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Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #1 

I was recently effectively and unfairly forced out of my home of 5 years in the Phillips Neighborhood in south Minneapolis due to unfair terms presented to me by the new landlords, Antonio Vejas (sp?) and Candace M. Myers.  The previous landlord, Joel D. Mugge, had apparently selfishly put the building at risk of foreclosure by defaulting on a large additional mortgage (or possibly mortgages) that he had taken out on the property.  I was unaware of the large additional mortgage(s) when, as Building Superintendent, I had, by my own initiative and largely uncompensated, brought the building and property back to life from an unlivable condition and made it my home.  The rest of the story is told in the following two letters that I wrote to Antonio Vejas (sp?) and Candace M. Myers.  I will detail the other despicable actions of Mr. Mugge in a later post.
Kirk R. Lund
Wednesday 10 March 2010
     Dear Antonio & Candace:
I want to welcome you as the new owners of the building.  I have taken great pride in the care of this property for the last four years, and it has become my home.  I would very much like to continue serving as Building Superintendent.
      A Little History:
When I was hired to take care of the building and property in March 2006, the building and yard were both in appalling condition.  The tenants who had lived in Apartment #4 for the previous six years had completely failed to take care of it.  It looked as if they had never cleaned the entire time that they had lived there.  The apartment was filthy, with piles of dirt and used cat litter everywhere, including in the window sills.  When the locksmith came to change the locks, he completed only the front door lock to the apartment and then fled because he felt that the condition of the apartment was too hazardous.  Cat urine and feces were rotting the hardwood floor in what is now my bedroom.  When I removed the cat-urine-soaked rotting hardwood floor, I got a chest infection that put me in bed for three days and required a prescription medication to eliminate.
         As Building Superintendent, I have done the following:
In cleaning up and renovating the yard: 
* I picked up countless loads of trash from all over the yard, including large chucks of scrap metal, car fenders and bumpers, old tires, etc..., and hauled it all to the City of Minneapolis South-Side Transfer disposal facility.  Since the initial clean-up I have made numerous additional trips to the South-Side Transfer with items from the building left by tenants as well as items illegally dumped on the property.
* I continue to pick up all trash from the yard on a daily basis in order to maintain a clean yard. 
* I installed four 5-gallon buckets, wired to posts at the four corners of the property.  I keep trash bags in these buckets and empty them when they get full.  This step has significantly reduced the  amount of trash that passers-by throw on the property.
* I cut down two dead trees and cut all the dead branches that I could reach out of all the other tress on the property. 
* I pruned the overgrown bushes in front of the building. 
* I patched all the deteriorating concrete on the property, although, after this heavy-iced winter, I would like to re-do some of it this summer.
* I have put up and maintained necessary signs around the property.
* I put down weed-barrier plastic, wood chips, and garden edging around the entire building.
* I planted grass-seed to fill in the large sections of the yard that were bare dirt.
* I built a community fire pit area (which passed inspection by the city fire marshal)
* I built a horseshoe pit in the back yard.
* I built a basketball court in the rear parking area and have held many neighborhood pick-up games there. 
* I planted a tomato garden, and I would like to plant some flower gardens (hopefully with a grant from Hennepin County or the City of Minneapolis), because there is research showing that flower gardens reduce the amount of trash that passers-by throw on a property.
In cleaning up and renovating the building: 
* I cleaned up the basement of the building.  In addition to the debris left in the basement by previous tenants, I hauled out three full-size garbage cans full of concrete and plaster chunks and dust from the deteriorating basement walls. 
* I did the necessary mortar tuck-pointing in the basement to stop all the leaks in the walls. 
