On Nov. 3, the Northwest Asian Weekly ran an article on the dispute between George Berumen working with the Seattle Solidarity Network, and the Low Income Housing Institute and its executive director, Sharon Lee. The article, “LIHI’s Sharon Lee and SeaSol clash over $99,” did not fully represent the position of SeaSol.
George had a dispute with the management of the Frye apartments about fumes in his unit and decided to move out in April of 2011. After leaving the Frye, LIHI hit George with a bill for cleaning fees totaling $139.50, and withheld George’s deposit and advance rent totaling $99. These charges are at the heart of SeaSol’s dispute with LIHI. While LIHI offers no justification whatsoever for its continuing to withhold George’s security deposit and advance rent, they claim that the cleaning fees are justified.
They say it took Frye’s staff nine hours to clean a 10-foot by 20-foot apartment, and have produced photos to show the state of the apartment after George’s departure.
However, these photos are fraudulent.
Four of the six photos produced by LIHI merely show a few personal items left behind on otherwise clean shelves and tabletops — hardly something to require nine hours worth of cleanup. But the other two, named Berumen Unit 4 and Berumen Unit 6, show filthy stove burners and bathroom floor and toilet. But these two photos are not from George’s unit, #302.
We checked the publicly available floor plans for the building and obtained new video evidence of the actual bathroom of unit #302. Both sources confirm that in the photos produced by LIHI, the toilet was on the wrong side of the bathroom, and thus cannot be from George’s apartment.
For full depictions of the photographs, the video, and the Frye floor plans, readers can refer to the Seattle Solidarity website, www.seasol.net, and judge for themselves.
Ms. Lee has stooped so low as to produce fraudulent photographs to justify withholding a homeless man’s security deposit, while attacking a community organizing and social justice group with every bad name under the sun. We will continue our work until George has been paid the money unjustly withheld from him.
— The Seattle Solidarity Network, on behalf of George Berumen