Chicago Mother Kicked Out of Subsidized Housing Because of Son’s Rap Video

· December 27, 2012

Talitha Funchess, 43, is being evicted from her subsidized apartment in the South Loop because her 20-year-old son appeared in a rap video.

Funchess has lived in the 2100 block of South Michigan building since 2009.

Last month she received a “Notice of Termination of Tenancy” from Metroplex Inc., notifying her that the lease was being terminated because her son, Kenneth Coffie, “appeared in a posted video using profanity, degrading language and flashing gang signs on the project grounds, in violation of Paragraphs 8 and 9” of the lease.

According to Paragraph 8 of Funchess’ lease:

“Neither Tenant or any of Tenant’s guests shall perform or permit any practice that may damage the reputation of or otherwise be injurious to the Building or neighborhood, or be disturbing to other tenants, or be illegal.”

Paragraph 9 of the lease defines “unlawful” behavior as, including but not limited to the

“possession, use or sale of illegal drugs, and disturbances or acts of violence.”

The Notice of Termination did not reference the rap video, but the video Coffie was in is

“Tatted Dre X Vic TTU Rite Nah.”

It is unclear whether the video was shot in the building, but Funchess says her son is in the video. How the video came to management’s attention is a mystery since it has only 632 views on YouTube.

“What they appear to be saying is that you can be evicted even if your son wasn’t arrested,”

noted Michelle Gilbert, a supervising attorney at LAF, formerly known as the Legal Assistance Foundation.

LAF provides free legal assistance to low-income and elderly people in Chicago and the surrounding area and has agreed to represent Funchess.

“The reason that they want to evict her and actually filed a court case is because her son appears momentarily in a video where no one is committing a crime. We have three cases where people are being evicted because their sons have been in videos,”

Gilbert said.

“I think this is the most absurd of the cases. I think people have a right to make a bad rap video.”

John Kennedy, vice president of operations for Metropolex, declined to discuss Funchess’ specific case.

“We would look at the issue individually and not the mere fact that someone posted a video,” he said in a brief telephone interview.

“All I mean is that every case is unique in and of itself to the extent that we issue any termination notice of violation.”

A spokesman for CHA also declined to discuss Funchess’ eviction, calling it a “confidential matter between tenant and landlord.

“At the present time, the participant is not in jeopardy of losing subsidy or of being terminated,”

said Matthew Aguilar in an email.

Because Coffie didn’t shoot the video or engage in any illegal activity, it is difficult to understand why Metroplex is taking such an extreme legal action.

Further, Gilbert sees this as a First Amendment issue, especially since Funchess is a subsidized tenant.

“They can’t just terminate a tenancy for no reason,” she said. “This tenancy can only be terminated for cause. It is just speech in this video.”

There’s a steady barrage of the n-word, the b-word and the f-word. But Gilbert argues we have to protect speech that we find offensive.

“The First Amendment doesn’t mean anything if it only protects speech that we don’t find offensive. No one wants to get rid of nice speech,”

she said.

Although private investors own the South Loop building and most of the units rent at market rate, the owners have a contract with the Department of Housing and Urban Development that requires them to set aside a certain number of units for Section 8 renters.

Funchess believes the eviction is retaliation and harassment because in the past she has complained about how Section 8 renters were being treated by management.

“They are willing to throw me out in the middle of the cold,” she said. “When the sheriff came out here, they thought I was being evicted because I wasn’t paying my rent. They couldn’t even believe this is over a video.”

“There is a bigger issue here and we have several cases like this,” Gilbert told me. “Right now the main goal is to save her housing.” Source Suntimes

Obvious gang activity, drug use and possession being depicted in the video, not to mentioon the gun displayed and references to gun violence. Would anyone want this sort of behavior going on next door to them? The building ownners and managers have a duty and resposibility for the safety and security of the other tenants in the building and neighborhood. Codoning this behavior just enables it. I think Ms. Funchess should be alarmed that her son is part of this gang. Gang activity is reason enough to evict people from their free housing.

You are given lifetime free housing at the expense of honest hard-working taxpayers and you lose your opportunity over something like this. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules, and you can even pass on your free housing to your kids when they’re grown up. There is a reason these people remain mired in poverty generation after generation, despite everything the government does to try to lift them out of poverty.

And I’ll take a bet that the limosine liberal lawyer representing her would not want her to be her neighbor either.

  • BzB

    i wouldn’t want gang members and drug dealers living next to me either. parents have to be more responsible for their kids. no excuses.

    • http://atlnightspots.com B Strait 3000(mega-corp)

      +1, that rent is waay too expensive to be living around some hoodlums LOL

      • MoorFedayeen

        +1 Now this gives weight to the claim that govt assistance is used against us. Everyone knows the projects were and still are breeding ground for criminas and criminal activity from guns, murder to prostitutuon. Removing or winging blacks from govt subsidiaries unless its education related would be a big step in the right direction. Your govt knows this which is why they won’t. Now this trifling excuse for a mother can support herself and I bet she’s generational poverty while these white folks build generational wealth. See how that works.

      • SCOOTYBLACK

        Im telling u and I didnt know that was a mixed income building. I almost looked at an apt there.

        • MoorFedayeen

          Well wherever you go @Scooty just make sure you let me so I can drive from the D to help you “bless” every room.

  • http://atlnightspots.com B Strait 3000(mega-corp)

    Yeah this is a bogus situation & I think this lady will win her case. But she better damn sure read the lease especially one in the “southloop”, They don’t play down there,its waay too close to downtown Chicago & they won’t have any negative action associated with theyre properties at all. Plus u already know a section 8 tenant & family has to be on they’re best behavior at all times. They look for any lil reason to get rid of them

  • grownup

    Normally I don’t comment, but there’s no sympathy for this lady. You get subsidy, therefore you have to expect these things to happen. They WILL be in your business all the time. You don’t want that, then do something to change your situation. Not everyone who gets subsidy takes advantage, but I know too many people who do take advantage & don’t do anything to change their life. It is meant to be a temporary thing – not your damn lifestyle. If you want it to be your lifestyle, then that’s on you, but you better make sure everyone in your household follows the rules.

  • Vic

    She needs to move. No excuses. Her adult son slipped up and now you have to go.

  • President Ward

    That’s her fault. People won’t there peace and quiet sh*t.

  • BrownSugar

    Evidently she didn’t read her lease before she signed it nor the dye before she put those mixed up colors in her hair. Each adult on a signed lease is responsible for their actions while living in public housing. If one f*ck up, everyone goes. No exceptions!

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