Two army veterans are looking for a place to live in Arizona, but they’ve hit a wall. And a landlord they reached out to is blaming it on President Trump.
Alyssa Gillaspy and her wife, Kara Gillaspy, are moving from Olympia, Wash., to Phoenix, Ariz., so that they can live closer to Kara’s family. They found a house in West Phoenix that they were interested in, but when they contacted the landlord, Gary Faulkinbury, he was not welcoming.
Alyssa and Kara met in the Warrior Transition Battalion after. “I was med evaced home to the WTB,” Alyssa told Yahoo Lifestyle. They got married in March 2017. “We receive VA disability for our income,” she shared. “I am too disabled to work,” said the vet, who suffers from PTSD from her tour in Iraq. “My wife will be getting a job once we move as well.”
Faulkinbury was not sensitive to their situation.
“We had just inquired on the home,” Alyssa told Yahoo Lifestyle of her initial email. In response, Faulkinbury said he was not accepting applicants who received financial support from the government because “[T]rump is threatening to postpone payments for a few months so he can pay for the wall.” So, he’s afraid he won’t get paid for the home. “[T]ry back after he is no longer in office.”
What kinda bullshit is that?!
“I responded saying that his first message was discrimination, then he really went off on us,” Alyssa told Yahoo Lifestyle.
In response, he called Alyssa a “stupid f***” and a “f***ing dumb s***.” He blamed Trump for his inability to rent to them. He also insisted he was not discriminating against them, and doesn’t discriminate against the military in general.
Seriously? What the hell. None of this was called for!🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬
Alyssa shared these aggressive messages on Facebook, and her story has since been picked up by local news stations.
Alyssa isn’t sure if his anger toward the couple is due to their political beliefs (which he knows nothing about), their sexual orientation, or both. Whatever it is, they were shocked. “We’ve never been treated so poorly,” she said. “We have received comments on us being a same-sex couple. But never anything like this. Never had anyone discriminate us because we are veterans.”
At first, Faulkinbury seemed to think he was doing the couple a favor. “If I can’t get through to them, what difference does it make?” he told FOX 10. “I’m trying to get through to them about what’s happening.”
The next morning, however, he had sent the couple an apology via text. “I apologize for the knee jerk reaction I had about the misunderstanding of the information about the temporary stopping of the benefits to government recipients,” he wrote. “I currently do have an active military service person renting a house and I am not anti military people. I’m sorry I gave you that impression. I would be happy to let you talk to the current tenant I have so you can verify,” he offered. “The information on the suspension of government benefits was just another lie coming from Trump that I am not taking as accurate.” He explained that at the time of their inquiry, he had just received this information about Trump, and just “ran with it.” “I was upset that he was going to cause more chaos and that was not the way to handle it,” he admitted. “Sorry for the harsh words and I was not intending disrespect to you but instead at the situation.”
He also gave the couple, and anyone else who wishes to, permission to apply for the apartment. But the Gillaspys are no longer interested in the home. Since the story spread, other realtors in the area have reached out to them to offer support and real estate opportunities.
“I apologized to them for my undeserved response I sent them,” Faulkinbury told Yahoo Lifestyle via text. “I currently have tenants that are active military and other people who receive government benefits.” He heard that Trump was going to “suspend all payments so he can pay for the wall,” and that was his “knee-jerk” reaction. “I thought I would lose my current tenants and future tenants if he did that and I took out my frustration on someone who didn’t deserve it,” he admitted. “I apologize to anyone I offended and will always accept military service people as I have done in the past.”
The Gillaspys didn’t respond to Gary and don’t plan to. “We do not think it was sincere one bit.”
The couple says they’re exploring all legal options. According to Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, it is unlawful for any person whose business includes “residential real estate-related transactions to discriminate against any person in making available such a transaction, or in the terms or conditions of such a transaction, because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.”
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