Man says he was forced out of his apartment for being gay

A South Florida man has filed suit, claiming his landlord forced him out of his apartment because he is gay.

Federico Garcia also claims the landlord tried to intimidate him with a gun.

 The Miami-Dade Commission on Human Rights has investigated and it believes what happened was discriminatory.

"I was kicked out of the apartment building because after four years they found out I was gay," Garcia said.

Garcia said life at Porta Di Ora was perfect until he showed a little public display of affection with his boyfriend, Tyler King. 

"They saw us holding hands in hallway," he said.

 Garcia not only claims his lease was terminated because of his sexual orientation, but says when he went to talk to landlord Ricardo Martin about renewing his lease, Martin pull out a pistol.

"(I said) 'I need you to let me have my dogs back.' Right when I said that (he)  immediately reaches in his belt behind his back, puts a gun on the table and says ‘Your dogs aren't coming back in the building.'"

Martin denies kicking Garcia out because he is gay.

"No sir,"Martin said. "I suggest you talk to my lawyer."

He gave another reason for not renewing the lease.

"They had a couple of dogs that were not service dogs here," Martin said.

While Martin said it was a dog issue, Garcia said several other tenants have dogs.

"Almost every floor of the ninth floors," Garcia said. "There is at least two to three dogs on each floor."

Garcia said he lived in the building for four years with his dogs and his landlord approved of it.

He said Martin once told him "The official policy here is no dogs, but you don't have a problem....We like your dogs. They are small."

Attorney Matthew Dietz, who represents Garcia in a newly filed lawsuit, says the dogs only became an issue after the landlord found out Garcia was gay.

"You look to see who else they enforced this against," Garcia said. "And when the evidence is so overwhelming that they didn't enforce it on anyone else, then you know for a fact that they discriminated against him for his being gay."

As for the gun, Martin said he has a permit for it and was packing it up for the day.

"I put my gun on the desk to leave the office," Martin said.

He said he was not trying to intimidate him with the weapon.

"My gun was always holstered," Martin said.

While Martin said all the other dogs in the building at the time Garcia lived there were service dogs, that doesn’t appear to be the case.

When the rights commission investigated Garcia’s claim another tenant testified to the commission that he had a dog and that it was not a service animal.

When this was brought up to Martin he said, "I will leave that up to the attorney to answer."

Martin said he is appealing the findings of the commission.

He went on to add that he feels like the victim in this case.

"Actually, I think I am the one that has been discriminated against," Martin said. "I don’t discriminate against anyone." 

This BBSNews article was syndicated from News | WPLG, and written by News | WPLG. Read the original article here.