New York judge orders man, 30, to move out of family home after parents sue
Michael Rotondo, who reportedly moved back home eight years ago, issued with eviction order after he thwarted parents’ efforts
A judge has ordered a 30-year-old man in New York state to move out of his parents’ house, after a short legal battle.
During the hearing on Tuesday, state supreme court justice Donald Greenwood tried to convince Michael Rotondo, who reportedly moved back home eight years ago, to leave the family home in Camillus, near Syracuse, of his own accord. But Rotondo, who represented himself in court, argued that he was entitled to six more months of living with his family.
Greenwood called this demand “outrageous” and served him with an eviction order. Michael, in turn, called the eviction order outrageous.
Suing their son in state supreme court was a last resort for Christina and Mark Rotondo, who have spent the past few months sending Michael formal letters asking him to leave.
In a note dated 2 February, which has been filed in Onondaga county supreme court, they wrote: “Michael, after a discussion with your mother, we have decided that you must leave this house immediately. You have 14 days to vacate. You will not be allowed to return. We will take whatever actions are necessary to enforce this decision.”
Rotondo received another letter shortly after that read: “Michael Joseph Rontodo, you are hereby evicted.”
After that failed, the Rotondos tried paying their son to leave. They gave him $1,100 “so you can find a place to stay” and offered him some life advice. “There are jobs available even for those with a poor work history like you,” a letter dated 18 February read. “Get one – you have to work!”
In April, his parents went to their local town court to try and legally evict their son but were told to take their case to the state supreme court. The Rotondos filed a petition in state court and the judge heard the case on Tuesday.
Despite being served with an eviction order, Rotondo seemed to enjoy his time in court. According to Syracuse.com, Rotondo asked television cameras to interview him outside the courtroom. He made it clear that he didn’t live in a basement, and that he had his own bedroom. He also said he did his own laundry.
Rotondo said he had his own business. When asked about that further, however, he would only say: “My business is my business.”
The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, has joined the US in condemning “divisive” German plans to press ahead with the construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, arguing it could leave European energy consumers heavily dependent on “a malign Russian state”.
The giant pipeline, and the terms on which it is built, has become the litmus test of a dispute on how Europe can reach a working relationship with Moscow and yet defend its liberal values from a Russian threat.
In a letter released to pro-Polish British MPs, Johnson says it is right to highlight the “divisiveness of this pipeline across Europe”, adding that “Euro-Atlantic unity remains our strongest tool in standing up to malign Russian activity”.
He also says energy security must be driven by regulations that reduce the ability of any single supplier to exert monopoly control. He insists the EU is right to call for amendments to EU directives to ensure there is a level playing field between gas connectors, a change that would require Germany to allow non-Russian gas to use the pipelines.
Although Johnson in his letter does not specifically call for the pipeline to be halted, he says the UK stands firm in its support for Ukraine on the issue. Ukraine has been leading the opposition to the pipeline, as Russia plans to bypass the current pipeline routed through Ukraine that provides Kiev with badly needed annual income worth 2% of its GDP.
The 745-mile (1,200km) $11.7bn (£8.7bn) Nord Stream 2 is due to be completed in 2019 and will run through the Baltic Sea to Germany. It will follow the track of the existing Nord Stream 1, doubling the pipeline’s annual capacity to 110bn cubic metres. Germany says the pipeline is necessary to fill an energy gap left by the phasing out of its nuclear plants, and the projected decline in supply from Norway and the Netherlands, as their reserves wane.
In recent weeks Germany has come under intensifying American pressure to halt the pipeline, forcing Angela Merkel on to the defensive over her claim that the pipeline’s construction is strictly a commercial decision with no political implications. The issue is starting to dominate major bilateral discussions in Europe, including a summit last Friday in Sochi between the German chancellor and Vladimir Putin. Merkel has been urging the Russian president to guarantee the Ukraine pipeline will still be used, alongside Nord Stream, but he has said that will only happen if it is economically justified.
The US pressure stems in part from genuine concern at a Russian stranglehold on EU energy needs, but Germany has viewed the US involvement as a self-interested commercial intervention designed to increase its liquid gas sales to the European market.
The UK, preoccupied by Brexit, has until now tried to keep a low profile on Nord Stream even though its closest natural allies in Europe, the Baltic states, Poland, Hungary and the Ukraine, all fiercely oppose the pipeline on current terms.
Johnson will also be aware that backbench Tory opposition to the pipeline comes from Eurosceptic MPs wary of German influence inside Europe. Commentators in Russian newspapers such as Pravda this week confidently claimed that UK energy needs would become the anvil on which British opposition to Russia collapses. Reliant on the evaporating reserves of the Norwegians and Dutch for liquid gas, the UK will be forced to turn to Russian gas, and “beg Russia for forgiveness”, Pravda claimed.
There also fears among Euro-sceptics that the Foreign Office has been holding back from condemning Nord Stream because the UK government does not want to alienate Germany at a sensitive moment in the Brexit talks. Daniel Kawczynski, the chair of the all-party parliamentary group on Poland, said: “The letter is not as forthright as it could be, and in some way obfuscates, but importantly it accepts there are implications to the pipeline that extend well beyond what is in Germany’s economic self-interest.”
