Monday, April 26, 2010
Mis-"Khan"-duct Won't Be Tolerated by McKinley Neighbors!
Post by the Hawthorne Hawkman, photo by Megan Goodmundson.
The McKinley neighborhood invited both the owner of the Northside Food Market and Mahmood Khan to their Crime and Safety meeting on April 26th. Having blogged once on one issue and extensively on Khan, I decided to attend. Surprisingly, Khan showed up, although the owner of the Northside Food Market stayed away.
One editorial note: The dialogue taking place was rather intense at times, so I opted not to take photos. I worried that doing so might have caused Khan or his tenants (yes, he brought his tenants along, more on that later) to leave entirely.
Once introductions were made, Khan took the floor and said...
...that he had "good tenants who pay rent on time." But, oh gee, he sure doesn't want any problems with the neighborhoods. So if the NEIGHBORHOOD wants his tenants gone, then he would evict them (or not renew their month-to-month lease).
This was certainly an interesting ploy. What Khan seemed to be attempting to do was to put the McKinley neighborhood in the position of being the force behind eviction of a supposedly good tenant. And the only qualifier for "good tenants" used initially was whether the rent was paid on time.
A little back story is in order as well. The property in question, 3238 Bryant Ave N, has been owned by Khan for quite some time. The current occupants have only been in the house since about October of last year, or roughly six months. The previous tenants, who lived there while Khan was the owner, reportedly had an actual "open/closed" store sign in the window for when they were or were not selling drugs. Those occupants are long gone, but the activity that at least LOOKS like drug dealing continued.
So on April 15, the Violent Offender Task Force (VOTF) executed a search warrant at 3238 Bryant Ave N. For the record, this is NOT a small thing. It takes a court order to get this and significant activity needs to be observed within ten days of the action being taken. A SWAT team or something close to it with bullet-proof gear goes in, and there has to be something major to call in a raid like that.
Then the tenants - a man and a woman - spoke, and the woman was in tears about the experience. Whether one is guilty or not, I'm sure that being the subject of such a raid is a truly terrifying experience. She also said that their dog was shot during the raid. The tenants claimed that the warrant did not result in the police finding anything, although what may have come of it is not yet public information.
The man urged people not to judge him yet, and said that he has his peddler's license and makes his money selling "towels, socks, body oil, and CD's." He said that now that he had his license, there was nothing anyone could do about it because he was legitimate. He later said that he sold CD's to his friends, and "you know how it is." The way he described at least the sale of CD's was very similar to language used by the near-incessant stream of bootleggers at the Hawthorn (sic) Crossings strip mall. Just sayin'.
A lot of back-and-forth went on between residents, the tenants, and Khan, and it boiled down to this: Residents see a constant flow of traffic in front of the house. People stop by for 3-5 minutes, often one person stays in the car, and then they're gone. Other times, the cars that stop in front of the house will have other vehicles pull up next to them and then drive off. The tenants claimed that these people were just relatives and weren't doing anything wrong. And the ones that weren't relatives were buying the towels, socks, body oil, or CD's. You know how it is.
(For the record, even though I did not believe much of what the tenants had to say, I still found it preferable that they were in the same room talking with other residents and trying to work things out.)
Then Khan was asked about his screening process. He said he does a background check, and when questioned as to where he gets his background information, he said "a website." Well that's certainly a relief! Glad you're using the INTERNET, can't go wrong THERE! When pushed, he claimed it was a county website that lists criminal activity, and when he needs, he asks the police department for help. Immediately, the police contact at the meeting countered that he has not called her office.
Khan said he'd been in the property management business for 23 years, and that he does all his own background checks. He would not say how many properties he owned in Minneapolis or in general, although he was asked this question several times. In a public hearing, he admitted to having "30 or 40, I don't know exactly," in Minneapolis alone. When residents pointed out that doing background checks on all tenants could almost be a full-time job in and of itself (not to mention checking up on tenants, maintaining properties, collecting rent, and doing all the other things a landlord does), Khan said that his wife sometimes helps with those extensive computer searches.
Khan made no mention to the McKinley group about his other job as a flight attendant, by the way. A thorough account of how Khan handles himself in meetings can be found here.
The McKinley neighborhood sent two letters to Khan at 2972 Old Highway 8, Roseville MN, although he claimed never to have received them. Those letters detailed problems at Khan's McKinley properties and invited him to be part of a solution. Khan instead requested that people call him at 612-998-2500. He was pressed about whether he would respond to other written communication and said that he really preferred being called instead.
One McKinley resident spoke up saying that Khan was not doing an acceptable job of screening tenants. Khan would bring in some tenants and they wouldn't work. The neighborhood would have to fight against drug and other illicit activities. Then after a hard battle, those tenants would go, and a new batch would come in, often just as bad as the last one. "We're sick of being your science experiment," the neighbor said.
Khan's response was, "I'm doing the best I can." To which he was told, "Well, you need to do better."