2005-10-07 / Community

Judge: Langton’s Illegal Lockout Could Bring Jail

Gain Access To Apartment, Everything Gone

By Howard Schwach

For more than a week, disabled vet Richard Fields and his common law wife, Catherine Greene tried to get back into their Rockaway Beach apartment, locked out by the landlord Jack Langton or his representative.

In that apartment was everything the couple owned, including the medicine Fields needed to maintain his health due to a heart problem.

It took a court order for the two to get access to the apartment to recover their goods. Despite the court order that restricted Langton from taking anything from the apartment, however, when the couple entered they found the apartment stripped of everything down to the bare walls, and the landlord, Rockaway resident Jack Langton, refuses comment on where their belongings, including his medicine, went or who took them.

Langton, who came to The Wave on Wednesday to find out if there was going to be another story written about him in this week’s paper, quickly left the building when asked to speak with an editor.

“I’ll be back in a minute,” he told receptionists and then never returned.

In addition, a number of telephone calls to his voice mail remain unreturned.

Last week, Langton told The Wave that he did not lock the couple out.

“I have no idea who did that,” Langton said, adding that “nobody who works for me did it.”

Fields says, however, that a neighbor told him and the officers for the 100 Precinct who responded to his call that Langton and a man named Jimmy, who works for Langton, removed everything from the apartment at 165 Beach 119 Street and placed it all on a truck.

On September 28, a Civil Court Judge ordered that Langton provide access to the apartment and also ordered the landlord not to remove any of the couple’s belongings.

Langton did not show for his court appointment on September 30 and Civil Court Judge Pam Jackman-Brown issued a judgment for the couple, finding that Langton illegally evicted the two.

Jackman-Brown ordered Langton to insure that “the petitioner and all of their belongings shall be restored forthwith to possession in the subject premises.”

The judge gave Langton until Thursday, October 7 to obey the order, but it was unclear at press time as to whether or not he obeyed the court order.

Jackman-Brown also gave the couple the right to sue in Civil Court for treble damages for illegal eviction, missing, lost and damaged property and other relief.

She also told Langton through the court papers that failure to obey the order could result in contempt of court charges that are punishable by fines or imprisonment.

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