2005-09-30 / Community

Locked Away From Home, Medicine By Landlord

By Howard Schwach


Despite the fact that a Queens Civil Court judge has ordered that a Rockaway man and his common law wife be given access to the apartment they have lived in for two months, a Rockaway landlord continues to deny that access, keeping the disabled veteran from his medication, the Wave has learned.

On September 1, Richard Fields and Catherine Greene brought a money order for that month’s rent of $550 for an apartment at 165 Beach 119 Street to landlord Jack Langton, who holds many such properties in Rockaway.

Fields told The Wave that Langton refused to take the money order and told him that he would have to vacate the apartment because it was meant for one person only and Fields was sharing the apartment with his common law wife, Catherine Greene.

Fields says, however, that Langton knew that the two lived together and believes that there is something more going on.

“They want me out because I am a black man with a white wife,” he said, adding that those words were never used, but the intent was clear.

Fields says that while the apartment is in Greene’s name, the telephone is in his.

“Prior to September 1, there was never a mention or a question of who was living in the apartment,” he says. “All of a sudden it was a problem and he changed the locks so that we couldn’t get in to get our keys or our medicine or even our clothing.”

They added that they never received any official notice to vacate the apartment and had no way of getting into the apartment without the landlord’s cooperation.

Langton, however, says that he did not lock the couple out of the apartment and that nobody who works for him did.

“I have no idea of who would have done that,” the landlord told The Wave. He posited that he is selling the building and that the new owner might have come and done it.

He also says that he never told the couple that they would have to leave.

“I took Cathy off the street,” he said. I was good to her. When she asked me if her boyfriend could stay occasionally, I told her that it would be alright, because I am a nice guy.”

“That’s why I am selling the rooming house,” he added. “I don’t want to deal with this bull____,” he added.

After they found themselves locked out, Fields and Greene went to the police and the fire department for assistance. While the police responded and looked for Langton to speak with him about the problem, neither could do anything to get them back into the apartment to get their much-needed medication.

“I have a heart problem,” the disabled army veteran said. “I take 10 pills a day and I can’t get to them because they are locked in the apartment.”

On September 27, Greene went to the Queens Civil Court in Jamaica and told her problem to a judge.

The judge ordered that Greene and Fields gain access for at least an hour on either Wednesday or Thursday, September 28 or September 29. When they went to Langton’s residence, however, they were told that he was “out of town in Connecticut” for an indeterminate period and that nothing could be done in his absence.

Langton corroborated that he has been in Connecticut for a week and used that fact to point out that he could not have personally locked them out.

The judge ordered Langton to appear in his court on Friday, September 30 to tell his side of the story. and that he not re-let the apartment, that he not remove any of the couple’s belongings and that he permit the couple reasonable access.

Meanwhile, at press time, the couple is still out in the cold and Langton says that he has sold the rooming house and will close on the deal on Friday. He declined to comment any further on the allegations made by the couple.

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