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The Rev. James Blakely, a 97-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, is battling a nonprofit veterans organization to stay in a Brooklyn apartment that he believes was given to him rent free five years ago, the New York Daily News reported.

“They’re trying to put me out. It’s injustice. I don’t know what’s going to happen. … I don’t feel good. I got no place else to go,” said the decorated Pearl Harbor survivor.

Five years ago, journalist Denis Hamill discovered Blakely living in a junkyard trailer with no running water. Arrangements were made days later for him to move into a studio apartment through Black Veterans for Social Justice, a nonprofit that helps vets obtain their military benefits and social services. Blakely’s understanding was that the living space was free. All was well until he received an eviction notice last year that said he owed $24,130 in back rent.

“When we first put Rev. Blakely into that apartment in 2012 and furnished it for him, it was a one-year rent-free lease. After that, Mr. Blakely and his wife signed documents agreeing to pay rent. They have not. We submitted those documents to the courts,” Wendy McClinton, president and CEO of Black Veterans for Social Justice, told the Daily Beast. But Hamill was present when Blakely moved into the apartment and does not recall any discussion about rent.

The veteran’s wife, Bonita Blakely, is adamant that neither she nor her husband signed a lease. What’s more, she said the alleged signed lease has a fraudulent signature. Hamill is suspicious that the organization did not notifying Blakely about rent for years–not until a developer sought to purchase the property in May. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 4.

SOURCE:  New York Daily News, Daily Beast


A 97-Year-Old Black Veteran Faces Eviction For The New Year was originally published on

10 thoughts on “A 97-Year-Old Black Veteran Faces Eviction For The New Year

  1. A signed lease, no signed lease. Black, white or any color in between. It doesn’t matter. The man is 97 years old and served his country. If these heartless spawns of Satan can’t find it in their hearts to find Mr. Blakely and his wife a decent place to live out the remainder of their days in comfort and peace, I’m sure someone of means has read this story. Why has no one stepped up to help? Not high profile enough? No entertainment value? I wish I had the means to move them to my city. Snoop Dog is too busy making sure we know about the thousands he donating to Kaepernick’s cause. Oprah is too busy propping up Hollywierd royalty. Where’s Al “The Perm” Sharpton? Where are the King siblings? Why have we not heard from any of his neighbors? Finally, something to protest and march in the streets about, and all we hear is dead silence.

  2. If this group has an offer to sell the building conditional on all the Units being vacant, should be no problem. They could re-settle the occupant in one of the other places they manage. I’m sure he’d gladly move to help them out, especially as his living has been rent-free. And for them, they can sell the building at a nice profit (presumably) and could place him into another apartment. Win – win.

  3. Okay, so where is his GoFundMe account? Philanthropic entertainer? Rapper? Musician? That’s all it would take to at least stop the eviction until the legal rangling can be straightened out……or even better, find him a new place……

  4. This man’s apartment is no doubt “rent controlled”-which is why they NOW WISH TO EVICT HIM.


    I hope that this 97 yr old Veteran can REMAIN IN HIS APARTMENT-RENT FREE!!!!!!!!!
    Until the good Lord is ready for him.!!!!!!!!

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