Sunday, August 25, 2013

My 2925 Lyndale Back Story

The Johnny Northside blog has been covering the sordid past of the "troublesome triplex" at 2925 Lyndale Ave N, even bringing up (with my permission) how the neighborhood asked the city to crack down on the scrapping, dumping, and overall criminal activities that have been occurring at this property for years.  But what hasn't been told is how the owner, David Epstein, was given a chance to redeem himself and begin to populate that property with good tenants.

Around the time of this photo and my blog post regarding his sign-spamming proclivities, I spoke to him and even referred a quality tenant to live there.  Here's how that went down...
...Epstein admitted that there were indeed problem tenants at his property, and that he was in the process of repairing one unit and would evict the others.  He was looking for good renters and expressed a desire to have a well-maintained and well-managed rental property.  As it happened, I knew of someone who was in need of housing, and spoke to his mother about the possibility of moving in at this address.  I made it clear to her what had been going on, so that neither she nor her son were coming into the situation blind.

Well, the son thought it was a good fit, and welcomed the prospect of helping a landlord get more law-abiding tenants in the building.  I was cautiously hopeful that this could have been the point at which a landlord turned the corner and may have turned this house into a positive force on that block.

Alas, it was not to be.

A few months after the son moved in, the mother called me up and was very shaken.  Criminal activity continued unabated.  The law-abiding tenant had been the victim of thefts on multiple occasions, and believed that the other renters or their guests were the perpetrators.  Worse yet, she told me that he literally feared for his life.  Both believed it was only a matter of time before either someone at that apartment would assault him, or that he would wind up in the crossfire of a gang dispute.

Well I did NOT want this young man's life on my conscience.  I told the mother that I felt responsible for the situation because I had connected him with this property.  Since I had a spare room open in my home, I immediately offered it up to him.  I gave him my cell phone number and said that anytime he felt that unsafe at his place, he was welcome to call me.  He wound up finding a different living arrangement, and never did need to take me up on an emergency offer.

A year ago, Mr. Epstein knew this property was full of bad news.  He knew that the city and community were fed up even then.  And he had a golden opportunity, with a decent tenant, to turn over a new leaf.  Instead, the problem grew worse.  And that's how, the instant I heard about a shooting on the 2900 block of Lyndale Ave N, I knew it was that triplex.


  1. Here's a new rental license stipulation: if you can't demonstrate competency as an 'absentee' landlord, you'll be tested as an on-premises landlord. Epstein, Khan, Swensrud, etc. can enjoy living in these properties next to their worthless tenants.

  2. Revoke Epstein's rental license. Let's get the ball rolling. What needs to happen, here? A letter from the neighborhood association to the city government? What?

    We knew about this situation a LONG time ago and it is DOCUMENTED that we knew about it. So (on another topic) where does the mainstream media get off with this narrative of "oh, it's so shocking and surprising?" Really, it would be nice if JUST ONCE the mainstream media contacted the subject matter experts in the neighborhood--which would be the neighborhood associations--and asked the experts instead of sticking a microphone in the face of whatever no account is hanging around on the sidewalk.

    (Dumbass voice)

    Um, I don't know ANYTHING about him being in gangs. No, he was a good kid.

  3. Here is the closest the mainstream media got to a reality-based narrative at that property. Location had 29 calls for service.

    Even then, the article wasn't clearly worded to indicate whether that pertains to this specific address or, say, the general area of 29th and Lyndale.