Jun 5 2012
A Boston-area landlady is under fire after she allegedly refused to rent out an apartment to a veteran of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, because of her anti-war political beliefs.
Boston Herald A landlady who doubles as a peace activist has refused to let a war veteran rent her property, citing ‘conflicts of interest’, he has claimed.
Sgt. Joel Morgan, 29, said he tried to rent a two-bedroom $1,220-a-month apartment in Savin Hill, Massachusetts after looking at it in April.
But the National Guardsman, who has served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo, was stunned when the property’s owner, Janice Roberts, 63, turned him away due to her staunch beliefs and his war service.
In a voicemail dated to April 9, played for the Boston Herald in the presence of the veteran’s lawyer, 63-year-old Janice Roberts reportedly said: “It just is not going to be comfortable for us without a doubt. It probably would be better for you to look for a place that is a little bit less politically active and controversial,” adding, “We are very adamant about our political beliefs.”
Sgt. Joel Morgan, who served in the National Guard, explained: “For her to do that to me, it was like a spit in the face…For what we have gone through overseas, to come home to our country and have people … discriminate against us. … It made me extremely insecure about being a soldier.”
Morgan has decided to sue Roberts, and his lawyer Joseph Sulman commented: “It’s illegal…but also just unconscionable. It’s something any American should be embarrassed about.”
A Milton native and divorced father of a 19-month-old son, Morgan said he served at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2003; as well as combat tours in Iraq in 2007 and 2008; and in Afghanistan last year. Morgan said he is studying criminal justice at Quincy College and recently took the civil service exam, hoping to become a Boston firefighter.
“Almost every time I’m in uniform and I walk past a child, they salute,” Morgan said, smiling. His interaction with the landlady, he said, “didn’t take away my pride of being a soldier for the United States. I’ll hold onto that until I die.”