In 2013 MOPOA (Metropolitan of Omaha Property Owner’s Association) filed a federal lawsuit against the City of Omaha, virtually asking the court to order The City of Omaha’s housing inspectors to adopt certain rules and regulations to govern property owners. According to the lawsuit, MOPOA is a Nebraska Nonprofit Corporation. MOPOA is made up of 1,000 individuals and entities that own and operate real property located in Omaha, Nebraska and act as landlords with some providing rental housing services to protected class members and minorities. Paragraph 3 of the federal complaint states, “Plaintiff seeks: 1) to stop the unlawful interference of real property and other Constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding property owners by the City of Omaha acting under the guise of housing code enforcement: 2) to stop the City of Omaha’s pattern and practice of imposing financial hardship upon property owners, forcing sales of properties, and making it cost prohibitive for property owners to provide affordable, quality housing to lower income families through the assessment of never-ending, fabricated, discriminatory, nonsensical, and irrational housing code violations.
What about the unlawful treatment and other constitutionally protected rights of law-abiding tenants by the property owners? It is as if Attorney John Chatelain, President of MOPOA, plays a major role in this real life drama. He fought the City to get housing inspectors to be more lenient on property owners, so that property owners, such as Gregory Johnson, can have more rights to abuse their tenants.
Since the birth of Johnson and Moon’s Realty, Gregory Johnson has operated under several other real estate company names in order to minimize his number of evictions over the years. Johnson started out with Johnson and Moon, LLC, and now Fontenelle Realty. According to court records, as of May 11, 2018, there have been a total of 126 evictions amongst the 3 real estate companies. No matter what name Gregory Johnson uses to camouflage his crooked operation under, the evictions continue. And with Virginia Moon as an automatic ATM, he can afford to pay Attorney John Chatelain $200.00 an hour to enforce whatever is needed, including an illegal lease in a court of law, to keep his eviction scam going on for many years to come.
A prime example of tenants’ rights being violated, is how an eviction to Gregory Johnson is just a victory flag he holds up high, symbolizing another long term tenant being controlled under his rules and living conditions, enforced by Attorney John Chatelain, president of MOPOA. Once a person has an eviction on their record, it is nearly impossible to be able to rent an apartment or house. Rental agencies run what is called a background check, which includes a rental history to see if the person has any evictions on their record. Fontenelle Realty knows this when they evict a tenant. Days before the eviction hearing, Gregory Johnson approaches the distraught tenant like a real live mobster with an offer they better not refuse. “If you go along with the eviction and don’t appear in court, once I get the ruling I will be able to work with you. I’ll even keep renting to you. And maybe, just maybe, I might just put you in a better spot,” he tells the tenant in a pleasant voice as if he is this great comforter, holding up a security blanket to keep his tenants safe and snuggled through stormy weather. Then, without warning his demeanor changes like a hurricane, when his voice vibrates like thunder as he reveals his true intent,” But if you force my hand and show up in court, you won’t be able to rent nowhere in the state of Nebraska with an eviction on your record.”
Faced with having an eviction lurking overhead like a grayish black rain cloud, the tenant has to decide quick as lightening: 1.) either be homeless, since nearly all rental agencies run a credit check, or 2.) don’t force the Mob Boss’ hand. After all, at the end of the rainbow there is that glimpse of a ray of hope that maybe, just maybe he might put them in a better place.
There is not another landlord in the state of Nebraska that would take a tenant to court to get a ruling in his favor to evict a person, just to turn around and rent to that same person again. Unless that landlord is running the same type of scam that Gregory Johnson of Fontenelle Realty has managed to master.
Out of all of Fontenelle Realty’s evictions in 2017, The Heartland News was the only tenant that fought back. In Fontenelle Realty’s first attempt to evict The Heartland News from 5511 N. 30th St., the company claimed that The Heartland News owed nearly $15,000 in back rent, including rent for the two months the building was secured by a tarp and duct tape. At the hearing, it was revealed that the so-called back rent was trumped up by none other than Johnson and presented by Chatelain, thinking that the Heartland News would not “force” Gregory Johnson’s hand by appearing in Court. Not only did The Heartland News appear in court, it was represented by its president. Fontenelle Realty, of course, had no proof whatsoever to the claim of such back rent being owed. In fact, according to the ledgers provided by Fontenelle Realty, Fontenelle Realty actually owed The Heartland News over $300.00 in over charges. The judge continued the hearing, to give Fontenelle Realty time to get their records and their story straight.
The gig was up. The Heartland News was becoming more than what Johnson and Chatelain were prepared to deal with. By now, the reason The Heartland News had a charging African bull elephant as its logo was becoming clear as glass to the two. There is no stopping The Heartland News once disturbed, denied or discriminated against. Johnson knew he could not provide proof to his false claim that The Heartland News owed back rent. So in an attempt to keep The Heartland News calm, he had his attorney do the unbelievable act of filing a motion to dismiss the eviction charges. But months later, Chatelain filed another complaint in court. Only this time he made no mention of any back rent being owed. Instead Fontenelle Realty served The Heartland News a 30 day eviction notice, claiming that after a year the original lease had expired and had turned into a month to month lease.
Shortly after they filed the Complaint, The Heartland News had changed its signature saying from “Charging Straight out of Poverty” to “Bursting Through Barriers.” Now The Heartland News deals with issues other than homelessness. The Heartland News deal with discrimination, racism, violation of human rights and other injustice acts that can and will cause homelessness and other problems. So The Heartland News fought back. It is now going into the second year of court litigations between The Heartland News and Fontenelle Realty. And in April of 2018, a year after the original eviction attempt, The Heartland News voluntarily surrendered the 3 rental units to Fontenelle Realty and since moved on. But what about the tenants who do not have the means or knowledge to fight back against the injustice of the Fontenelle Realty scam? With the help of his attorney, for an investment of $200 an hour, Gregory Johnson is making a living off of profiting from the scam he is running on people in poverty. Johnson and his Fonetelle Realty company is causing homelessness by evicting tenants who “forces his hand” and keeping those who don’t force his hand, living in a state of poverty. This madness must stop. John Chatelain filed a class action lawsuit against the City of Omaha to protect the rights of the property owners. Now it is time to file a class action law suit against Fontenelle Realty and its attorney, John Chatelain, the president of MOPOA to protect the rights of tenant. If you have been wrongly evicted by Fontenelle Realty, and the eviction is still affecting you in any way, contact The Heartland News at 402-208-7533. You may be eligible to be part of a class action lawsuit.
Part three of the Fontenelle Realty’s scam will be featured in the September issue of The Heartland News, and posted here on our website. Please check back!