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Business Tenant Evicted for Not Speaking Spanish

Who would have thought that in America a man would be evicted from his place of business because he spoke only English:

Tom McKenna is a longtime Stuart businessman who speaks only English.

He says that's why he's being kicked out of the storefront on South Dixie Highway where he has run Seacoast Water Care for seven years.

"I don't know how else to put it," said McKenna, 51.

I'm not sure I do either.

On July 5 -- the day after Independence Day -- McKenna received a letter from landlord Ivan Munroe telling him to consider another location.

Munroe said in his letter he wants to have "quality tenants serving the Spanish need in the area."

"I guess I don't serve the 'Spanish need,' whatever that means," McKenna said.

"I have plenty of Spanish-speaking workers come in here to buy water for their landscaping crews," he said. "And people in the neighborhood use the vending machines out front to fill their water bottles for their homes."

The building is on the east side of Dixie Highway, south of Indian Street in Golden Gate. Directly south of McKenna's store, across Southeast Ellendale Street, is a Texaco gas station where men, most of whom speak primarily Spanish, gather to wait for someone to hire them for day labor.

The population of the Golden Gate neighborhood east of McKenna's store also has become mostly Spanish-speaking.

To McKenna, that's irrelevant, as it should be. A customer is a customer is a customer.

But all the signs for the check-cashing store and the Mexican restaurant that share the building with McKenna are in Spanish.

Apparently the signs for Seacoast Water Care don't fit in. They're in English.

There are many reason why this is really disturbing. One of the reasons illegal immigration flourishes in this country is because people like Mr. Munroe cater to those who sneak across the border, which encourages even more illegals to sneak across the border. Let's not forget that English is the language primary of the United States, yet an American man is evicted from his business space because he speaks only English? Punishing American citizens because they don't cater to illegal aliens who are running roughshod over the laws of this country will back fire on the people like Munroe because the American people are overwhelmingly anti-illegal immigration.


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Comments (15)

I will note that this kind ... (Below threshold)

I will note that this kind of phenomenon is not unique to Spanish-speaking neighborhoods. Chinatowns tend to have signs in both Chinese and English, Little Koreas in Korean and English, and so forth.

A Russian acquaintance of mine visited Brighton Beach a couple years back, and told me that eveyrbody there speaks Russian, even if they are not of an ethnicity for whom Russian is a natural first or second language.

Also somewhat outside the scope of this article: A landlord who leases retail storefront in a heavily Spanish-speaking neighborhood would likely want his tenant to cater to the Spanish speakers, as a number of retail leases give the landlord a percentage of the business's income as part of the rent. If a business owner refused to cater to a Spanish-speaking clientele in such an area, then the landlord is likely losing money leasing to that retail storefront.


PW,you missed this p... (Below threshold)

you missed this part:

I have plenty of Spanish-speaking workers come in here to buy water for their landscaping crews," he said. "And people in the neighborhood use the vending machines out front to fill their water bottles for their homes."

SCSI:I did see tha... (Below threshold)


I did see that part; in my comment, I was reflecting on the more general issue of such things. Personally, I am of the opinion that absent any specific ordinance or law that mandates not discirminating against the tenant for not speaking Spanish, this really is a private matter between the landowner and the tenant.


Wow..Well it sure isnt a pr... (Below threshold)

Wow..Well it sure isnt a private matter anymore PW..

Sue his a double s for disc... (Below threshold)

Sue his a double s for discrimination.

Is it legal to evict him fo... (Below threshold)

Is it legal to evict him for that reason?

I see a civil lawsuit that ... (Below threshold)
scrapiron Author Profile Page:

I see a civil lawsuit that will make it possible for Mr McKenna to never work again, or he may end up owning everything the idiot land'lord' has and ever will have. This is a jury I would volunteer to serve on.

As the Bard might say: "Mu... (Below threshold)

As the Bard might say: "Much ado about nothing."

The guy isn't being "evicted" legally. That's just the (inflammatory) term the guy who wrote the linked post chose to use. It appears the landlord is merely refusing to renew the lease.

The landlord needs 15 minutes with a good attorney, though. In business, you NEVER give a "reason" for what you are doing. You say, "We do not choose to renew this lease. Your tenancy ends effective ..." or "We will not accept this ad at this time" for newspapers, for example. Giving reasons just begs for nuisance suits.

