AIDS EVICTION - Mitch Perry

02/12/04

Yesterday the The ACLU of Florida's Tampa Chapter filed a lawsuit on behalf of a New Port Richey man who was evicted from his home because he has AIDS.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit today in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Pasco County on behalf of 35 year old Stephen Stoltz, a Pasco County resident who has been living with AIDS for more than three years. Stoltz received an eviction notice in November from his landlord, Henry Javer that stated: "Now that I know you have this, I would like for you to move out. I do not want anybody with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome living in any of my properties."

Paul Raybein is a volunteer attorney for the Tampa Chapter of the ACLU (roll tape#1 o.q."we agreed to help him")

The ACLU says the the eviction notice came after a yearlong struggle with his landlord over substandard living conditions in his rental home in New Port Richey. They say only AFTER after Stoltz contacted the Pasco County Health Department and the Pasco County Code Enforcement Board did Javer begin making repairs.

But, the repairs came to a halt shortly after Javer found out about Stoltz's illness. In his November 4, 2003 letter, Javer added: "I will not fix the items you listed until you move out." The following month, Stoltz notified the Pasco County Housing Authority - the county agency that is subsidizing a portion of his rent - that his landlord refused to complete the repairs and that he intended to evict him because of his AIDS infection. The agency then told Stoltz that they would no longer help him with his rental payments because his living condition "did not meet housing quality standards."

The ACLU then countersued, charging Javer violated Stoltz's rights under the state and federal Fair Housing Acts, which prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities or perceived disabilities. ...Again, Attorney Paul Raybein (roll tape#2 o.q. "apparently still occurring")

WMNF's calls to the Pasco County Housing Authority were not returned today by airtime.

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