Mosaic Man Avoids Eviction, Agrees to Pay Back Rent

photo(330)Melvin Felix The Mosaic Man’s cane and service
dog, in court today.

After being thrown out of his studio in the basement of Barbiere, Jim Power avoided eviction from his apartment at The Lee today. Mr. Power, known for creating the neighborhood’s mosaic trail and outfitting local businesses like Porchetta and The Bean, agreed to pay $547.29 in outstanding rent by the end of September, staving off a return to homelessness.

In July, the low-income residence brought a lawsuit demanding $806.66 in back rent and requesting a final judgment of eviction. The Mosaic Man said he had stopped paying the monthly dues for his rent-stabilized apartment in order to protest a slew of problems at 133 Pitt Street. This week, he told The Local, he found a pool of blood in a building elevator.

“It’s shocking,” Mr. Power said. “They need to put a security guard in there with a gun.” (The Local has left a message with a spokesperson for Common Ground requesting comment.)

In housing court, Mr. Power was an avid self-promoter, showing judge Cheryl Gonzales a photo of President Obama adjacent one of his trademark mosaic poles, one of which celebrates The Local. As the judge asked if he was sure he wanted to settle the case and pay the amount due, he took out a crumpled paper from a legal envelope and held it up. “As it happens, I’m on the cover of the East Villager. There are three stories—” he managed to say before the judge cut him off.

Mr. Power said he was considering bringing a class-action suit against Common Ground, the non-profit that owns The Lee. “I don’t want a dime out of it,” he told The Local. “It’s not about the money. It’s about the issue.”