Tribute to Jan Masaryk with Love and Gravitas

by John Kaufmann

This is part two. Read the suite from the beginning

The Corporate Veil

Mike, the manager at the mobile home park that I own in northern New York, and I are dealing with a family called the Franklins.  Mrs. Franklin kicked Mr. Franklin out some months ago.  She stacked his belongings on the lawn underneath a sign that read, “Free Stuff”.  They had a few knock-down, drag-out fights before that.  The police were called, the neighbors woken.  They own a Siberian husky that is not allowed by the rules.  They have broken one of their windows, and a water pipe leak has damaged the floor underneath their sink.  Ever since Mr. Franklin moved out, they have stopped paying rent.  Their son, Aaron, parks his car on the lawn and blares music.  Their dog relieves itself on their neighbors’ yard.

Q: Why did you give up a successful Big Law career to run mobile home parks?
A: I find providing clean, safe and affordable housing to people who need it to be more rewarding than helping rich people bilk the government.

Q: Can you do that, if certain tenants interfere with other tenants’ ability to quietly enjoy their property?
A: You have just answered the question.

The son cops an attitude whenever he speaks with Mike.  The neighbors hate him.  Mike despises him.  I speak with him once, when I visit.  Twenty years old, thin, white and a real mouth on him.  “You will have to turn that music down.” 

“There is no noise ordinance for this part of town.” 

“It is in the park rules.” 

“You are harassing us.” 

“These are the rules.” 

“Other people park on the grass!  Other people have the police at their house!  You are harassing us about nothing!” 

“$950 in back rent is not nothing.  If you do not pay within the time frame, we will proceed with the eviction process.” 

“I know the eviction process.  I am a first year law student.” 

“Oh!  I am an attorney myself.  Where do you go to school?” 

“Where is your lawyer card?” 

“My what?” 

I stop there.  What he is saying isn’t right.  It isn’t even wrong.  You enter a shit-slinging contest and you emerge covered with….what?  I walk away, go to the office, turn on the computer and draft paperwork to start the eviction.  I would love to foam at the mouth, shout insults, resort to sarcasm, brandish a baseball bat, break the kid’s kneecaps or threaten violence.  I would like to behave like Grandpa.  But Grandpa doesn’t get results.  And I don’t want to be Grandpa.

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