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copy of eviction story

Posted by Evict-o-Mat on June 13, 2000 at 16:12:05:

In Reply to: VENTURES; Eviction Specialist: 'This Is Not Easy' posted by SamE on June 13, 2000 at 07:36:22:

VENTURES; Eviction Specialist: 'This Is Not Easy'


One cool day this spring, Jose Reyes, Placido Cruz, Mark Hubbard and Melvin
Rivera started their morning in Bayside, Queens. They parked their truck
outside a residential building at 10 a.m., took the elevator to the fifth floor and
knocked on an apartment door. This was not a typical assignment. These men
work for Traffic Moving Systems, which specializes in moving evicted tenants
out of their homes. The Yonkers company, founded by Bob Sardina in 1989, is
frequently called on by landlords.

Before the workers began, they allowed the tenants -- a woman and her
boyfriend -- time to pack their clothes and valuables. After protesting, the
couple stuffed as much as they could into duffle bags. Thirty minutes later the
landlord announced it was time to leave. The woman, who at first seemed to be
taking the situation in stride, pounded her fist on a wall and yelled: ''If anything
is missing, I swear I will find you!'' Tears streamed from her eyes. ''Get out of
my apartment! I'm going to kill somebody!'' She finally calmed down with the
help of her boyfriend, who told her there was nothing they could do.

This is a common reaction, Mr. Sardina said. ''They feel the whole world is
against them,'' he explained. ''They need someone to blame. We're the ones they
actually see.''

Once a worker was shot in the stomach by a Queens tenant, people at the
company said; the mover survived but left. Another faced a tenant who locked
him inside the apartment and did not let him leave until the police intervened.

''This is not easy,'' said Mr. Rivera, who complained of aches from the
previous day's move. ''You've got to be physically and mentally tough.''

Traffic Moving Systems uses 12 trucks and two vans, and generally employs
20 to 40 laborers, making 5 to 10 moves a day, including some of the
traditional kind. As Mr. Sardina put it: ''Evictions are very lucrative, but they
definitely give us the most headaches.''

At 10:50 this particular morning, after taking an inventory (a marshal had done
an official one the day before), the movers began packing possessions into
18-by-12-inch boxes. A cracked painting of a sunset was carefully taken off a
wall by Mr. Cruz. A teddy bear larger than a small child sat propped on the
floor, seemingly waiting for its turn to be packed. By 12:10 most of the boxes
were out in the hallway and heading toward one of the company's two
warehouses. By 1, only food and a layer of trash on the floor remained.

''Of course, I feel bad for the tenants sometimes,'' said Mr. Rivera, 20, who had
started on the job only a few weeks earlier. ''I hope it never happens to me.''

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