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Two More Days Scheduled for Eviction Case: OMHM versus Daniel Palladini

Thirteen of the almost 200 seniors living in the Manoir Roger-Bernard low-income residence in Pierrefonds spent another day at Quebec Rental Board hearings in the Olympic Village last Thursday. They are attending hearings because the Office Municipal d’Habitation de Montréal (OMHM) is trying to evict resident Danny Palladini.

Several tenants, including Palladini, said they suffer from health problems related to stress from participating in the tribunal process. “I’ve been here five times, with lack of sleep,” said Lynda Bernard, in her testimony. “With this case and your aggression, I’m starting to have heart problems.”

Despite the tenants’ frustrations, at least two more days are scheduled for the case, which is among 575 OMHM tried at the tribunal last year. Most of the hearings concern non-payment of rent, but in this one, OMHM lawyer Marc Charland is trying to prove that Palladini continues to “disturb the peaceful enjoyment of other tenants in the residence.”

The previous owners of the residence, the Societe Immobiliere Lac St-Louis, brought a similar case against Palladini in 2008, but Commissioner Hélène Chicoyne did not approve an eviction then. Suburban reporter Ian Howarth documented the series of incidents that led to that first hearing and subsequent police charges in an article dated March 11, 2009. That process led Palladini to sign a section 810 peace bond to avoid criminal prosecution.

The current hearing began last January. Palladini describes the case as the latest attempt to discredit him by housing officials trying to avoid third-party audit of building finances. “They don’t like us asking pesky questions about financial operations in the residence,” he said. “There are no consequences after $900 goes missing from the till, but people like me are evicted because we complain.”

Most OMHM eviction hearings don’t have many witnesses, but the hearing room last Thursday was packed. The interest is due in part to a new citizen action group called “Coalition against the Intimidation of Senior Citizens,” which has taken up Palladini’s cause. “Too many people want seniors to sit back and shut up,” said Enza Martuccelli, a co-founder of the new group and director of national programs for the Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. “There’s a cultural bias against seniors who can’t be easily dismissed. This gentleman did nothing more than ask for an accounting and look what they’re doing to him.”

Group member Murray Levine, the founder of the Philanthopic Athletes Foundation, has set up a blog (http://whyevictdanny.wordpress.com/) to help build support for Palladini’s attempt to stay in his home.

On the blog, Francis Dupré, the son of former tenant Camille, wrote that it was clear from his father’s hearing years ago that Palladini would be targeted for eviction next. Rental board records confirm that Palladini did indeed serve as a witness for Camille Dupré in an eviction hearing on February 15, 2007. Dupré was evicted and died a year later.

(Note: This story appeared in the West Island and city editions of the Suburban yesterday.)

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