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January 19

Palm Beach, FL: Mass Sheriff’s Raid Evicts Families Fighting Slumlords

The Palm Beach Tenants Union reports on a brutal raid by Sheriff’s deputies who evicted four families at the Stonybrook apartments, including tenant leader, Crystal Stukes.

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Yesterday, without any warning or advanced notice, 25 sheriff’s deputies colluded with a notorious slumlord is an early morning raid to evict four of the poorest families in Palm Beach County. They came armed with door knockers and axes, and beat down all of the doors one by one. One family in the O building woke up in bed with a gun pointed in their face. In a unit in the M building, they tore the door off the hinges, after one hour of nonviolent resistance, and found the children hiding in the closet. Their belongings were thrown out onto the street, their children walked barefoot, crying and screaming in confusion. It could have been a scene replicated in the favelas of Rio.

Unfortunately their supporters were nowhere to be found. Their community was nowhere to be found, except sitting and videotaping the incident. They were alone, bearing the brunt of all the weapons the system has trained against them to put them down and keep them confined to this toxic warehouse to silently die – all a five minute drive away from Mar-A-Lago. This dramatic police response can be explained in a few short words: these families live in Stonybrook, and here they are supposed to shut up, and tolerate dying in this rat and roach-infested prison that masquerades as housing. Not doing so was their only crime.

“They tore the door off the hinges, and found the children hiding in the closet. Their belongings were thrown out onto the street, their children walked barefoot, crying and screaming in confusion.They came armed with door knockers and axes, and beat down all of the doors one by one. One family woke up in bed with a gun pointed in their face.”

For this had to not just be evicted, but done so in such a brutal and horrific way that it would leave a lasting imprint in their psyche, and that of the surrounding community. If there were any justice the actual criminals – the slumlord Frank Sinito and his bootlicking enforcers – would be the ones waking up with a gun pointed in their face, their children thrown out on the streets, walking barefoot, crying, and screaming in panic and confusion. But it doesn’t happen. Even Sinito’s dad who ran the Cleveland drug trade for years – Tommy “the Chinaman” – never received such horrific treatment at the hands of the feds. To the contrary, their family got to do big crime, and invest the proceeds in slumlord housing, and become respectable developers that own downtown Cleveland.

At Stonybrook in Riviera Beach

Posted by Adam Wasserman on Thursday, January 16, 2020

If there was any justice, Sinito and his family would be the ones forced to live in filth and breathe in the poison that 30,000 families living in his 200 slumlord complexes do every single day. But he doesn’t. He lives in a Scarface-like mansion in the suburbs of Cleveland, and his family are royalty in the city.

“The Sinitos get to continue earning guaranteed $3 million+ a year in HUD and rent money on the backs of the poorest families, a scheme that only lasts because every part of the system works to guarantee the obedience and silence of the residents.”

To this day, the Sinito crime syndicate – now called Millennia Housing – continues to receive second chances from their partners in government. Everyone from Riveria commissioner Julie Botel on up to Senator Marco Rubio reward them with fat development deals and forgive code fines and liens without any proof of remediation. The Sinitos get to continue earning guaranteed $3 million+ a year in HUD and rent money on the backs of the poorest families, a scheme that only lasts because every part of the system works to guarantee the obedience and silence of the residents. It’s all enforced at the barrel of a gun at the end of the day, and everything else is for show. This is what yesterday’s raid was all about.

Solidarity Needed:

One of the most devastating casualties of Thursday morning’s PBSO raid on Stonybrook was the community center set up by Crystal Stukes. Her office, laptop, printer, and other resources were available for use for the whole community. Families were able to print out what they need for everything from resumes to applications. Children in the complex could do their homework, and many of their grades were improving because of this. This is the community center that Stonybrook was missing, and it was possible because of solidarity – not charity. Now it’s no more. In addition, Crystal’s laptop was badly cracked beyond repair in the raid. The union will fight to get it replaced, but in the meantime the tenants need a computer. If you have one you can donate, please reach out or contribute what you can here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/stonybrook-eviction-defense…

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