Since I first posted this warning over 4 years ago, as many as 8 other tenants and former employees of Konish have contacted me with their stories of how Konish cheated them. Some cheated tenants have posted their stories on these websites:
Here are some edited excerpts from an email I have received recently:
I was a former tenant of Jim Konish in 2017, where I lived with him and several other people crammed into an old pink Victorian house across from the Thomas Center. Not long after I moved in I realized that Jim has some serious mental issues, and needs help. After bullying and kicking out some of his other tenants, Jim began to do the same to me. First he began accusing me of doing very strange and random things (none of which I did). Jim later began to abuse me verbally. Later he began to threaten me, and then when I stated my intentions to move out, he printed out a termination of lease a month earlier than my intended date. Jim later refused to return my security deposit, stating a storage fee which was written nowhere in the lease agreement. I ended up suing him in small claims court and winning my deposit back as well as all of my court fees.
If you have ever been cheated, bullied or lied to by Jim Konish, or witnessed him doing that to someone else, please reply to this posting and tell me your story. Let's work together to help protect others from this man's predatory business practices.
Jim Konish: Landlord from Hell
I am a 70-year-old Vietnam War veteran and cancer survivor. For the last 8 years, I have been coming down here to Gainesville for 3 months every winter for an annual check-up at the VA hospital. In each of those years, I have rented rooms in this town from various private individuals and never had any problems, until 5 years ago.
From December 20, 2013, until March 17, 2014, I rented a room from attorney Jim Konish in his house at 618 NE 2nd Street in Gainesville FL 32601. During that entire time, I was a clean, quiet and considerate tenant who faithfully paid all his monthly rentals on time and complied with all the other stipulations in our rental agreement. But that was not good enough for Jim Konish.
From the very day that I moved into his rental property, Konish began to bully me. I soon became so frightened by his irrational behavior that I began to keep a log of the incidents of abuse that he subjected me to (available upon request) and wrote letters to people who have had dealings with him to inform them about how he was behaving (available upon request). On one occasion, when Konish tried to pick a fight with me and I simply refused to be cowed by him, he called the police on me and presented the investigating officer with an outlandish story which had absolutely no basis in fact (GPD Incident Report available upon request).
On 15 February 2014, I personally handed him the legally-required written one-month notice that I would be moving out on 17 March 2014. On several occasions during the month that followed, he showed the room to prospective tenants and told them it would be available on 18 March.
True to my notice, I was packed up and ready to move out of his torture chamber on the evening of 17 March 2014, but he was not around to collect my keys and do the walk-through. He lives in the same building. He saw me cleaning and packing all day. But he did not respond to my requests that he come down to see me off. Finally, his son, then a Gainesville HS student, came down from the apartment he then shared with his father, inspected my room, praised its cleanliness, apologized for his father's calling the police on me, informed me that his father had done the same to him, and, as I left the premises, congratulated me for getting out from under his father's thumb.
On April 18, 2014, thirty-two days after I moved out of that room and left Gainesville, which was two days after the expiration of the 30-day period allowed by law for imposing such claims, Mr. Konish saw fit to illegally confiscate $190 of the $400 security deposit that I had paid him when I moved in.
Konish's claims against my security deposit are every bit as dishonest as they are illegal. He claimed that he spent 2 hours and charged me $40 for cleaning my 12' x 15' room that his son had inspected and found astonishingly clean. He claimed it cost him $120 to clean the common kitchen weekly but did not charge the two other tenants who used that facility while I was living there and moved out the day after I did. And he charged me $20 for having called the police on me for a reason that did not appear anywhere in his complaint to them.
Mr. Konish, a practicing attorney, knows very well that he does not have a legal ground to stand on. Because he missed the 30-day period, he knows that the law demands that he return my security deposit. He also knows that the claims he presents in that illegal document are outright lies and that I have the evidence to discredit them. But he is a conniving lawyer who also knows that I do not live year-round in Gainesville and would have to go to some expense to return repeatedly to follow-up any lawsuit I might file against him. So, he is using this tactic -- hiding behind the judicial process -- to cheat me of what he knows he owes me.
In so doing, Mr. Konish is demonstrating the belligerent and authoritarian management style that he uses to run his rental property business and to deceive, insult, intimidate, bully and finally cheat his tenants like me and who knows how many others over the years.
I have filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. If Mr. Konish were a businessman of merit, he would be eager to see this dispute amicably resolved outside of a courtroom, but he has refused to participate in the BBB's dispute resolution process. His refusal to do so would suggest to any reasonable person that he has something to hide and does not have the truth on his side.
Here is my warning to the citizens of Gainesville: Jim Konish is certainly not a landlord, businessman, or attorney that honest folks would want to deal with. Nor is he a civic activist whose public statements should be trusted or respected.
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