When I first left home to go to university, my parents co-signed a mortgage for me on an apartment style condominium in a small Canadian city. This was 20 years ago, so it came in at a whopping $52,000. They thought that this was a much better and economical choice than trying to find an apartment and deal with landlords. I loved the idea and moved into my new home.
The building was almost entirely populated by the 65+ crowd. It was small and only had 24 units split into 2 halves. I had a basement condo. It was a nice place, nothing fancy, but amazing for a student. I was young (19) but I was quiet, kept to myself and didn't do the whole party thing.
I got along with most of my neighbors, I'd help them out moving heavy things or carrying groceries upstairs. I was acutely aware of the age gap and the general image of a university student, so I made sure to be just an all around great guy to avoid conflict.
The one person I could never see eye to eye with was my upstairs neighbor. For a 70 year old woman that couldn't have weighed more than 100lbs, she walked like a damned elephant. She'd have gospel music on her TV at max volume at 5am on Sundays, she'd make remarks about "that damn kid" whenever something was left out of place.
She even went so far as to accusing me of breaking into her car and made a police statement saying she saw me do it. Unfortunately for her, I was out of the country on an internship at the time, but still she persisted being a pain in my a**.
I'd tried to approach her about the TV issue, and her response was to make sure that it was no longer just Sunday. After a couple of years of attempted diplomacy, it was clear that nothing I did would make things better.
Others in the building probably knew she had it out for me, but why would this adorable little old lady try to lie and get me thrown out of the building by the condo board? (She tried at least 11 times while I lived there.)
7 years into my time living there, I was at my job with an Ambulance service just north of the city. I got called to a shooting. The guy shot his neighbor in a land dispute. The neighbor survived, but there was of course going to be a police investigation.
The investigating officers called me to get a statement and offered to just come over to do it, rather than have me travel. One of them was a constable I'd worked with quite a bit, so I said sure. We set a time for about an hour after I'd get home from work.
I was just getting out of the shower when they buzzed to get into the building, I said "come in, I'll be out in a second". I hit the door buzzer and quickly grabbed some pants and a shirt. I heard them come in, and then walk upstairs. As I'm trying to throw on clothes, I hear them knock....on my upstairs neighbors door.
They introduce themselves as being from RCMP Major Crimes division and that they were looking for me...balls. She says "oh, he lives downstairs, what do you want with him?". They thanked her and informed her that they couldn't say, as it was an active investigation. My heart sank....but then I had a thought.
It only took about 15 minutes to do my statement and they went on their way. And then the fun began. I knew the rumour mill would be starting. She would tell everyone that would listen that Major Crimes was looking for me and that I must be some sort of criminal.
I decided to see where this went. Pretty soon I'm getting side eye in the hallway, neighbors are steering clear of me, so I know she's been talking. Turns out I've been arrested for robbery and kidnapping and must be out on bail, according to her.
I found this out when one of my neighbors who was on the condo board showed up with a letter demanding an explanation and threats to have me kicked out. I asked him what this was all about, and he said "Well, Linda (not her name) sent us a letter about what had happened and we had to have an emergency board meeting because people don't feel safe with you here."
I said that per the by-laws of the condo board, before any action could be taken, I could request a meeting to review and provide a defense. Linda was on the board, so I know she'd be there. They set a date for a week from then, but I was given a caution that it didn't look good for me and that I would have to do a lot of explaining.
The meeting day comes. Linda is sitting smugly looking at me, the other board members are giving me dirty looks. The board president asks what I have to say in my defence. I stand and quietly distribute a letter on RCMP letterhead, signed by the regional superintendent.
"Mr. Zenmedic is not under suspicion of any crimes, past or current and has not been arrested, detained or questioned as a suspect in any criminal matter. His duties as a Paramedic will often require him to make statements in regards to ongoing investigations.
In this instance on (date), investigators had gone to obtain a statement about an ongoing investigation for which he was professionally involved. At no time did the members discuss, disclose or in any way indicate that he had any involvement in any wrongdoings.
I am deeply saddened by the necessity of this letter and we will be reopening an investigation into a previous incident regarding false statements made against him."
When people read and understood it, the dirty looks suddenly shifted from me to Linda. She exclaimed that it must be a forgery, she witnessed me being led off in handcuffs. She pleaded that they should believe her. It didn't help her. I stood and addressed the board and outlined the years of abuse and harassment, including the false accusation of breaking and entering her vehicle.
I informed the board that, on advice of my lawyer, I would not discuss the matter further with any member of the board, as Linda being part of it and using her position for the purposes of harassment opened the board as a whole to litigation and I was still weighing my options.
The next day I had a knock on my door. The board president had informed me that Linda was removed from the board and that she was given warning about her conduct and that any further harassment could result in proceedings to have her removed from the building.
She also had a visit from police with a summons for providing a false statement and obstructing a peace officer. She had to attend court. She pled guilty to both and was given a suspended sentence and 1 year condition not to harass, threaten or intentionally inconvenience me in any way.
If she abided her conditions, she would receive an absolute discharge (meaning it would be removed from her record, like it never happened). I moved to another province before her year was up, but for a brief period of time, I actually got to sleep in on Sunday mornings.
Exceptionally well played! Woman goes from accusing you incorrectly of crimes to being convicted of one herself.
Yes. I had wondered why nothing ever came of the false statement about the car break in, but I had just assumed that it was because she was old. I found out just a couple of years ago that the constable investigating that incident was her nephew...
I found out through another cop friend who was part of the disciplinary hearing for him, and that was just one of many things he ended up being disciplined for.
Ultimately, it seems like you handled the situation with dignity and composure, letting the truth speak for itself. Well done fellow redditor.
Thank you. It took a lot of self control not to do things to mess with her... I was even her secret Santa one year and got her something thoughtful. Unfortunately as a young guy, I knew I'd be always fighting an uphill battle in a "he said, she said" situation, so I figured the nicer I was overall, the easier my life would be.
Fantastic! You played the long game & got here good. I don’t think I would have had your patience. And you’re an excellent storyteller, btw.