Slumlord Blocks Family from Recovering Property of Tenant Found Dead in a Trailer During Winter, 2022
This is the deepening story of negligence and fraud committed by a Barrie slumlord against a disabled man. On February 26th, 2022, Jay Marche, known to his friends as Bear, was found dead within a poorly heated and uninsulated camping trailer that was rented to him during sub-zero temperatures for the cost of $700.00 per month, paid for by the Ontario Disability Support Program. The original story, viewed by more than 50,000 mostly local people, can be found at https://www.fivepointsmedia.ca/landlord-abuse-bear01.html and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ocanetwork.ca/posts/3123613381214935.
Yesterday, Tuesday, March 1, 2022, I met with Diane Marche, the mother of Jason (Bear) Marche, along with several other members of his family. They came to 306 Innisfil St. to collect whatever belongings their son, uncle, brother, and stepson had left in the uninsulated trailer for which the Ontario Disability Support Program had paid the landlord, Jason Hejja, $700.00 per month so this man could endure temperatures below -30 degrees without adequate heat and no insulation.
They then came to our studio looking for help after learning that the negligent landlord had padlocked the door with an entirely new latch that was not there when Bear was found nearly dead in the cold metal box he was forced by poverty to call home.
The family played it smart and called the police, as they had documentation to show that the ODSP had paid the rent in full for February and March and that the last month, for April, remained on deposit. This meant that the landlord illegally locked the trailer, evidently with the intent being to restrict the family from gaining access to the truth of his negligence. Diane informed me that she had advised Jason Hejja of her intent to sue him and his partners for negligence or other liability that led to Bear’s untimely passing. It seemed obvious to all that the landlord had locked the trailer to prohibit the family from attaining evidence against him.
When police arrived, they called Jason Hejja to ask for the padlock combination. He refused to provide it and said he would come to the trailer in about 40 minutes. The officers also seemed unable to understand the obvious stalling tactic. We have a well-equipped in-studio workshop for building props etc., and I offered if necessary to provide any tools needed by the family. Together, we all waited.
When Jason Hejja eventually arrived, he met first with the police on the street. He was clearly none too impressed to see me standing in the shared driveway, as he frequently pointed at me while turning his masked face away from my camera. He then told me that I could not come onto his property because I was ‘good at twisting the truth’. This is the story of how a man with disabilities was found dead in a grossly inadequate uninsulated summer trailer during sub-zero temperatures which Jason Hejja rented as a room for the price of $700.00 a month that he collected directly from ODSP. The facts speak for themselves.
I ignored his false claims of authority and followed the slumlord to the trailer where Hejja and the police were told by members of Bear’s family that I was there as media at their invitation. Then Jason Hejja tried to coerce the officers to charge me with trespassing and to remove me from the site. At that point, Robbie, Bear’s best friend, who is also a tenant within the house, stepped up and told Jason Hejja and the police that I was there as his guest.
Under current law, as administered by the Landlord and Tenant Board under the Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, a landlord cannot deny a tenant the right to have guests, and they cannot legally demand a limit on how long a guest can stay. Regardless, I was told by Robbie and by members of Bear’s family that after I had left the site for about a minute to obtain a pry bar from my studio workshop, Jason Hejja called Robbie “a traitor” for saying I could stay against his wishes.
We recorded as the landlord, Jason Hejja, tried to bully my camera and me off site, going so far as to threaten me with arrest. He also tried to coerce Bear’s family members to bust open the trailer. After I left, I am told the slumlord tried to buy off Bear’s mother with an offer of transferring ownership to her.