Saturday, November 14, 2015

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Central Florida Woman Who Allowed Recently-Evicted Friend To Use Spare Bedroom Ends Up Bullied Out Of Her Own Home & Facing Foreclosure While Friend Wrestles Away Possession Of Premises

In St. Petersburg, Florida, ABC Action News reports:
  • A woman took pity on a friend who was being evicted. But now, she's the one who's been forced to find a new place to live.

    Megan Tharp grew up in a house on 40th Avenue North in the Allendale Terrace neighborhood of St. Petersburg.

    Shortly after her father died, she allowed her friend Carl Thompson to move into a spare room, since he had just been evicted from his apartment.

    I tried to help somebody and it completely blew up in my face,” Tharp said.

    Tharp said Thompson never signed a lease and was never given permission to move in permanently. But unbeknownst to her at the time, Thompson had his mail forwarded to the new address, legally establishing residency there.

    She said he soon started behaving in a controlling manner. “He was doing background checks on my friends, my church members. It’s just ridiculous. He’s just completely a control freak,” Tharp said.

    Tharp said one night, Thompson invited a homeless stranger he met at a fast food restaurant to move in. “He goes out and talks to the kid and says, well we're gonna bring him home with us and I was like you're going to bring him home to the house? He's like yeah. Just for one night,” Tharp said.

    The man was James Edwin Lee, who has a long criminal history. He moved in nearly two years ago. Since then, records show cops have been to the house 15 times. “There's been gunshots fired over here,” said neighbor Loren Wolfsiffer.

    Police also came out because of a fight between Thompson and his ex-boyfriend. That boyfriend went to the neighbor's house. “I look outside, turn the light on, there's a kid out there on crutches, screaming that he needed help,” said Terry Gowen, who lives behind the home.

    Tharp says she was so stressed out that she had to go rent an apartment.

    At her family's home, nobody's paying rent or the mortgage and nobody’s mowing grass or doing maintenance.

    In the meantime, records show that Thompson and Lee have formed a marijuana research company that is headquartered at the home. “The thing that really gets me upset is that the neighbors are having to deal with this and I felt so bad for leaving them the way I did,” said Tharp.

    Neighbors have been told there's nothing the city can do until a court throws Thompson out. But Tharp says she can't afford to take him to court.

    Nobody answered the door when we paid multiple visits.

    Thompson said in an email that he had a legally binding verbal agreement with Tharp. Thompson admits that Tharp asked him to leave on two occasions, but says she later told him he could stay.

    He says that because the home is now in foreclosure, "Neither Megan nor any member of her family has any legal say on who lives in the house." Thompson says he plans to hire a landscaping crew to clean up all the mess. He also says he hopes to buy the house from the bank.

    Tharp is contacting a pro-bono legal services organization to seek help getting Thompson out of the house for good.
Source: Woman says friend became squatter and drove her from her family home (City says established legal residency at home).

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