* I have continued to keep the basement free of dust, and have taken steps to seal up the basement walls in order to prevent the walls from deteriorating further and producing more dust to clean up.
* I painted the front entry hallway of the building and have primed and painted the back hallway of the building, including the stair treads, baseboards, and all other previously painted trim.
* I installed seven new hand-rails with returns in the stairwells of the building.  (There were three existing hand-rails, to which I added returns.)
* I scraped all the peeling paint off the porches, trim, and gutters; repaired the places where the trim was rotting; and primed it all.  I have put the topcoat of paint on some of it, and would like to finish the project this summer.
* I re-finished the second-level front deck floor, and would like to re-finish the first-level deck floor this summer.
* I made two outdoor cigarette-butt depositories and put one by both the front and back entrances to the building, at a cost nearly one-eighth the cost of buying two new, manufactured ones.
In caring for and renovating the apartments:
* I have twice cleaned out abandoned tenant belongings and stored them for the required 60 days - once from Apartment #1, after the police drug raid, and once from Apartment #3, after the tenants failed to pay rent for three months, ignored the notice of unlawful detainer, and failed to appear at the court date.
* I have painted Apartment #1 twice and Apartment #3 twice.
* I have installed peep holes on six of the eight apartment entrance doors.
* I have done numerous repairs in all the apartments.
All four apartments have had tenants for the vast majority of the time that I have been Building Superintendent.
In cleaning up and renovating my apartment:
* I removed all the door knobs, latches, hinges, and other hardware, as well as all the fixtures,
and soaked them in a bleach solution, replacing what needed to be replaced.
* I patched all the holes in the walls and ceilings. 
* I thoroughly washed every surface in the apartment. 
* I primed and painted all the walls and ceilings. 
* I installed new counter-top laminate in the kitchen. 
* I installed a new solid-core front entrance door to the apartment to replace the existing flimsy interior door.
I have already purchased, and have on site, most of the paint, stain, concrete and mortar mix, and other materials needed to complete the renovation of the building.
I have been through a great deal working at and living in this building during the last four years.  When I started as Building Superintendent, trespassing and vandalism were a routine occurrence on the property.  There were people routinely trespassing on the front porch, selling and using drugs.  After one tenant in Apartment #2 moved out, it became apparent that he had been selling drugs out of the apartment.  People would come in the middle to the night and bang on the windows of Apartment #2 looking for their drug dealer, Abdi.  On one of these occasions, the banging was so loud that it woke me up with a start on the second floor.
Vandalism to the property has included graffiti, damage to the chain-link fence, and broken windows. On one occasion, someone cut a hole in one of the first-floor front porch windows, apparently with a torch.  The window cost more than $60.00 to replace. 
The building has also experienced police raids.  About two years ago, the police broke down the front entrance door to the building as well as the front entrance door to Apartment #1 in a drug raid,  They insisted on screwing shut all the windows and doors with security screws to keep any of my neighbor's accomplices from re-entering the apartment.  When we asked them to lock the windows from the inside in a non-destructive manner, they refused and went ahead with screwing them shut.  I fixed the front entrance door to the building and replaced the antique glass window with maple plywood and a peep hole.  I had previously repaired the building's front entrance door due to a police raid in 1997, when I lived in Apartment #2 for a year-and-a-half.  This repair is still in place today.
Twice when there were domestic abuse crises with the tenants, I offered whatever help I was able and stayed at the property until the crises was over, even though I had somewhere else that I was supposed to be at the time.  I have tried my very best to be a diligent and responsible Building Superintendent.
