Friday, January 23, 2009

CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings Breaks Into Allentown Building

It's true. He even admitted it to me yesterday. But I'm glad he did it. Let me tell you why.

This is really an update on a story first reported here on January 5. Local activist Alfonso Todd (Project R.E.A.L.) published a disturbing video of an Allentown family locked out of their apartment at 47 N. 7th Street. That's the old Linden Bar Hotel, owned by Pauline Martinez. Distraught parents, with a three-year old girl, were faithfully paying $80 per week in rent. There never was any heat, although the "landlord" had promised to take care of that. On January 3, water and electricity were suddenly shut off. The parents had no place to go and were unable to retrieve their personal possessions. Allentown shelters had no room. Even the police were unable to help as a worried mother watched her three year-old girl grow colder and colder. Many of you wanted to know what happened to this family. I had no answer.

Now I do, thanks to CACLV Executive Director Alan Jennings. He tells me he only rarely reads blogs because he's no computer guy, kinda' like John McCain. But Lady Fortune must have been smiling for this family because he happened to see my story and jumped on it. Here's what he learned. The building had been declared unfit for human habitation between two and three years ago. The building owner or someone misrepresenting herself as the building owner was illegally renting rooms in this building. This family was evicted with out court order - it was an illegal lock out. They were denied access to their belongings, which is also illegal.

Jennings tracked down the family and then decided he was going to break into the building himself and get their stuff. Attorney Don Miles was there, too, aiding and abetting this felony. Jennings also had a sledge hammer, a drill and plastic explosives. Unfortunately, somebody prevailed on him to get a locksmith. While they were all waiting, a former tenant happened by, and he amazingly had the key to let them in.

They were able to retrieve this family's belongings. More importantly, Jennings offered this family shelter, but they had already found a room with a friend.

Channel 69 did broadcast Jennings' break in, but it would be a lot better if he were arrested or blew the door open. So far as Jennings knows, no prosecution has been started against the person who clearly took advantage of a poor family. He's been trying to leave a comment on this blog for days, but finally decided to just call me.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a guy, That Alan Jennings. For three decades he's continued to preserve his character.

gsbrace said...

I saw the report on 69 when it aired but didn't make the connection to your blog and Alfonso's videos. I just remember being proud to know Alan at that moment.

Anonymous said...

Known "of" Mr. Jennings for some time. He is consistently concerned with the well being of others. His commitment doesn't waiver, year after year after year. Continues to be true to his word.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter GSBRACE, I am glad that SOMEONE did SOMETHING.
KUDOS to Alan Jennings for "making it happen."
Ben Nicholson of www.lifestylesofthegss.piczo.com filmed the occurence while it happened and I spread the word through his website and www.projectreal.piczo.com . We all worked together, inadvertently, and am glad someone with clout made it happen. By the way, we DID follow up with the family the day after we filmed the atrocity via the manager of the 6th Street Shelter and she verified they were okay and staying with friends. Kudos should also go to Paul Marin, who "literally" called Ben and I the next morning and asked what could be done, as well as the many others who e-mailed us with questions and concerns. Thanks Bernie for bringing this to the people, as always!!!

Alfonso Todd

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mr. Jennings and I have had our differences over the years. This is not one of them.

A.J.C. said...

I'm glad that someone did something, too, but I'm more pleased that the family is safe. Hopefully justice is brought to the person responsible for the building.

Anonymous said...

Please keep us informed about the
bldg owner? Where is Weed & Seed on this inspection???

Anonymous said...

I am certain the "someone posing" as the landlord was doing so on behalf of the landlord.

These people think they are slick. Slumlords.

Anonymous said...

Jennings sometimes shoots from the hip but overall, he is a staunch and consistent supporter of the downtrodden. Unlike some community activists who are ego driven, and who's main purpose is to get their name in the paper, Alan has a good sense of what is possible and even better, what is 'right.'

Long ago, he learned that he would get much further for his constituency if he worked within the system. He measures success by achievements, not newspaper coverage and advocates for his cause with reason not aggression.

He is not always correct - no one is - but his heart and soul are firmly in the right place.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Gotta' admit, I was impressed. But next time he wants to break into a place, I hope he lets me know. I love to watch things blow up. It's why I majored in chemisrry and joined the artillery.

Anonymous said...

"Alan has a good sense of what is possible and even better, what is 'right."

What is right and what is legal are two different things. Next time, get a writ of possession.

Anonymous said...

If he broke the law he should be prosecuted.

Anonymous said...

Alan is great. Did he really have plastic explosives or just a guy with a rusting Jeep with 30 parking tickets on it ready to smash the door down ? :):):):):):):):):)

Anonymous said...

Does Angle own this building ?