But in my country, a property owner can rent to whoever the heck he wants to. It's HIS property, NOT the renter's.

ha.i think it's fu... (Below threshold)
ryan a:


i think it's funny when writers try to emphasize political stances based upon some non-issue like this one.

what's the big deal with spanish anyway? why are so many americans paranoid about speaking more than one language???

fortunately, jim addison is on here talking some sense about the matter. the guy wasn't kicked out, his lease just wasn't renewed. big deal. as jim says, it's the property owner's RIGHT. and i think that most conservatives support such rights.

trying to capitalize on the whole spanish-speaking aspect is a joke. and by the way, spanish was being spoken in florida (notice that it's a spanish word) long before english ever was. it was first taken from the indians by spanish colonials. the english speakers acquired it later. making the claim that english is the primary language around those parts not only ignores the present, it ignores the past.

Actually, he was evicted. A... (Below threshold)

Actually, he was evicted. According to the letter the owner sent to him on August 1, 2007.

And I quote from the letter written to the tenant. I intentionally omitted the address.

"You rental of is hereby terminated as of midnight August 31, 2007. Your last month's rent was prepaid.

Please remove all of your possessions by August 31, 2007 and leave the key in my mailbox.

Thank you,
Signed, Ivan Munroe"

If that's not an eviction notice, I don't know what is. I've had to move all my worldly possessions on short notice before. It's not fun.

I just can't imagine what having 30 days to move your entire business would do to you. What about accounts that have been paid for and have not yet been delivered on? I can't even imagine what this guy is going through. I wish him the best. If I was him, I'd get a lawyer and fight this. I personally think this is a clear case of discrimination.

It is not the language, it'... (Below threshold)

It is not the language, it's the crime. Years ago Ricardo Monteban sold hundreds of thousands of Chrylser cars with his authentic Spanish accent. It is what Spanish represents in the areas hardest hit by illegal immigration.
The biggest heroin bust in California's history took place a few miles from my home. The illegal immigrants arrested with the drugs spoke Spanish, not French. Spanish used to represent "rich Corinthian leather". Now it represents millions of illegal immigrants demanding more rights in our streets, drug cartels, overcowded schools, streets and hospitals. Oh, and urinating in public. Everyone I have ever seen urinating in Orange County public has been a Spanish speaking person. The associations are unpleasant and cause a negative reaction. California has an official language, English, but that didn't save my community. The illegal, Spanish speaking immigrants have caused most of the bad changes and the legal Vietnamese immigrants have done most of the good. It is not the language, its is the crime, that is the problem. It is not my no existent "racism" that is the problem, it is their crime that hurts the community.

What would happen if I was ... (Below threshold)

What would happen if I was renting a house and a black couple wanted to test it but I said no because it is a white neighborhood and I think it should stay that way. Or how about when I hire a staff person and they have a heavy spanish accent and I say I can't hire you because your spanish accent is too heavy. How about wanting to hire someone for a dry cleaners business but I tell a white applicant that I prefer Chinese applicants only. What is alright? They are private businesses. Is this okay? ww

Well, there are mitigating ... (Below threshold)

Well, there are mitigating factors there. If he had been late on his rent, it's a point that can't be underestimated. If he wasn't maintaining the area surrounding his business, that's another. Both are perfectly sound reasons for not renewing a lease. That the landlord said the tenant "wasn't serving the needs of the Spanish-speaking people" was just a throw away remark and stupid.

If I were a landlord though, I certainly wouldn't be renting to a "check-cashing store". They're practices are predatory. The article states that Spanish people gather at the Texaco station across the street waiting for someone to hire them. Wanna bet how many of them are legal? So the "check-cashing store" likely does "cater to their needs", but it's another example of the exploitation of those who are here illegally.

Sue those jerks for dicrimi... (Below threshold)
spurwing plover:

Sue those jerks for dicrimination there is no reason to drop someone becuase he cant speak in spanish screw the liberals and screw the bilingialists

Sorry Oyster, The followin... (Below threshold)

Sorry Oyster, The following quote comes from the abstract of a Federal Reserve/NYU study (8/03) of the check cashing business:

"The unbanked often must rely on alternative ways to carry out basic financial transactions such as cashing payroll checks and paying bills. This study analyzes unique survey data and finds that a consumer's decision to patronize check-cashing businesses is jointly made with the decision to be unbanked. For the unbanked, these businesses are an important source for financial services."

Facts be damned. Leftist myths have a life all their own.






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