The quality of life at the property has improved because of the significant work I have done to improve the building and property and because of my vigilance and dedication in confronting and deterring people who were trespassing on and vandalizing the property, and who were dealing and using drugs on the property. Crime has not been a problem at the property for over two years now.
I have also been vigilant in keeping unauthorized vehicles from parking in the tenant parking area in the rear of the property.  Despite my vigilance and the clearly posted signs warning people that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense, people still sometimes park there unauthorized.  I have developed a parking citation to place on the windshield of unauthorized vehicles as a warning, and on a few occasions I have called Cedar Towing to have a vehicle towed, but the owner of the vehicle has always come back and moved their vehicle before the tow truck arrived – as people most often park there for only a short period of time in order to run into the nearby Somali Market.
I would like to get a video surveillance system for the property, as further deterrence and in order to have something to go on if these problems do re-surface on the property – and also because unauthorized dumping of large unwanted items by the trash containers in the rear of the property continues to be a problem.  In the meantime I have put up signs that say "Absolutely NO Dumping Allowed" and "This Area Under 24-Hour Recorded Video & Audio Surveillance" as a measure of deterrence.
I have represented RiverTown Property Management (RTPM) well, and have been the face of this property and defended it for four years now.  I have spent many more hours maintaining, improving, and defending this property than those for which I have been compensated.  I was adequately paid for my work during my first year as Building Superintendent, but, after that, I put in tens of thousands of dollars of uncompensated labor in renovating and maintaining the property.  I did most of these things on my own initiative simply because they needed to be done.
      Future Needs for the Property:
The work in the building that I have yet to complete or have otherwise been unable to complete is as follows: 
* Complete exterior porch, trim, and gutter painting.
* Re-finish first-floor front porch floor.
* Replace back building entrance door.  (I have tried on several occasions to fix it so that it will shut on its own and not catch on the floor.  The existing door and frame needs to be replaced with a pre-hung door.)                              
* Repair gutters on the south side of the building.
* Repair chimney.                                         
These are all jobs that I can do.
The work in the apartments that I have not yet completed is as follows: 
            Apartment #1:  
* Remove deteriorating wallpaper in dining room, kitchen, and bathroom.                                                                     
* Apply drywall compound, sand, prime, and paint walls. 
            Apartment #2:  
* Finish sheet-rocking, apply drywall compound and tape, sand, and paint around bathroom sink.  (The sink had fallen off the wall.  I re-attached it and started sheet-rocking the bare lathe left exposed.) 
* At least three of the screens need to be repaired – thy were torn by the tenants who recently moved out - and I'm sure that there is other damage done by the most recent tenants.
* Install peep hole in back entrance door. 
            Apartment #3:  
* Apply final coat of topcoat paint to kitchen, hallway, bathroom, and both bedrooms,                                                  
* Replace flimsy 'interior' front entrance door with solid entrance door.
* Install peep hole in back entrance door.
            Apartment #4: 
* Install light-fixture/ceiling-fan combos in living room and dining room. 
* Replace hallway light fixture. 
* Finish renovating back bedroom.
These are all jobs that I can do.  (I do not do major plumbing nor major electrical work.)
I have put my blood, sweat, and tears into cleaning up, renovating, maintaining, and defending this property.  It is my home, I am proud of what I have accomplished here, and I want to continue working as well as living here.
I welcome you as the new owners of this property.  As you make your home here, I hope you will see that my work has increased the value of your property.  It is a property in very good condition due to my initiative, hard work, and dedication.
As the new owners, the management of this property is now in your hands.  I hope that I have demonstrated that I am qualified and would very much like to partner with you in the management of this property.  I'd like to meet with you to discuss my future tenancy here, and my bid to be your Building Superintendent.  I hope that we can come to  an agreement that is beneficial to both of us.
