Archive for Sunday, July 8, 2012

25 years ago: Judge rules: Man must leave apartment

July 8, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for July 8, 1987:

In a memorandum decision filed yesterday, Douglas County District Judge James W. Paddock found Michael Fargo in violation of a section of his lease at Clinton Place that restricted use of his apartment to "residential purposes only." Fargo, whose case had been discussed in the Washington Post and had attracted the attention of civil-rights groups, had a neurological disorder that caused seizures; he was receiving Social Security disability benefits and was living in subsidized housing. After receiving computer training through a program at Independence Inc., he had been taking on freelance data-processing work from the Kansas University Transportation Center and other clients, earning by his own report $944 in a six-month period. During a court hearing earlier this week, Fargo had denied running a business from his apartment, instead describing the activity as a "venture." In his decision, Judge Paddock had written, "The requirement that the use of the premises be for residential purposes means that Mr. Fargo cannot use the premises to operate his computer venture or business, an activity to which he admitted." A representative of MAI, the firm managing Clinton Place and other HUD-subsidized housing in 25 cities, had testified that the building's insurance restricted use of the apartments. Bob Fairchild, the attorney for MAI, added that he did not understand why Fargo's case had received such widespread attention. "As far as we were concerned it was a routine problem," Fairchild said. He also denied that Fargo had ever attempted to negotiate the issue with apartment management. "He could get an office. It's not like they blindsided him. He had plenty of warning." Meanwhile, Robert Woodson of the Washington, D.C.-based National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise claimed that the case was "the best example of what is wrong with the welfare system," saying that people on welfare should not be penalized for trying to find some measure of independence. After the judge's decision, Fargo said that he had not yet decided where he would live if the eviction were carried out. Woodson was not optimistic about his chances of finding a place to go. "He will be tomorrow's homeless," he said. "What is he supposed to do but take up residence under a bridge?" He added, "If they attempt to evict Michael Fargo, we will be in Lawrence, Kansas."


Sarah St. John 5 years ago

If you are interested in reading the Washington Post column referred to, you can find it this way:

Google: washington post william raspberry administration fights self sufficiency

.... and click on the first result.

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