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Tenants secede from Niles association



Published: Sat, July 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The tenants say they have declared their independence.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

NILES -- Fourteen McKinley Towers tenants have seceded from their tenant association, alleging the president is a "dictator."

Nicholas Edgar, president of the McKinley Towers Tenant Association, and Donald Emerson Jr., director of the Trumbull Metropolitan Housing Authority, say tenants can't break away, although they don't have to participate in the group's activities.

The TMHA-operated facility provides low-cost housing to about 100 low-income, elderly and disabled people.

"We refuse to allow anyone to take away our freedom, especially the government," the 14 declared in a signed statement.

"To add insult to injury, the MTTA president [Edgar] is a dictator who has temper tantrums and rages. He verbally attacks tenants, reducing them to tears. He rules with terrorism," they assert in what they describe as their declaration of independence.

Wearing a yellow T-shirt identifying him as the "tenant patrol," Edgar denied Friday that he is a dictator who throws tantrums.

"They can't accept that I speak for the association," said Edgar, 63, who has been president since the group was formed three years ago.

Two of the 14, Virginia Wilkinson and Juanita Ward, said that because of the secession, Edgar can't speak for them.

Wilkinson and Ward said Edgar takes the side in court of troublemaking tenants, and says he represents all of the tenants when he approaches businesses for donations for fund-raising events.

Edgar countered that he doesn't support the troublemakers, but may take them to court if they don't have a ride.

Wilkinson and Ward said Edgar's helping such tenants results in their supporting him as head of the group.

Survived recall votes

Edgar has weathered some rough times at the high-rise. Some residents have twice forced a recall vote to oust him. He has survived, including the latest vote last Friday.

Also, Edgar said, TMHA has twice tried to evict him.

"We can represent ourselves. We want to be free again," Wilkinson said.

Emerson said that only the residents can "throw Edgar out" as president -- and they haven't.

"We [TMHA] have no control over that," he added.

Emerson said that although the 14 have declared their independence, they remain association members because their names are on their leases.

yovich@vindy.com




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