Kirk R. Lund,   HandyMan
                         Election Integrity Advocate
                         Building Superintendent
Kirk R. Lund
Wednesday 12 January 2011
      Antonio Vejas (sp?) & Candace M. Myers:
I am now 100% moved out of the apartment, building, and property.  I thoroughly cleaned the apartment as well as the common areas of the building and property.  I removed all the screws and anchors from the walls and ceiling in the apartment, and I left the holes unfilled, as you specified.  I have left your property in the clean and orderly condition in which I kept it for the last nearly 5 years.
You told me that you “cannot and should not be penalized for actions that took place before…[you]…took ownership” of the property.  However, you failed to properly recognize the unique nature of my largely uncompensated work on the property and to give me the credit and respect that I deserved as well as had earned.  You nearly completely ignored me and treated me as irrelevant when I had taken it upon myself to clean up, fix up, and maintain this property when it was a complete DISASTER and NO ONE ELSE would take care of it.  I made this property my home and created there a safe place for families to live and for children to play.
You DID owe me respect and credit for all that I did for the property, even though my work began before you took ownership of the property.  My work and initiative allowed you to buy a well-maintained property for less than half its market value, instead of a SLUM, as Mr. Mugge had kept the property before I started there.  I seriously doubt that you would have even considered buying the property had it still been in the condition in which Mr. Mugge had kept it before I started there.
I deserved and had earned the right to be treated as a partner in the management of the property – maybe not a financial partner, but a partner nonetheless.  I had accepted that I would not be able to own my home that I had built at this property, but I had EARNED respect and communication from you about the management of the property and your plans for it.  And if you hired people to additional renovation work in the building, I deserved and had earned the right to be one of the people hired to do this work.  This is not being “penalized,” but rather giving recognition, credit, and respect for my work from which you greatly benefited.  Instead, you ignored my letter of welcome, introduction, and outreach to you and all of my work, dedication, and loyalty to the property.
Did you even read my first letter to you?! – if you did read it, I can hardly believe that you treated me the way you did – and in case you did not read it, I have enclosed a copy to give you another chance to read it.
I reached out to you in good faith and tried to develop a good relationship with you, and you ignored me and treated me as irrelevant.  You left me in the dark for months and months about your plans for the building – about your plans for my HOME.  You never offered me a lease.  Sometimes it is more about what you don’t do than what you do.
And then I made a mistake by putting cat litter in the toilet (a mistake I deeply regret), and you cowardly sent me a letter through your lawyer kicking me out of my home.  You can’t hide behind your lawyer to avoid taking responsibility for sending this letter to me.  Even though you “never saw the letter,” it was sent on your behalf, and you are responsible for it.
I was not just a tenant who lived in the building – I was the one who brought the property back to life from a terrible unlivable condition.  I am the one who took care of the property WHEN NO ONE ELSE WOULD!  I cared deeply about the property and you didn’t care at all about me or all the work that I had put into the property – or at least you sure didn’t show it (actions speak louder than words!).  Where is your remorse for your terrible treatment of me?  I deserved much better than this from you.  Just because you have a legal right to do something does not necessarily mean that taking that action is not morally wrong.  If you think that you treated me fairly, then you do not expect nearly enough of yourself in how you treat other people.
So you can stop pretending that you have treated me fairly, and you can take your pseudo-niceties and shove them!
You 'STOLE' my HOME and EVERYTHING I did at the property from me.
Kirk R. Lund

Posts: 3,809
Reply with quote  #2 
Grr, I hate when I lose my post.  I had it all typed out...

This probably won't be well received, but let me sumarize...

Kirk, remove identifiers from your post (names, addresses, etc.)  You can be sued or open youself to hackers and scams.  You even named their attorney for heavens sake.  You dont want sued.  Go back and edit and take them out!

Next, I don't know what you expect.  You were an at-will employee there (no contract).  Your services were terminated.  And while you feel it was your "home", it was the property of the apartment complex.  When your employment terminated, your right to stay in the unit ended.  Happens all the time.  You may have felt it was your home, but you didn't own it.  You were only the tenant.

You seem to feel underappreciated and angry.  That was the old owner's fault, not these people.  You should have taken that up with the old owner.  You chose to put in unpaid hours and extra work.  Now you feel cheated.  You were cheated by no one but yourself.  These owners bought the property in that condition (which included your labor).  They had paid for it.  New owners often bring in their own management teams (including maintenance).  These new owners owed you nothing.  Did you think new owners would come in with a sense of gratitude for things you did for someone else?  That doesn't put you in the best light to a new owner.

Your letter didn't help your cause I'm afraid.  It doesn't read as you think it does.  I'm sorry to say that you sound as if you are bragging and almost territorial (as an owner!)  You were supposed to be the loyal employee, but it doesn't read that way.  Being completely removed from the situation, I can say that you probably should have simply welcomed the owners and given them a resume of your skills (as if applying for the job with them.)  For instance, instead of:  "When I was hired to take care of the building and property in March 2006, the building and yard were both in appalling condition.  The tenants who had lived in Apartment #4 for the previous six years had completely failed to take care of it.  It looked as if they had never cleaned the entire time that they had lived there.  The apartment was filthy, with piles of dirt and used cat litter everywhere, including in the window sills.  When the locksmith came to change the locks, he completed only the front door lock to the apartment and then fled because he felt that the condition of the apartment was too hazardous.  Cat urine and feces were rotting the hardwood floor in what is now my bedroom.  When I removed the cat-urine-soaked rotting hardwood floor, I got a chest infection that put me in bed for three days and required a prescription medication to eliminate."  It would have been better to list this as part of a resume as such:

March 2006 - present     Building Supeintendent

Renovated Apt 4 from uninhabitable condition by:

-Cleaned & removed animal waste

-Removed & replaced rotted hardwood floors


-Excellent attendance record

-Brought building up to current buildng codes

-Remediated deferred maintenance issues

   etc...  but stating only factual SKILLS


The further items could have been incuded on your resume in the same impartial manner.  It conveys a better impression of the person than complaining about receiving an infection in a unit or speaking of other employees running from that place.  If you truely wanted to keep your job there, you needed to ask for it just as if you were any other person, not with a sense of entitlement.


Later you could have sent them a list of jobs that have been completed, those in progrees, and those you had proposed to the previous owners for the future, asking (of course) if they would like to continue with this course of action.  The other items, (DV, police raids, vandalism, etc.) should have been omitted unless they asked.


Your second letter gives a bad impression to everyone who reads it.  You WERE an employee there.  You lived there as a tenant.  You didn't own the property, though it reads as if you did.  You were terminated and asked to leave.  The sense of entitlement is so strong.  You were entitled to a paycheck for work rendered, nothing more.  Sorry, but I can't see where you were wronged.


Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #3 

      Dear OHlandlord –

Thank you for your reply to my post.

And I hate it too when I have something all typed out and then hit the wrong button or something and lose it.  I hear you!

I have taken your advice and removed the address of the building from my post.  I did not name the landlord's attorney in my post.  The only attorney named in my post is myself.

As to the other names, I chose to leave these in.  I made no false statements in my post.  The overall substance and spirit of everything in my post is true, and truth is a complete defense to a defamation lawsuit (  However, in reviewing my post in light of your advice, and guided by a little research into Minnesota defamation law, I have made a few minor changes to my post to protect myself from a frivolous defamation lawsuit.

As to the other content of my post and how I feel I was treated, we are going to have to agree to disagree.  This is my experience, and this is how I feel.  Even though I have no legal recourse, this does not mean that I was treated fairly.  My only recourse now is to tell my story.

My post details why I feel that mine was a very unique situation, and why I feel that I deserved to be treated better.  It is fine with me that you disagree with this.

I strive to live by the Golden Rule (Do onto others as you would have done onto you).  Had I been in the shoes of the landlord, I know that I would have treated someone in my situation just as I expected to be treated in the same situation.  Mohandas K. 'Mahatma' Gandhi said, "You must be the change that you wish to see in the world."

I chose to include a detailed history of my work at the property in my initial letter of outreach to the new owners of the property because it was a very unique situation and because I believed that this information was relevant.  I sent the second letter in my post to the new owners only after I felt forced to leave my home in the face of the unfair terms presented to me by the landlord.  If I had not included a detailed history of my work at the property, but instead had presented myself simply as a job applicant without a unique history at, and loyalty to a property that I had brought back to life and made my home, the landlord may have simply dismissed me and gone with his own people anyway.  In this case, I would have felt that I had not done all that I could and had not made my best argument.

