Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Would-Be Squatter Turned Away In Jordan Neighborhood...

Photo by Michael Spivak, blog post by John Hoff

Michael Spivak, a soon-to-be attorney who lives in the Jordan Neighborhood, emailed me about a week ago in regard to a rather notable conversation he had in front of his house. The view from Mike's front porch is pictured above.

Here's what happened, in Mike's own words...


I just had an interesting interaction with someone. My dog Bear started to bark so I thought maybe Mail Guy (tm) was here. He likes Bear so when he comes by, I let Bear go out to say hi. Nope, no mail.

There was an African American woman, mid to late 20's, standing on the walk up to my front porch.

"Sorry," she informed me. "From the outside, the house looked abandoned. I was just looking for a place to stay."

She then left and drove off in her Cadillac, light brown on bottom, tan on top, license roughly CGB 555 (or 559 or something similar).

Johnny Northside says: Mike, it is actually lovely. Instead of an empty house, your house is occupied and in great shape. Our neighborhood is no longer a place where squatters have easy pickings. We're watching, we're calling, and we're revitalizing. I do hope the woman finds a decent and legal place to live, though.

This story is a reminder to all of us: if you see folks in a house who appear to be squatting, get in touch with the authorities. Over and over again, if necessary. And don't think squatters may not be bright enough to have some faked up piece of paper purporting to be a lease. But you can't exactly fake a rental license.

(Blogging from near Jefferson City, Tennessee)


Jeff Nelson said...

Well his house must not look that great if a squatter thinks that it "looks abandoned." Your words not mine.

Anonymous said...


When you say "you can't fake a rental license", how do you know this? Did you help the Jordan neighborhood people try to fake one to cover up for their illegal use of that structure?

You need to start telling your crew to start living up to the same standards you demand of the "slumlords".

And I really believe this, but I suppose you won't publish this because you think I am some "troll".

Johnny Northside! said...

I'm not even a MEMBER of JACC.

Sometimes it's good to let trolls have their say just so they can demonstrate to everybody how STOOPID they are.

Anonymous said...


I believe the Anon Guy said "your crew" was slumlords. We know you are not on the JACC board. But your crew is on the board.

I suppose you can't take the heat and will not publish this, thus confirming you are a fraud blog.

MeganG. said...

I'll have to go back and check through some records but I'm pretty sure that as of right now the JACC board member that has the longest continuous service is Keith "1564" Reitman. I think he has been on the board now for about 4 or 5 straight years. I'm pretty sure he was a board member before JACC moved into the house at 2009 James.

The former executive director, who is a close friend and business associate of Keith "1564" Reitman was the one who struck up the deal with Ackerburg to move the JACC office to this house.

The house was not built to be an office. But I beleive after not being able to find a buyer for the house that is when the former executive director at JACC worked out a rental agreement with Ackerburg.

So my question is, since Keith "1564" Reitman and the former executive director both know city regulations very well and also since Keith "1564"Reitman" is somewhat older and walks with a cane and sometimes a walking boot cast, why did it not occur to him that JACC should have an office that is either ADA compliant or at least easier to access?

Also, I'd like to hear from Keith "1564" Reitman about how many complaints and grievances he has seen come into the JACC organization from mobility impaired folks who haven't been able to participate. I am pretty sure Keith "1564" Reitman usually sits on all or most of the grievance committees when they are convened to deal with recent grievances.

Keith "1564" Reitman, let's hear from you, the comment thread is open for substantive dialogue.

Michael Spivak said...

Jeff: Actually, the house was completely rehabbed last spring before I purchased the place and had a hyper dog jumping up and down in the door. I may let the yard go a bit longer than I should, but who doesn't? Take a look at the picture.

Not sure why she was scoping out my house and not the one across the street that is empty.

Northside Flipper said...

I must comment on Jeff Nelson's post. Mr Spivak's home has been completely rehabbed. It's sad to me that Mr Nelson would assume the house "must not look that great" because a squatter thought it "looked abandoned." Are we judging how great homes look now based on the opinion of a squatter? Sheesh. I'd love to post some photos, but I'll leave that up to Mr Spivak.

Anonymous said...

I think the troll comments show the true character of the 2 or 3 imbeciles who continue to attack this blog. They really have nothing substantial to contribute, just angry nonsensical rants. These people have made their lives on keeping our population poor, angry and living in unacceptable conditions....while they creep back to their comfortable homes in some other neighborhood. They keep attacking this blog because they are trying desperately to take the focus off of themselves. Keep up the great work JNS and I am glad to hear you aren't going to waste any more energy on these losers.

