Pubdate: Mon, 30 Apr 2007
Source: Asheville Citizen-Times (NC)
Copyright: 2007 Asheville Citizen-Times
Author: Joel Burgess
Note: MAP archives articles exactly as published, except that our 
editors may redact the names and addresses of accused persons who 
have not been convicted of a crime, if those named are not otherwise 
public figures or officials.


Landlord: I Can't Evict Resident Facing Drug Charges

WEST ASHEVILLE - Burton Street-area residents who have worked to 
clean up their neighborhood, long associated with illegal drugs and 
violence, are facing a recurring problem with a home now housing its 
second resident connected with drug dealing.

Despite neighbors' demands and a strongly worded letter from police, 
the landlord of [redacted] said he couldn't evict his renter, 
[redacted], without a conviction.

"I don't have any love for anyone who deals drugs, but I want to make 
sure I don't get into trouble myself," Latif Fakhoury of Mars Hill 
said this month. Fakhoury said his attorney advised him that evidence 
presented to him amounted to hearsay and would not stand up in court.

Residents went to Mars Hill two years ago to confront Fakhoury about 
a previous renter also connected with drug dealing. That renter 
eventually left, but Fakhoury said it was not because he evicted him.

The new renter, [redacted], has had charges against him including 
possession of cocaine with intent to sell and deliver and at least 
one arrest at the house for possession of cocaine, said Asheville 
Police Capt. Tim Splain in a Dec. 1 letter to Fakhoury.

"A reasonable person could make the assumption that you profit from 
the illegal drug income of these past and present tenants by taking 
rent money from them," Splain said.

Because Burton falls in a federally designated Weed and Seed Area, 
the U.S. Justice Department could seize the property if such a 
connection is shown, the captain said. Splain could not be reached 
Friday for comment about the need for a conviction.

Still, residents like Teresa McPherson said they might pay another 
visit to Fakhouy if nothing changes.

"Our goal is to let the landlord know that, 'Hey, you need to be 
careful of the people you put in our community,'" McPherson said. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake