My building manager spit at me...and they didn't fire him. What do I do?
August 11, 2023 12:53 PM   Subscribe

I live in a mixed use luxury condo building that is heavily guarded. A congresswoman lives here too. It's SAFE (I need that for multiple reasons). Or so I thought. I was viewing some office space a few floors below me, and the building manager did what is detailed below. The building didn't fire him. They told me to deadbolt my door (not safe, I have major health issues and I don't need the paramedics cutting down an 8 foot door and wasting time if my asthma is killing me) and that he wasn't allowed on my floor. I don't feel safe in ANY of the common space and have to get a security escort to go outside. I'm afraid to go in my hallway to take the trash out. Anyone here have experience with something like this?

He initially made me uncomfortable by coming to my unit alone with no work order multiple times in the past, so I asked to not work with him on the space planning, and told him that to his face, with multiple witnesses. He followed me when I tried to walk away from our interaction and security had to get between us and tell him to leave me alone. He then waited until security had deposited me in the unit I was viewing and left the floor, to come and block the exit and aggressively spit at me. I screamed, hit the ground etc. Security intervened. I was behind the desk making a report and he once again came down and attempted to come behind the desk. They sent him home, the next day, I'm leaving my house and he's right outside, staring at me and said Hello Ma'am as he walked towards me. I hit the ground bawling again. All on camera. I'm TERRIFIED of COVID (high risk) and lost my partner to it. I've got PTSD and it's triggered so bad. I haven't slept in weeks unless I get a hotel room, and that's expensive and hard on my health. I've lost use of my home, my dreams of working in my same building and being SAFE.

They offered to buy my condo from me and give me 5k to move. A JOKE right? A few local attorneys don't want to take the case because the property was developed by a company that owns 1million square feet of real estate in the area. They have a big stick. Other attorneys want the case but like a 40% cut
posted by lextex to Law & Government (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
He spit on you? I think that counts as assault. Call the police.
posted by Jess the Mess at 1:00 PM on August 11 [27 favorites]

what do you want to happen?

If you want a financial settlement, a 40% cut is not unusual for a tort attorney. It's 1/3 even for something as easy to settle as a car accident.

If you want the guy arrested for assault, you can talk to the police about it. (Actually I'd do this anyway, if it's not too late to get a police report.)

If you just want the guy fired, I guess you can tweet them, write the company CEO personally (include that police report if you can get it,) call the local news to pressure the company, etc.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:02 PM on August 11 [14 favorites]

Other attorneys want the case but like a 40% cut

This is a normal contingency fee for a personal injury lawsuit. If you recover, advanced case costs will also come either off the top or out of your share, depending on the agreement. The alternative would be funding the litigation yourself (costs and hourly fees), which may be what you have to do if you hire a different kind of lawyer (like a condo/HOA lawyer).

You're an owner. Have you complained to the condo board, directly; or are you just dealing with hired management?
posted by snuffleupagus at 1:08 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Somehow a mod always gets on to me with how I handle questions here. So, I'll try and respond and await a scolding.

The holding companies CFO flew in from the Bahamas to meet with me...they are taking it as seriously as they can, without firing him or moving him to another property because they understand that I'm moving out's breaking my heart, but I can't be this afraid all of the time.

I do lawsuit reform for a living. They can miss me with that 40%. It's not standard, it's theft IMHO.

Our HOA was never established because the owners held a few units for their own rentals and the bylaws don't allow it. My neighbors are APPALLED and concerned that he will retaliate against all of us if fired.

I know it's assault. It's also stalking (after the second unwanted contact) I don't want to face retaliation for costing him his livelihood and potentially jailing him. He obviously has zero respect for my safety or boundaries. We have armed security in the building. They function as our police and notified the PD and it's all on everyone's radar.

The development and holding company and I are negotiating. I just wanted to see if anyone had been through something similar.
posted by lextex at 1:20 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]

Best answer: they are taking it as seriously as they can, without firing him or moving him to another property because they understand that I'm moving out regardless.

Ok, so you don't actually want him fired because even if they fired him, you still wouldn't feel safe in the building, is that correct? So your goal is getting more compensation than the cost of the condo and 5k in moving expenses?
posted by coffeecat at 1:54 PM on August 11 [11 favorites]

> My neighbors are APPALLED and concerned that he will retaliate against all of us if fired.
> I don't want to face retaliation for costing him his livelihood and potentially jailing him.

This doesn't make sense. Nobody's pushing to have him fired because of concern he will retaliate, but meanwhile he has already done some demonstrably bad things, and probably will continue to escalate. So everyone (including you) is apparently OK with him staying and things likely getting worse just to avoid potential retaliation for him being fired? If you have armed security, at least he won't be in the building if he's fired.

Also, yes, it seems that your question is not "what do I do" but rather "how do I increase the settlement offer." Making that clear in your question would have helped the answers.

Without actually suing them and/or without a lawyer to make credulous threats about such a lawsuit, it is unlikely they are going to move much. Going to the media may or may not help, depending on how much they actually care about bad publicity.
posted by tubedogg at 2:09 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]

Maybe you could get a restraining order?

"Because they are afraid he will retaliate" doesn't seem like 100% safe strategy. I mean, does this mean he can do whatever he wants, because everyone's afraid of him?
posted by amtho at 2:11 PM on August 11 [15 favorites]

Seconding a restraining order, if you've got the physical and emotional energy to do it. You could get the forms filed and in front of a judge fairly quickly. Let the building ownership deal with the headache of managing a member of staff that has to stay 100m away from a resident at all times and maybe they'll rethink firing him. This might also turn up on future background checks (not on criminal checks but it will show up on checks of state court records) so it would be a possible warning to the next community that considers hiring him.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:32 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]

I don't know how you get more money, but this is very strange. I mean WHY don't they just fire him? Is he the owner's nephew? Does have blackmail material on the CEO? It seems like firing this guy is the absolute easiest thing they could do. Way easier than flying in from the Bahamas. I feel like if you really just want more money the answer to figuring out how might be in understanding why they don't fire him because obviously whatever that is is something they really valaue.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 2:39 PM on August 11 [26 favorites]

Wait...they held a few units back to use as rentals and if they never THEY will buy your unit? Is it possible they want you to move because they want another rental unit? Honestly it seems Scooby-doo level of weird villainy, but it's the only reason that comes to mind to explain why they would tolerate the manager's behaviour. Maybe they're hoping to drive out as many people as possible and run a rental building. What happens if they pay you $5000 to move out and then YOU rent out your unit. Or what if you sell it to someone else and they pay you to move out. Is that no longer a deal they would make?

I don't know what you do if that's the case but knowing what's happening must help somehow.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 3:52 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]

Anyone here have experience with something like this?

I read through your question a second time and this seems to be the only question in it. Is your goal just to talk to people who have been through a similar situation?

I'm guessing you don't want advice because you seem to be annoyed by receiving it, and have left out a lot of crucial information for understanding the situation (such as your jurisdiction, your communication with his bosses, what you're hoping to do). If so, I think there is a miscommunication happening because people who post to MeFi are usually looking for advice.

It's absolutely wild that he hasn't been fired. Sure, you're moving - but that doesn't mean the company wouldn't be liable if he escalated before you do, or if he moved on to stalking/assaulting your neighbors. There's something extremely wrong with the management, which makes me wonder whether there is anyone ABOVE the management who is refusing to fire him (is it a national company, for example).
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 5:09 PM on August 11 [26 favorites]

You said this was all on camera. Have you asked to see the footage? I wonder if there was a misunderstanding. Sometimes if I’m afraid, my fear response will be heightened and I might behave in a way that seems reasonable to me at the time, but it turns out was probably an overreaction.
posted by samthemander at 5:34 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: It's been wonderful to hear other's opinions. It's definitely not a black and white situation and my head is reeling from the shock of him following me after I very clearly asked him to leave me alone...and then the putting my life at risk with his biohazard assault and blocking my exit. If this had happened in a bar or in most places of employment or a school, he would be UNDER the jail.

The building owners would LOVE it if they could get my unit back. It's one of the most centrally located in the building and I've completely updated the inside etc. That's a great point @If only I had a penguin!

posted by lextex at 7:36 PM on August 11

As everybody had said, treat this like a personal injury case, with pain and suffering and all that. The standard is 33% if settlement can be reached before court date, else 40% if it actually had to go to court, and your attorney would know what to do. So please get one. If this is on camera, you need attorney ASAP as he needs to subpoena the video, security report, get affidavits from the security team if it's not enough. The longer you wait, the more likely there's no video to preserve (got overwritten). Then it becomes a case of I said / they said.

I wonder if the guy's a nepo-hire, but that's just my speculation. Please get an attorney ASAP.
posted by kschang at 10:41 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]

Like every other lawyer on here, I am going to tell you that you should have a lawyer for this. From your previous ask history, it appears you have an MJ so hopefully you understand that there are situations that people with attorneys can take advantage of those who aren't represented. A real estate company this large definitely has an attorney who will be advising them. This is not something you should go alone. A lawyer could help you get additional compensation to leave and advise you on your rights should you want to stay. They can also help you with a restraining order.
posted by notjustthefish at 7:55 AM on August 12 [7 favorites]

Do you have a relationship with a therapist (and maybe a psychiatrist, since it sounds like anxiety is a part of this -- I can't judge as a random person on the internet whether all of that anxiety is justified)? In addition to a lawyer, it seems like a mental health care team might be beneficial to working through these issues and planning your next moves in a way that is healthy and safe.
posted by Alterscape at 6:16 PM on August 12 [4 favorites]

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