Present: Gatlin(facilitator), Yarrow, Serene, Richard, Bernard, Barak, Rebecca(minutes), Patrick, Vaidy, Nolan, Russ, Alex, Paul.
Present: Gatlin(facilitator), Yarrow, Serene, Richard, Bernard, Barak, Rebecca(minutes)
Patrick: Looking to move in at the end of the spring semester or at the end of summer.
(Barak, et al.) Member Review of Bernard Stewart
-Intimidation and violent threats/damaging co-op property (3/23)
-Hoarding kitchen items in personal unit (2/22 - present)
-Yelling and screaming late at night (10/1 - present)
-General disrespect and disregard for roommate (10/1 - present)
Barak: Being as to the point as possible, I will give facts that have occured:
I sent a venmo message saying that since the electric bill and internet bill were almost equal, that I would not pay since it would be a wash. After sending this Bernard broke the bathroom door down while I was inside. He flipped the breaker so that electricity would not work in my room, and tried to stop me from plugging in to the internet until he realized I had paid.
I had paid Bernard $50 each month to eat some of Bernard's food. One month I boght my own groceries and this caused a conflict. We attempted mediation which Bernard refused. He started removing items from the commons kitchen, some of which belonged to me. There are hardly and plates, silverware, cups, mugs, or cooking utensils,
Bernard: All of those dishes were purchased by the VA and by frontsteps for me, and I cannot allow him to use them.
Barak: It's true the majority belonged to him, but their removal makes the kitchen nonfunctional. He removed trash bags and cleaning supplies. I can't cook, I have to eat out or go hungry, and the kitchen remains dirty because I can't clean it.
Re: excessive noise at night. I have heard him yelling over the phone between 12-4am, mostly to Chris who has stayed over at our apartment many times. Chris will go out and get in fights and this upsets Bernard. Chris brought all of his things over to our unit after Bernard had told him not to return. Chris left without bringing his items with him, and I went to sleep. Bernard banged on my door and asked why I let Chris in. He later apologized to me.
Bernard creates a hostile environment by always being close to lashing out over any small thing. Bernard accused me of trying to evict him from LaRe in 2016 by not giving his rent checks to CHEA. I have since been hand delivering his checks to CHEA personally. Despite this Bernard is suspicious and distrustful of me. He has never referred to me by name, always by “roommate.” I think Bernard is not someone anyone at LaRe would want to live with, and that his behavior does not fit in the coop.
Bernard: Barak is not responsible for me being here or remaining here. The VA and Front Steps are. When I first moved in, he went through my groceries, and the next day just started eating my food without permission. Then he agreed to pay $50/month to eat my food. In February he ate the food and then at the end of the month decided not to pay. I let it go, and moved the food to my room and put a lock on my bedroom. He didn't want to pay the electricity because he pays for the internet. I don't use his internet, so why should I pay for something I don't use. I paid for awhile before I decided I wasn't using it. I paid for half of a water filter that he purchased for us without my consent. I apologize for busting down the door, I was frustrated, and I was wrong for doing that. I could have handled it better. Barak has not helped to keep the place clean since I moved in, and I have no obligation to leave my cleaning supplies out for someone who doesn't help keep it clean. The trash can is mine, purchased by the VA. Dishes have been left unwashed including commons dishes. I work two jobs and don't get home until late. He told me not to watch TV at night after I get home. I bought curtain rods, and he destroyed the curtain rod. He blasts music from his room and watches Neo Nazi videos which makes me uncomfortable.
Richard: Are these dishes being hoarded coop dishes?
Bernard: No, my own personal dishes.
Hannah: This seems like more of a roommate issue to me. I would just as soon see y'all go to separate units rather than kick someone out.
Vaidy: Nothing can be confirmed or denied other than the fact that you broke the bathroom door?
Richard: Going forward. You said yo were sorry for kicking down the door, you feel like you could handle this better in the future?
Bernard: Yes. I was frustrated, it was the second time that money that owed to me was denied.
Hannah: Going forward maybe if you do go into different units we can have roommate agreements. If this comes up two months from now, I don't know what the outcome would be.
Bernard: I never refused to do mediation, I just haven't been here and didn't know.
Richard: Now we ask Bernard to step out, and discussion will begin. No new issues, or we are obligated to invite him back in.
