RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond landlord can be heard on an audio recording cursing at his former tenant and even using the “N word” after she asked him to make repairs to her home. The conversation continues with even more derogatory comments.
Winter Whittaker, a single mother, says she feared for her life, especially since landlords have the keys to where you sleep at night.
She thought she could make the East End house a home. It was an affordable price for the working mother who is raising two children. But over time, she says she would notice issue after issue.
"Rodents, fleas…It would leak constantly, in my bedroom, in my living room…The hole inside the house, it was leaking from the gutters. That was the final straw for me,” she said.
She says her then landlord, Dean Parsons, would provide temporary fixes but they never fully resolved the problems. So she kept reaching out.
"He was like ‘If you don’t like it, move’. I was like ‘ok, it’s easy for you to say move,’” Whittaker explained.
Then, adding insult to injury.... "I moved here and then five days later, he called me the first ‘B word’…For five months, I continuously was abused with the ‘B word’ every time I called him about a complaint. He was like ‘You complain too much. You can get the hell out of my house,’” she said.
When the problems continued, Whitaker decided to record her next conversation.
“I need the ceilings fixed,” she said during the phone call.
“I didn't hear a good God d**** thing you said because you don't mean sh** to me,” Parsons can be heard responding.
Whittaker shared the phone call with NBC 12.
“Get the hell out of my God d**** house. The quicker the better,” Parsons said.
“I don't got to get out until my lease expires,” Whittaker responded.
“B****, shut the f*** up and leave me alone,” Parsons responded.
“You’re going to fix what you’re supposed to fix,” Whittaker said.
“You’re ain’t nothing but a God d*** tenant,” the landlord replied.
“And you’re nothing but a God d**** slum lord,” Whittaker responded. That's when attorney Helen Hardiman stepped in.
“She would call me and say ‘I’m afraid to stay here at night. I don’t know what he’s going to do,’” Hardiman explained.
She believes the landlord’s actions might raise concerns under Virginia’s fair housing laws.
"Certain demographics of people are targeted by certain landlords who know that they can take advantage of these kinds of tenants,” Hardiman said.
Whitaker and her attorney approached the landlord with her concerns and rather than going to court, all parties reached a mutual agreement to settle the matter. Those details were not disclosed. It’s worth nothing that no lawsuit was ever filed and Parsons was never found to be liable for any wrongdoing.
Parsons has not addressed these allegations publicly. So NBC12 tried to give him the opportunity. When he couldn’t be reached by phone, NBC12 left a message and then visited his office on two separate days. He wasn’t there. But on the second visit, an employee in the rental office took down the contact information. Parsons never called back. NBC12 then reached out to his attorney via a phone call and three separate emails on three separate days - so far, no response.
"He manages 250 single-family homes and 125 apartments in the metro region so he’s a pretty big time player,” Hardiman said.
It’s why they’re speaking out.
"To make sure that he doesn’t treat other people like this,” Hardiman said.
“I’ll see you in court then,” Whittaker said in the phone conversation.
“I don't give a good God d***. You’re just another dumb a** n***** I got to go to court with and I go to court every damn day with them,” Parsons replied.
"That destroyed me,” Whittaker said.
She finished her lease and is now in a new home with a new landlord.
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