Extracting myself from the jaws of the greedy Dirigo Management Company was an exhausting experience for this senior citizen – almost 80 years old. Dirigo is the manager for 645 Congress Street, an apartment building owned by the wealthy Justin Alfond, an inheritor of the Baxter Shoe business fortune.
The effort to extract myself from Dirigo, believe it or not, followed my 30 day notice to vacate Unit 207, 645 Congress Street. The experiences came after this blogger broke my third lease for Unit 207, which was mutually signed in August 2019. Alfond approved my breaking the lease with no penalty involved when I emailed him.
The ‘apartment from hell’ was one from which I wanted to escape the moment I saw it over two years ago.
Unfortunately, I was never given an opportunity to see Unit 207 before I signed the lease, despite my numerous requests to see it. There was always an excuse as to why it was not a good time to see the unit. The cleaning people were in there. No one was around to show the unit to me. I know the real reason.. No one would want to rent this tiny space more suitable to be used as a broom closet than an apartment when it was shown. When the entire story unravels which it will not here, it becomes clear this was a Bait & Switch strategy utilized to rent a hard to rent unit – 207.
After I vacated 207 in mid-November, Kathi Nickerson, of Dirigo, shot me an email. Because I did not leave Unit 207, in broom clean condition called for in the lease, this blogger would be charged $50.00 a day to clean it. This blogger did not leave Unit 207 in broom clean condition because I was so anxious to escape the unit and the abuse experienced during that time frame. (Unit 207 should be retooled as a broom closet or storage room because of its size, lack of window space and consequently light).
What? What are you doing with my security deposit of about $1,100.00. besides collecting interest on it which I never expected to get back anyway? Say that louder please? Didn’t hear your answer. The building owner, Justin Alfond, stepped in once again on my behalf. A former state legislator in Augusta during the LePage administrations, does Alfond have political ambitions in the future?
To be sure that this post was not one-sided, Nickerson of Dirigo was emailed four questions to respond to. Bob Keegan, president of Dirigo, responded to my four questions, although he ignored the last question: Do you often use bait & switch tactics to rent units like, 207, that are otherwise hard to rent? Keegan did not respond to the question. Instead, he repeatedly said that he wanted to meet with me – one-on-one – only to address my concerns. Bah Humbug!
Keegan also insisted that Nickerson’s threat to charge me $50. per day rather than dipping into my security deposit, was a ‘MISUNDERSTANDING.” (Give me a break)! Nickerson. a long-time employee of Dirigo, should have given me a more detailed accounting Keegan emailed me in a blizzard of emails between us. Where is the apology for this “misunderstanding?” Can you speak up? Can’t hear you. Never received one. Never will.
Eventually Keegan emailed me that my security deposit (plus the interest ) will be used to prepare 207 for the next renter.
“It is very unfortunate that you choose to use your blog as a form of intimidation,” Keegan, president of Dirigo emailed me. “……my only issue with your statements of posting items related to your experience on your blog is that you chose to use this as a weapon versus a tool,” Keegan emailed me on November 21, 2019, Weapon versus tool? Still trying to figure that out. In eleven years of blogging, that is a new term to me.
During the too long time I was a resident of the second floor at 645 Congress Street, the turnover of residents seemed excessively often. A renter would move in and be gone in an unusually short time period. That speaks volumes to this life-long renter.
Every renter needs a blog to shed light on the nefarious practices of management companies. When will the city council represent all the residents of Portland rather than just a select few – renters or not?
(note: Oh that reminds me. This blogger didn’t retell how the tattoo covered maintenance man for 645 Congress Street screamed at me after I’d given 30 day notice to vacate because I was letting my cat out of my shoebox ‘apartment from hell” – but that’s another story for another post! His behavior toward me was so severe and just plain out-of-control that I felt compelled out of self-preservation to email Kathi Nickerson at Dirigo. Among other threats, Jeremiah Carter, yelled at me he would “see me in court,” even though I had already given my 30 day notice to vacate the property. I repeatedly asked Nickerson to keep him away from me. Nickerson responded in an email to me: “Jeremiah’s simply doing his job.”)
No apologies from either Dirigo or Alfond for the abhorent way in which this blogger was treated have been forthcoming.