Toronto Tenants Associations info


How the "official" City of Toronto controlled tenants association treats other tenants

Winning friends and influencing enemies


Tenants' Enemies and Adversaries
Ideas from Ken Hale and Howard Tessler

The Federation of Metro Tenants has had a policy since Howard Tessler came in 1995, on how new volunteers and employees should be briefed about who were the "good guys" and who were the "bad guys". Whether it was his idea or that of FMTA Vice-Chair of the time, Ken Hale, (formerly the director of the discredited Tenant Hotline and now legal director of the Advocacy Centre for Tenants' Ontario,) I doubt they will ever reveal.

When new people would come in, Tessler would sit them down and tell the rookies about the "enemies of tenants". Then they would list the names of other tenant associations like the High Park Tenants' Association, the North Toronto Tenant Network, the North York Tenants Association, etcetera.

One newbie questioned that and was soundly admonished by staff member Harold Becker, (who now runs the constituency office of Toronto City councillor Sandra Bussin).

That new volunteer then went to executive committee member (and homeowner,) Ken Hale and was told that he didn't understand. He said, "Landlords aren't our enemy, they are merely our adversaries. It is other tenant groups and tenant advocates who don't join us and endorse us who are the enemy!"

To this day, after Dan McIntyre was brought in by Ken Hale and FMTA Chair Barb Hurd (Ken's common-law wife,) and Howard demoted to heading up the Tenant Hotline, they have continued to instruct the new employees and volunteers as to the names of the "real enemies of tenants".


Tenants Awards and other flattery
How to buy supporters for almost nothing

Howard Tessler, when he was Executive Director of the FMTA, used to say that it was so easy to get supporters or to buy off those who had doubts, "you use flattery."

Tessler said that one way to do this was to "recognize a useful idiot" by giving them an award in a ceremony. He said that for "a few bucks I can buy a blank award certificate and get my wife (now ex-wife) to fill it in for nothing". Give it to them to praise their work for tenants and "just about every idiot falls for it."

Howard Tessler used to say, "the dumbest creatures on this planet are women." "If you kiss one on the back of the hand you can get them to whore money for you at the grants committees." He said that he had done that with Bea Levis a seniors and women's activist, and had done the same with the city housing department's Katherine Chislett and Gwynne Cheung. "And if that doesn't do the trick you buy them a meal with the money they are going to get for you."


"$20 Dan" - Dan McIntye
Getting a return on the city's investment

Dan McIntyre came into the Toronto picture in 1999, after the failure of his Ottawa group. He wanted to be called "a coordinator" not the Executive Director, so he would not be seen as responsible if there were any repercussions, something he said he had learned a long time ago in Ottawa. Plus he said it made him look more modest. But with him the strategies became cruder.

The Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations had tried to undermine former employee Paul York who was now the only one out there organizing tenants by going out and actually organizing meetings. York was infamous for being late for his own meetings, typically 30 to 45 minutes so they had been sending out employee Marcia Barry who would show up on time, said that she and the FMTA had planned the meeting with Paul, and would sign everybody for paid memberships in the FMTA and leave just as Paul York showed up. Paul started to arrive on time which put an end to this skullduggery.

Now Paul had lobbied Toronto City Councillor Michael Walker of the idea of creating a Tenant Defense Fund to finance all the costs of pro-actively organizing tenants, but Councillor Walker stabbed him in the back, and took credit for the idea and decided all the money should go to the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations. When Paul fought back, Dan McIntyre tried to buy him off by having Walker offer him a bit of the money, but as a subcontractor who would go out and organize the tenants for the Federation under the FMTA's name and not Paul York's Greater Toronto Tenants' Association. York was not bought off and turned it down. A new strategy had to be found.

The FMTA never did go out and knock on doors to organize tenants, it is too much work. Instead, city housing manager Katherine Chislett visited the city councillors and their staff to praise the work of the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations and told them not to send tenant inquiries to her department or even to the appropriate city inspector but instead to the FMTA. When new councillors get elected she makes sure she talks to them and all their staff to drive this point with them even to this day. Then the FMTA tells the tenants sent to them to organize a meeting themselves, and they will come out to it to give their expert advice. They then take the credit for "organizing" the tenants though some tenants discovered Dan McIntyre's deceptions and complained as did the West Lodge Tenants Association and the High Park Tenants Association.

Dan not to give up on the strategy of lies, came up with a new tactic to quell any misgivings. When he went to these meetings organized by the tenants, he would pull a $20 bill out of his pocket, provided by the petty cash of the FMTA, all coming from the City of Toronto's Tenant Defense Fund contract to the "Outreach and Organizing Team" given without any city tenants to his group. But Dan being a cheap as he is, he had to make that up, so he would sign up members in the FMTA on the spot at $5 per apartment. With greed, around 2005, McIntyre pushed through an increase to $10 an apartment and would often walk out with $200-400 for the evening on his $20 gift to the newly formed building tenants' association to "cover their photocopying costs". Hence the name, $20 Dan, and the tenants would not suspect they were taking all the credit for and being paid for organizing all these meetings.


David Dimitrie
"Buying them off"

In 2006, David D, who ran the Kipps Lane Tenants' Association, in London Ontario gave an excellent speech before a Queen's Park committee, attacking the Liberal government's proposed Residential Tenancies Act.

David was vocal against the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations for praising the new law. He followed in the footsteps of those critical of the FMTA, such as this website, Vance Latchford, Bob Olsen, Bob Gosschalk, Paul York, Bob Levitt, Lynne Carleton, Gail Gleeson, Janet Lisboa and so many other tenant activists.

Dan said he wouldn't stand for the criticisms from this mental incompetent and arranged to go out to London to meet with David Dimitrie. He said he would get him onside.

McIntyre would often use the term "MI" or "mental incompetent" though a couple of times he used "mental patient" to describe Dimitrie and other opponents. "MI" and "mental incompetent" were his slang for psychatric survivors, but he used it for anybody he disagreed with who he was frustrated with.

Who knows what actually happened in that meeting, but Dan claimed he bought David off with flattery saying he would make a good city councillor and encouraging him to run, and support to create a Tenant Defense Fund in London that Dimitrie could use to fund his activities, but he said if the fund ever came to pass, the FMTA would get its share of it for "coming up with the idea". But obviously it worked because after McIntyre came back from London, the Kipps Lane Tenants Association and David who McIntyre still calls an "MI" was singing the praises of the FMTA on his tenants website.


Fred Joseph

In 2006, Fred J, a mortgage broker also gave a speech at the hearing in the new law. Dan called him to an "MI" and "a moron who thinks he is a lawyer," but admitted he knew about tenants in condo buildings.

Dan said with a "little bit of praise he wrote a whole condo document" Dan passed off to city councillors as his own, and put on their website to ensure an increase in funding that year for the Federation of Metro Tenants Associations.


Simon Shields
"Is That Legal"

A lawyer in the 80's and early 90's, Simon S had been a very progressive lawyer, doing tenant work who dropped out of sight during the Mike Harris years. He reappeared in 2007 with a new website called www.isthatlegal.ca

Dan said the guy was out of law for so long they "guy didn't know what he was talking about," but he managed to get Simon S too to link to the Federation of Metro Tenants' Associations and to be supportive of the group.


Dealing with Conservatives on City Council

But what about all those conservatives on Toronto city council who support the ever increasing funding for the FMTA?

I can't tell you about the others, but Norm Kelly was one of the few to vote in support of the Tenant Defense Fund in 1999 and it passed by just one vote in city council, in spite of the lack of tenders for the contract, nor for the new $15,000 a year tenant website the FMTA was to create written into the contract.

Though the city paid them in 1999 and future years for their website, it didn't actually go up until around Labor Day, September 2000, just in time for the 2000 municipal elections. When the issue came up that in the 1999 contract the FMTA was paid $15,000 specifically to have a website, but there wasn't one that year, city councillors Michael Walker, Joe Mihevc, Howard Moscoe and Michael Prue said they didn't care, they supported the FMTA.

Councillor Norm Kelley said that he supported the FMTA's funding "because they are useless and no threat to landlords" and "we politicians don't need anybody criticising us in the papers leading up to an election."


Conclusion

So there you have it. If you criticise the wrong people, don't criticise the ones you should, help out your adversaries (by helping to fix problems in the Harris government's TPA,) attack your enemies, and buy off all the rest with flattery, meals, a job or a few bucks, you too can get lots of government funding at the expense of the people you claim to represent!


Toronto Tenants Associations info

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