Sunny lawns were mowed, houses neatly maintained and painted, and the shade of tall black walnut trees in the backyards afforded cool respite to various native plants, as well as visitors. The pleasant neighborhood is a far cry from the center of Ellenville several blocks away, where a Jewish bakery holds forth from the old days amid a decrepit downtown of vacated lots and run-down buildings. A graduate of Columbia University with a major in English, Mr. Johnson has been applying his background as a retired technical writer to document the mistreatment of conscientious landlords by local government officials.

Sequel

"Ellenville Thumbs Its Nose at Freedom of Information Law; Activist Landlord Dies"
- Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse,
Vol. 8, No. 4 (PRFA, Fall 2004)

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See Also
See Also

Defending Landlords Rights - New York

Defeating Zoning and Building Codes - New York

 

In-Depth Information

Infringements on the rights of small landlords in Ellenville, N.Y., by
Paul T. Johnson, an owner of rental properties (printed by permission).
  • Ellenville village administrators seen "patting themselves on the back for how good they made out , cashwise, from a slew of tickets after a recent snowstorm." Trouble was, the Village issued tickets before the lawful grace period of 24 hours to shovel snow off sidewalks was up. - Letter to the Editor, Paul T. Johnson, February 10, 2004.
  • Landlord is boarding up his house, so that in the future the inspectors will "not be allowed to sniff around and issue notices or tickets for esoteric, odd, arcane and new hair-splitting rules and regulations and codes no one heard of before nor knows how to access." - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, October 3, 2003.
  • "Present Ellenville administration's obsession with getting rid of what they as a clique-crony group stereotypically determine to be 'blight' properties would be better served than by chasing all the poorer tenants away." - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, September 12, 2003.
  • "Governing is easier if you don't question corruption." - Letter to the Editor, originally published in The Press, Ellenville, August 22, 2003.
    A story gets re-invented in the course of witnesses', police, and high officials' pronouncements of whether a policeman entered an apartment, and an accurate correction is impossible.
  • Police chief giggles and an angry woman denounces Mr. Johnson for inquiring at the Village Board meeting about reports of police entering rental units when neither tenant nor landlord were present. - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, August 8, 2003
  • Enduring the hostility of the police dispatcher while attempting to correct an inaccurate blotter entry related to neighbor tenants littering property - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press,
    Ellenville, July 25, 2003
  • Politicians' intimidation of poorer property owners by alleging "blight" cannot make Ellenville look like a wealthy community. Better to focus on the deeper, internal problems of government. - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, July 11, 2003
  • Mr. Johnson writes that his report of "scuffle" where tenant "lunged" over him attempting to grab a $400 check out of his hands was downplayed on police blotter entry - Letter to Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, June 27, 2003.
  • Village official "shrieks" upon discovering that Mr. Johnson had a recorder during their meeting about payments - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, May 23, 2003
  • Ultimatum that Mr. Johnson's water/sewer charges be paid immediately or all his tenants will be placed in local motels at a charge of $2,180/day - Letter to the Editor, originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, April 4, 2003
  • "Stacking the Deck" - Letter to the Editor, originally published in The Press, Ellenville, February 21, 2003.
    The Village of Ellenville is squeezing owners of rental units with a $300 increase in the fee for the annual safety certificate and a mailed "5-day notice" to remove "abandoned vehicles" impacted by ice-bound snow banks.
  • Fines with Inadequate Notice Imposed on Landlords for Tenants' "Junk" Vehicles - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, February 14, 2003
  • Village Major was "Above the Law, Not Obligated to Comply with Judicial Subpoena" - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, N.Y., February 7, 2003.
  • High-Taxing Village Fails to Keep Its Promise to allow Payment of Back Taxes on the Installment Plan - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, N.Y., November 8, 2002.
  • Village Judge Awarded Return of Security to Tenant Who Left Without Minimum Notice in Lease and Left Large Quantities of Filth and Materials to be Hauled Away - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, N.Y., August 9, 2002.
  • County Legislators Lack Cognizance of Fundamental Principle of Corporate Law - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, May 24, 2002.
  • Dynamics of "Slum" Development as a Result of Rules and Regulations - Letter to the Editor originally printed in The Press, Ellenville, May 24, 2002.
    The Catch-22 experience of a small-town landlord parallels that of New York City landlords who saw entire sections of the City destroyed by regulations, administrators, and courts.

 

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