Kevin said...

It's also very possible the woman said what she said because she was caught off guard and that's the first thing that popped into her head. In other words, she was looking for an excuse to be on the property. She may have been checking out the place with the intent of breaking in and robbing the house.

Anonymous said...


You know, this is the City Pages award winning best metro blog, don't you?

It is just as likely that this blog is very prominent and people disagree with some of the posters on here. Your outlandish conspiracy theory that there are 3 mega slum lords trolling the blog to stop John from revitilizing NoMi is a little far fetched, to say the least.

MeganG. said...

My first thought when reading about this "squatter" incident was that she actually may have been scoping out the house to ROB it thinking it looked nice and occupied and NOT to squat in it, however when she was confronted she was caught off guard and had to think of a quick reason for being where she was and the first thing she thought was she needed a place to stay. Also, to her defense, saying she needed a place to stay could have ALSO been her way of saying she is looking for a house to rent.

So, while it was a bizarre and interesting interaction, it could have been much WORSE intentions or much more innocent intentions.

Either way Spivak is an asset by being here and keeping eyes on the streets and boots on the ground.

And certainly Jenny the fliiper, aka Northside Flipper is an asset by taking these homes and making them better.

Thanks to both of you!

Jeanie Hoholik said...


I sold this home and, believe me, it's one of the prettiest homes in Jordan. Jennifer, North Minneapolis Flipper Extraordinaire, transformed this property to it's proper stature and the entire facade was redone, including the front porch to reflect it's original charm. It's more than great, it's awesome!

Anonymous said...

Then why are you letting squatters on your property. That can't be good for the neighborhood. We should be discouraging this activity.

MeganG. said...

Spivak, Northside Flipper, Jeanie the realtor, everybody: just ignore this troll. Obviously they are trying to stir the pot and get us all riled up.

I say in honor of this troll comment, go do a revitalization effot: make a 311 call, spend an extra hour on your rehab project, recruit a new NoMi buyer. Dedicate a revitalization effort to this troll.

matt said...

Ever occur to any of you goofs that squatting is illegal?

MeganG. said...

Just ignore "Matt"

And find a revitalization effort to dedicate to him. :-)

Anonymous said...

GREAT IDEA Megan! Thanks trolls...your craziness is going to motivate me to call 311 or 911 even more.

Homes For The Homeless said...

If an occupier has no ownership documents, no lease or tenancy agreement, no record of having paid rent to a landlord, and no other evidence of occupancy rights exist, then the occupier is a squatter.

It is perhaps of no consolation to landlords that squatters often believe they have a perfect right to occupy when properties are left vacant, especially for long periods.

Even so, the squatter has rights. Squatters cannot be legally evicted from premises without a court possession order, unless they leave voluntarily or the owner secures peacable re-entry.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

Homes for the Homeless,

I doubt that what you're saying is true. Otherwise it would take WEEKS or MONTHS to get someone out of a property when they are clearly trespassing.

Anonymous said...

You're exactly right Hawkman. The MPD will arrest a trespasser. God bless the 4th the Precinct.

MeganG. said...

Actually, I do believe HomesForHomeless is right, but this is only IF the squatter is refusing to leave/vacate voluntarily, which probably rarely happens.

If a squatter is digging in heels & refusing to cooperate w/ authorities to vacate a premise then whoever is trying to repossess the property would need to go through housing court.

They would file an eviction action against any/all John & Jane Does. They would serve the summons,by posting most likely. They would appear in court, the squatter would have right to appear in court and Judge would make ruling.

More than likely no squatter is going to appear, so Judge issues immediate writ of recovery, writ needs to be served again, most likely by posting. And then 24 hours (or whatever writ says) the locks can be changed, building secured, belongings removed & if people are still present after that final 24 hours the sheriff deputies can physically remove them. Again, this probably RARELY happens in a vacant-abandoned-squatter type situation. The key is if someone is claiming they have right to occupy, then they have a chance to their day in court. And I believe in this situation it probably would be a two week time period if the complaintant does everything timely.

Mostly this would probably happen in cases of homeless & mental illness situations.

Homes For The Homeless said...

In Minnesota, a group called the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign recently moved families into 13 empty homes; in Philadelphia, the Kensington Welfare Rights Union maintains seven “human rights houses” shared by 13 families. Cheri Honkala, who is the national organizer for the Minnesota group and was homeless herself once, likened the group’s work to “a modern-day underground railroad,” and said squatters could last up to a year in a house before eviction.

Homes For The Homeless said...

First, if you notice squatters or trespassers are living on your property, it's recommended that you hire a professional service to evict them. Approaching and dealing with them personally could expose you to risk. Plus, property owners may not realize that it's possible to infringe upon the squatters' legal rights by barging in (despite having true ownership).

Next, file a claim of repossession of your property through the County Court or the High Court. You should have the guidance of a solicitor to ensure you follow the correct procedure. Once your ownership of the property has been proven, the Court can enforce its order by having the squatters removed.

Getting Your Property Back
Physically evict the squatters. Regardless of the status of the legal situation, it is important to reclaim physical ownership of the property. Do not confront squatters on your own as this could be a dangerous situation. Hire a professional eviction company to clear your property. They are trained in confrontational situations and know how to handle it. Immediately change all locks on doors and windows to prevent re-entry of the squatters.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

One comment gave explicit details about how to squat in a property and was rejected on the grounds that it encouraged illegal behavior.

Matt said...

Good lord....all the dumb posts on here. In Mpls if you have a yellow sign posted per the ordinance (supplied free of charge for the asking from the police Dept) a squatter can be immediately removed from the property and cited for trespass. If the cops show up and there is not a lease the squatter can produce they will remove them on the spot.

But like Megan G. says ignore Matt. What does he know....besides the actual trespass ordinance pertaining to exactly the situation.

There seems to be this stupid troll crap witch hunt going on do anyone with a comment outside the little circle on here. Post every thing what in the world is the point of not posting everyone's comments. Who cares, I have seen so many terrible things stated on this blog that there is no way there can be any justification for not posting a comment good or bad.

And this 311 and 911 crap.....what the hell is that about. If ytou have a problem with your neighbor call them up or knock on their door and quit running to the city to babysit for you. When I have a problem I talk to the party involved and if you ever want North Mpls to truly change then you have to start working together rather than having constant intervention from the authorities do your dirty work while peering through your window blinds and giggling when they come over for nonsensical reports. You are wasting city resources. But then again, everyone is a troll who posts comments on here that call for citizens to start acting like they are older than a 3rd grader.

Either you want to make the public more educated in a honest way or spew worthless rhetoric. Let's see if you post this one for once.

Anonymous said...

Megan and Homeless enabler,

You two are crazy. Trespassing is a crime. If someone is in my house and doesn't belong I will shoot them. That is my right as a homeowner.

Lawyer Joe said...

I don't think the whole "defending your castle" concept applies if you are not an owner occupant. Obviously if you can prove you are defending your life against equal force your ok but owner occupants are given a bit more leeway in that they can shoot first and ask questions later but only for an intruder inside their primary residence.

Not Crazy said...


As best I can tell the theory is that there are two or three evil slumlords who sit home at their computers all day and post "troll" comments to this blog. They do so in an effort to lower the morale of the half dozen or so members of the JNS crew.

You see, if these evil slumlords can stop the heroic revitalizing efforts of the JNS crew then they will be free to continue their evil slumlord plans to destroy north Minneapolis.

It's really quite simple.

MeganG. said...

I'm not referring to a trespasser that admits or is obvious that they are a trespasser. I am referring to an unauthorized occupant who is claiming occupancy rights or is refusing to leave/cooperate.

Go ahead, call 911 and if the occupier gives the police any sort of indication that they have a right to be there, or that is their home by permission, by ownership or by tenancy, the police will not and can not force that person to move.

Again, I'm referring to occupants that refuse to leave or claim rights. Which I stated will very rarely happen, but it does every once in a while.

la_vie_en_rose said...

Thirteen families into empty homes? Where do I sign up?? I can definitely afford to make payments on a house every month (I was paying my mother-in-law's house payments in Indiana while she rented in a town, trying to get a job at Honda), but lenders won't give me the time of day which is why I rent.

Anonymous said...


It's ok for a person to admit they're wrong once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

Matt I agree. The people who called 311 on the Jordan neighborhood association should have just talked to them about whatever it was bothering them.

Johnny Northside said...

Nothing is going to come of that Jordan house matter. Jordan is going to be fine and come out on top. You watch.

NoMi Revitawarrior said...

I did watch John. I also called. I want to revitalize NoMi too. And the NoMi I envision is ADA compliant and the zoning ordinance is strictly enforced.