Landlord asks court to evict Kanawha delegate Raines
Kanawha County school board member Becky Jordon and her husband filed a complaint Thursday against Republican Delegate Suzette Raines, asking that Raines be evicted from a South Hills residence.
The complaint alleges Raines failed to pay $2,500 in rent and allowed her dogs to cause “significant damage” to the rental house that Becky and Andrew Jordon own on Roller Road in Charleston.
Later Thursday, Raines said her two dogs, a Maltise-Yorkshire terrier mix named “Colbie” and a poodle named “Poodle” — didn’t damage the rental house.
To settle the dispute, Raines said she delivered a $1,550 cashier’s check to the Jordons’ home in South Hills Thursday afternoon. Raines said she already was in the process of moving out.
“When I found out I was being evicted, it was an odd sort of thing because I was moving out,” Raines said. “This is embarrassing. It’s just really difficult.”
Raines said Becky Jordon was a good friend and knew Raines was struggling after the death of her mother earlier this year and a breakup with her fiancé.
“I’m surprised she did this,” Raines said. “She knows what I’ve gone through. Becky’s my friend, but she’s just a different person.”
Jordon referred questions to her lawyer, who did not return a phone message Thursday. The Jordons filed their petition against Raines in Kanawha County Circuit Court.
On June 16, employees who work for the Jordons discovered “strong pet odors, urine and feces throughout the home” that Raines was renting, according to an eviction notice sent to Raines last month. The animals damaged the rental home’s carpet, wood flooring and kitchen cabinets, the complaint alleges.
“This is a situation that is unacceptable,” the Jordons’ lawyer, O. Gay Elmore Jr., wrote in a letter to Raines.
Also, trash was “scattered upon the premises outside the house,” according to the eviction notice. Raines did not have permission to keep pets at the rental home, the notice says.
Raines said Becky Jordon always knew that Raines had two dogs and planned to keep them at the Roller Road residence. Raines said she and Jordon exchanged texts about the dogs and alleged damage earlier this year.
There’s no carpet in the house, no urine smell, and the cabinets aren’t broken, Raines said Thursday.
“I never intended to hide the dogs,” she said. “They haven’t torn up the house.”
Raines said previous occupants — not her — left trash outside the house.
“This used to be an abandoned property,” she said. “There were tons of things outside, animals got into to the garbage, but to imply I threw trash out the back door is ridiculous.”
Last month, the Jordons directed Raines to vacate the Roller Road property by Wednesday of this week, but Raines didn’t leave. She also failed to pay her rent for July, according to the petition.
The Jordons notified Raines that her $1,500 security deposit would not be refunded.
Raines said she stayed at the rental house Wednesday night for the first time in weeks. She said she didn’t pay her July rent on time because the air-conditioning hasn’t been working since May, and there was standing water in the basement. She said she started paying rent to the Jordons in February, but didn’t start living at the house until early April.
Raines said she decided to move out because she couldn’t afford to rent a home, while also paying a mortgage on her late mother’s house.
“I’ve been in the process of moving out of that [Roller Road] house for two weeks,” said Raines, a Republican, running for re-election in the 35th Delegate District.
Two years ago, Becky Jordon held a campaign fundraising breakfast at her home for Raines, the delegate said. Becky and Andrew Jordon also contributed money to Raines’ campaign, she said.
In turn, Raines said she helped Jordon’s reelection campaign for the Kanawha school board. Raines said Jordon wanted personal information about rival school board candidate Vic Sprouse, a former state senator.
“She would call and text me during the race,” Raines recalled Thursday. “She would call me all the time from The Greenbrier on fire about Vic Sprouse. She wanted me to get information about Vic’s family.”
Last week, the state Democratic Executive Committee filed a petition in Kanawha Circuit Court to remove Raines as a candidate for the House of Delegates. The petition alleges that Raines failed to file financial disclosures with the state Ethics Commission, as well as three campaign finance reports with the secretary of state’s office for the primary election reporting period.
The complaint also asserted that Raines no longer lives at the address listed on her certificate of candidacy, 850 Jonash Lane in St. Albans.
Earlier this week, Raines’ lawyer emailed the Ethics Commission a copy of Raines’ financial disclosure form, which lists her residence as 8 Roller Road — the rental home owned by the Jordons.
“I’ve never lived outside my district,” Raines said Thursday. “It’s personal to me, but it’s political to all these other idiots. They know what a difficult time I’ve had. They’re attacking me because they know I’m in a difficult place.”
Raines said she’s now living with her brother at their new home in St. Albans. She said they were renting the Carroll Street house, but bought it July 7.
“I’ve really had a hard time with everything, and I don’t want to be alone,” Raines said. “I’ve moved around so much. It’s better for me to get back on my feet and rebuild my life.”
Reach Eric Eyre at firstname.lastname@example.org, 304-348-4869 or follow @EricEyre on Twitter.