Barak: A lot of his claims are false. He claims Im stealing food, but my $40 covered more than I was even using. The money I was paying was actually extremely generous but I was willing, and when I said I could only pay a fraction of that, he severed communication and reacted harshly and began hoarding his kitchen items. This is not the environment that a coop is supposed to be about. Over such a trivial sum of money he busted down the door to berate me for a minute or two on end is not something we should tolerate for anyone here.
Vaidy: All of this is just heresay and cannot be confirmed. The only fact remains that he broke the door down and you were threatened. If there is no threat established, there is no cause to attack anyone.
Richard: Going forward I would recommend not having a pay at the end of the month arrangement, so you could say at the beginning of the month that you were not going to pay that month.
Barak: In retrospect, the plan was not a good one with Bernard specifically. I thought it was fair to use the kitchen and eat what I was eating because I was paying much more than the value of what I was consuming. By hoarding his property I am completely unable to use the kitchen and very uncooperative.
Serene: Just want to say that $21 is not trivial. That's 2 hours of my life at my hourly wage.
Corey: Heard a lot of familiar things from both sides, I get where Bernard is coming from, I've had my dishes be messed up. While I get where you're coming from I also know I can't go buy dishes personally and so when a dish disappears it really hurts. Resources are not so readily available to everybody.
Yarrow: Re: the unit kitchen being unusable, it does sound like Bernard's actions were uncooperative. When I was with Sylvia our kitchen was pretty unusable, but I continued cooking utilizing commons dishes, and it seems like it shouldn't make you unable to make food for yourself.
Hannah: Having the door knocked down while I'm in the restroom sounds terrible and I guess I have a bit of a stake in this as when we opened LaRe we have our nonprofit status and we provide housing to people who might not be able to get it otherwise. There's going to be some trauma when housing people from these housing organizations. That's part of our 501 status.
Yarrow: When someone is in such an unstable situation, sometimes the way you deal with that is that you have to be aggressive to not be exploited. That is not appropriate to bring here, but I can understand why some of those old feelings may be brought up again.
Barak: Bernard is a good person, he demonstrated that, and he works hard, I've seen parts of him that I really enjoy. I tried to be his friend and introduce him to cooperative living. But my experience is that he rejected all my efforts to show him how to exist within a coop. He has been a recluse and paranoid and suspicious and perpetuating this hostile environment. If he moves to a new unit, I don't think whoever that is will enjoy living with him.
Gatlin: Straw poll to see which action we want to take. The three options are: Do nothing, terminate his membership, have him sign a behavioral contract which would result in automatic membership termination should it be violated.
Membership Termination: 3
Plurality is behavioral contract.
Terms of contract: No threats of physical violence (10), no actual physical violence(10), no destruction of coop or unit property(10), anything belonging to Barak be returned(10), respect quiet hours(10), with a term of 6 months(10).
(Bernard, Richard, Paul) Member review of Barak for:
Bernard: He says I don't call him by his name, but I am barely around to even call anybody by their name. But when you enter into an agreement for something and don't keep the terms, that's an issue. He eats large amounts of food. Don't eat my food and then at the end of the month say you're not going to pay me. To this day he still has not paid for that month of food. I don't use his internet and am not going to pay for it. He has been behaving uncooperatively, turning lights off so it's dark and I can't see when I get home. We entered into an agreement as roommates and none of it was held up. I get into heated discussions with him over things that aren't necessary. I am not perfect but just ask to be treated with respect. Everything got out of hand. Using my dishes and ruining them. I'm not obligated to leave it out for anyone. I'm not being unfair or unreasonable. Two of my chairs that were bought for me are now broken, I don't know how. The bathroom is never clean. I have to clean everything myself. He has not picked up any cleaning supplies and cleaned anything in the bathroom. Barak said I can't watch TV after I get home from work, I moved it from the living room to my room, he said it was still too loud. I should have dealt with this before it got out of control. I'm not used to asking for help in these kinds of circumstances. The curtain rods I bought were bent up and put in the trash can. Point is, he wants me to cater to his needs, and I'm not there for that. What I do have I try to be nice about but when yo abuse it it's not going to be there anymore.
Barak: So in my opinion, the only way that I have fallen short as a roommate is I haven't cleaned the bathroom and I haven't cleaned the kitchen lately. But the reason is we don't have communication, which was severed in February after I didn't pay the $50 for food. So we had no cleaning agreements. I didn't know why I would pay for the electricity when he hadn't paid for internet, which was our agreement originally. The amount I ate was not as great as Bernard suggests. It does not constitute $50/month.
Richard: It sounds like both of you made agreements you later regretted, Barak you weren't consuming as much food as you were paying for, Bernard, you don't have a laptop. As far as the coop is concerned, Barak you need to pay electricity, Bernard does not necessarily have to pay for internet.
Vaidy: Was information about the bills presented to Barak?
Bernard: No. Barak says that he didn't eat hardly any food, he ate quite a bit of food. I went through cases of eggs, boxes of cereal, he admits to eating it. It's not the eating of the food, it's the principle of the fact that he promised to pay and didn't. I have nothing in there that runs on the internet. I have free separate internet on my phone, and should not pay for something I don't use. He says there's no communication. I should not have to tell you that the house is dirty, it should just be cleaned.
Barak: I understand he doesn't use and shouldn't pay for the internet. The reason the communication broke down is because he lashed out at me for requesting mediation. If you think it's an easy problem to solve, then why did you react so violently? Your patronizing attitude about what I do with my time is part of the problem here. I haven't been taking any action re: cleaning because I wasn't sure about our future as roommates. That is something that from now on I'm willing to take my part in.
Hannah: We've heard a lot about what the issues in the apartment are, I just want to check: are you actually trying to membership review him or do you just want it to be known what's going on?
Bernard: It's about rectifying a situation that should have been taken care of long ago, I don't want to see anyone be kicked out or homeless. I'm very keen about roommates are chosen by other people. You really don't know what you're getting paired with. I do want to do the membership review just for his actions to be taken into account, Why do I have to be on a behavioral contract and he walks away with no consequence.
Richard: Barak, can you speak to the broken property? The chairs, the curtain rod?
Barak: I don't know about the chair. I bought those myself, they were the exact same ones used in the living room. I also bought mine from Walmart where he bought his. There are still two curtain rods in our common space.
Russ: You have different expectations for cleanliness and etc, and it seems like communication was just off track between you two. If there is to be a contract, I think communication should be a core issue. I don't think it's really disrespect, as you are both trying in our own different ways. Maybe space and perspective is needed. I think you both mean well.
Barak is asked to step out.
Richard: If we do a behavior contract, there seems to be an entitlement issue, like that electricity needs to be paid unconditionally,
Russ: The expectation that Barak had that Bernard should fulfill his kitchen requirements, and his reluctance to clean the bathroom.
Vaidy: I asked about the bills because he owes you money no doubt, but it's a good idea to show the person what they owe and for what. So we can accuse them of doing something or not doing something. Before my present awesome roommate I had another roommate who would tell me to pay but would not show me the bills. I would have lost electricity even though I had paid the bills.
Serene: A Behavior contract should include basic things like clean up after yourself, pay electricity.
Nolan: I was disturbed by the comment that he didn't clean the bathroom because he didn't know the future of them living together. He should enter into a roommate agreement with another roommate in the future.
Vaidy: Did you give you the wifi router name and password? Did you ever use it?
Bernard: He gave it to me but I can't use it on my phone. This is about structure. Originally there was a paper that written on about food sharing, and it is logged into my case manager's files. So there was a written agreement about the $50/month for food. yes. there's a lot of communication that was lacking. Yes he does other things, but those things do not prevent him from doing basic duties at the apartment. He says he hasn't cleaned since February, but he hasn't cleaned since he's been there. He says he doesn't use the common area but I think it still needs to be cleaned. Whoever he is housed with will have the same issue.
Corey: Re: the food, it's just simpler to not share.
Straw Poll: Do Nothing(1), Terminate membership(1), or behavioral contract(10)
Behavioral Contract Terms: Barak needs to pay 1/2 of electric bill in full, on time, unconditionally(8); needs to draft and sign a labor chart with any roommate within 30 days of being assigned to be roommates with current and future roommates(9); must respect quiet hours as written in house policy(10); must not use or consume items owned by roommate without permission(10)
(Bernard, Richard, Paul) Member review of Barak for: