A Dallas man reportedly returned to his apartment home one afternoon in July to discover that everything he and his daughter owned — even the shower curtain — was gone.
Maintenance crews at The Hamilton, a high-end midrise apartment complex in Deep Ellum, mistakenly cleared out the unit occupied by Johnny Abney and his 9-year-old daughter. The crews were apparently supposed to clear out the apartment unit next door, which was being rented by a tenant who was being evicted.
Abney discovered that all the contents of his apartment had been disposed of in the complex’s dumpster.
“They came to my door and cleaned everything out from my clothes to my daughter’s clothes, toothbrush, bathing items, pretty much left me with nothing,” Abney claimed, according to Fox 4 News.
“Clothing items. All of my groceries. They cleared out my refrigerator full of groceries,” he said. “Right down to the shower curtain.”
Abney said most of his possessions that had been placed in the dumpster were retrieved by other residents at the apartment complex.
“Not only did they put my stuff out. They watched people take my property all day,” said Abney, according to Fox 4.
Abney subsequently filed a report with the local police department. The report detailed an explanation from an apartment leasing agent who claimed there had been a “misunderstanding” and that the crews were meant to clear out the unit of his next-door neighbor.
Reportedly, although a leasing agent at the complex initially apologized to Abney and offered to help salvage what remained of his belongings, the company’s response soon changed.
Another agent stated that Abney had been subletting the unit, which was leased under the name of Abney’s ex-girlfriend, who had moved out of state. The agents refused to discuss the lease agreement with Abney, even though he had paid the rent in full each month.
“We are bonded, like, by law. We cannot discuss anything with you or anybody who is not [on] her lease,” the apartment manager told Fox 4.
After that, all discussion of reparations was apparently off the table. Apartment management reportedly notified Abney that he had 24 hours to sign a new lease agreement or he would be evicted from the apartment. Abney chose not to sign the lease, given that the situation with his belongings was left unresolved.
An attorney for The Hamilton told Fox 4 that even if Abney had filled out the rental application, it would have been denied because he had violated lease terms already as an unauthorized occupant.
Abney eventually filed a lawsuit against the complex, which is pending.
Jason Freidman, Abney’s attorney, told Fox 4 that whose name is on the lease is irrelevant, and the apartment crews had no right to enter the apartment to dispose of his things in the first place.
“The apartment building [agents] didn’t know when they threw all of that stuff away who’s [sic] stuff it was, whether it was the person on the lease or his,” said Freidman, according to Fox 4.
Abney and his daughter have since moved out of the complex and are currently staying with family members.