My uncompensated work at the property allowed the new owners to buy a well-maintained property for less than half its market value, giving them a windfall profit. I did not expect to share in that monetary profit, but I did expect the new owners to acknowledge what I had done for the property and not to treat me as irrelevant. I did not deserve to be ignored as I was.  I expected them to acknowledge that this was my home (given the horrific condition of the property when I started there, and given all the work I had done, not only on my apartment, but on the entire building and property). Just because I did not hold the deed to the property does not mean that it was not my home. I was loyal to the property and did not deserve to be effectively forced out of my home there in the way that I was.

So we will have to agree to disagree.  But I thank you for your perspective on my post and for your advice.


Kirk R. Lund


Posts: 20
Reply with quote  #4 

I would have to agree with OHLL...

Although this is a few weeks past since you're a fan of powerful quotes I would recommend to you a book of philosphy (told through a fantasy environment), "Faith of the Fallen" - Terry Goodkind.

In there you'll find the disgusting places some people have to call home, you'll also find a main character who acts as you did, cleaned up the place and made it respectable. He is not rewarded for his actions, but he does not have your sense of entilement either.

What you did for the property was wonderful, but it was done for the betterment of yourself as well as others. When you make improvements to a property that you do not own the deed to, you're doing them for your own health/enjoyment while inhabiting the building. Perhaps also out of a wonderful sense of "do-goodery" but that chartiable nature is destroyed when you demand the reward and respect in the way you did.

I believe also in helping and doing things because I can, but you can't expect things back for it. That will only cause you to become bitter and angry and make others even less likely to reciprocate.

You must, for your own future happiness, do one of the following:
  1. Get compensation for your work before it is done (raise, approved OT, etc.)
  2. Do the work and never expect anything in return, accept your feeling of pride and accomplishment as payment
  3. Do not do the work.
I wish you luck in your future work and hope that you find a way to continue to contribute to society without that sense of entitlement. You seem like a nice person overall, just too demanding.

Posts: 5
Reply with quote  #5 
Dear Elky -

Thank you for your response to my post.

I cleaned up, fixed up, and maintained the property because it was in an unlivable condition and it was the right thing to do - for myself, for the other tenants living in the building, and for the neighborhood.  If I had it to do over again, I would do it all again.

I had accepted that I would not be able to own the property as I wanted to.  I did not expect the new owners to give me the property or to make me a financial partner in its management.  I did expect the new owners to recognize the uniqueness of the situation and the work that I had done at the property.  I expected them to respond to my letter to them inviting them into a dialogue with me.  I sincerely tried to develop a good relationship with the new owners, and they did not have the decency to even talk with me.  Instead, they ignored me and treated me as irrelevant.

As far as my contributions to society, the work that I did at this property is not the whole story.  As a child, my sister and I went along with our Mother when she did Meals on Wheels - bringing hot meals to shut-in senior citizens.  I have made multiple volunteer trips to Mexico to build houses for families in need - including spending an entire summer on staff with the organization.  I have worked with Habitat For Humanity as an AmeriCorps Construction Assistant and Site-Supervisor, as well as volunteered with Habitat For Humanity in Minnesota and New York.  During law school, I worked as a summer intern with Texas Rural Legal Aid - working on cases defending migrant farmworkers against abuse. I helped to found a free legal aid clinic in south Minneapolis and logged hundreds of volunteer hours providing pro-bono legal representation to low-income clients.  My mission in life is to help to make the world a better place.  I freely volunteer my time.

So, yes, after I cleaned up, fixed up, and maintained the property largely uncompensated, I did expect that the new owners would show me enough respect to talk with me and not treat me as irrelevant.  So I won't apologize if I did not simply say thank you and walk away when I was unfairly kicked out of my home.


Kirk R. Lund

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