The final German permits for the construction of the pipeline, opposed by the European commission, were issued last month, ironically just days after Berlin symbolically expelled four Russian diplomats in protest at Moscow’s involvement in the poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.
But the new pipeline is not a done deal, with opposition growing across Europe, including among MEPs. The US injected a fresh element into the discussion when Sandra Oudkirk, its deputy assistant secretary of state for energy diplomacy, said the US feared the pipeline would allow Moscow to place new listening and monitoring technology in the Baltic Sea.
She said Congress had given the US president new powers to impose sanctions against a variety of Russian pipeline projects.
Germany is looking for a deal that somehow keeps Kiev as a supplier, believing this could normalise relations between Ukraine, Russia and Germany. The EU’s objections would be overridden.
Ihave an entrepreneur friend, Arthur, who always wears a suit. I take the mick that I’ve never seen him in casual clothes and his response is: “The suit is the uniform of business.” But in my business, the uniform has often been ripped denim and glitter or computer programmer T-shirts. Either way, work attire can be flexible, as long as it’s appropriate. At WAH Nails, many of the team say that one of the perks is they don’t have to suppress their identity at work. But when we opened in a new location, I thought we needed a slick uniform to make the nail artists easily identifiable. In the team meeting showing potential branded T-shirts, one of the artists, Holli, said sheepishly: “But when I’m wearing a plain black logo T-shirt, I just don’t feel my ‘Stylebrat’ self.” (Stylebrat is her Instagram name.) She was right. We hired women with unique taste, so why was I trying to turn them into a homogenous worker army? We scrapped the shirts and everyone was relieved.
I have no hesitation wearing the same (clean) outfit two days in a row. I’d say my look is Busy Working Style Mom, mixing sportswear with suiting. I have 10 black blazers that I pair with one of 20 blue Zara jeans. Sometimes you’re just there to get the job done, not to fuss over your appearance.
The candle flames were trembling. The pulpit was on fire. The bride and groom were waiting. As were the Queen, Oprah, Idris Elba, and Doria Ragland, now the world’s most famous yoga teacher. Just before he got on to the subject of fire, Bishop Michael Curry, the first African-American leader of the US Episcopal church, promised the happy couple, “and with this I’ll sit down, we got to get y’all married”. But there’s a lot to say about the French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin and his relevance to modern technology and the concept of love and how this relates to Martin Luther King, so he went on for another three minutes.
Curry’s sermon was one of three moments during the royal wedding when I felt moved. I had not expected to be moved. I had expected to remain full of cold indignation at the pomp and aristocratic indulgence of the day, at thepreparatory shooing of the homeless off the streets of Windsor by police officers who should be tending to more important things like knife crime, at the £32m shamelessly spent amid the rising presence of foodbanks and child poverty. The first of these moments was Ragland arriving at the chapel, a black woman quietly alone, being assisted from her car by a representative of an institution that had partaken in her oppression and was now required to respect her. The other was the Kingdom Choir’s beautiful rendition of Stand By Me, in part because it followed the sermon.
Reading from his iPad, gesticulating, swinging his robes, smiling, rocking back and forth on his feet, Curry was in complete contrast to the solemn and stationary ecclesiastical address that preceded his. Where there was stillness, now there was movement. For 14 minutes he preached in the full-throated, uninhibited, theatrical and emotive style of the traditional African-American church. He preached of Moses and Jesus of Nazareth, the Hebrew scriptures and the “old slaves in America’s antebellum South” who recognised in their singing of spirituals, “even in the midst of their captivity”, that there is “a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole”. Quoting from Martin Luther King to begin and end the speech, this was not something ever witnessed within the lofty walls of the pinnacle of the Anglican establishment at a royal wedding. This was a speech that could have been lifted straight out of the pages of James Baldwin or ZZ Packer.
An ardent campaigner for social justice, particularly on immigration and same-sex marriage, Chicago-born Curry, himself a descendent of slaves, did not tone down his passionate message of the social and political power of love in order to align with the reserve of his pale and stately onlookers. He did not filter. He did it black, with music in his arms, and rhythm in his voice, and a looseness and openness in his face that supposed an almost familial acquaintance with his audience.
In his world, words do not travel alone from the mouth, with just their letters and their grammar for company. Here the body comes too, giving life to the words, lifting them into the air to float and dance into comprehension and human feeling. For Zara Tindall, captured open-mouthed in her pricey, shiny teal in the pews, it was something to behold.
The expressions on the faces of the congregation around the church were also something to behold, ranging from empathy to bemusement to confusion to downright scorn. Four minutes in, Camilla Parker Bowles’s ludicrous hat was trembling as she held down her head: was she laughing? Prince Charles was also bowed, red around the ears, more so than usual: was he?
There was half a smirk at the Duchess of Cambridge’s mouth, and, when Curry exclaimed: “Oh that’s the balm in Gilead!”, throwing up his hands in emphasis, the Queen straightened in her chair, purse-lipped. Meanwhile, Oprah swayed. Ragland looked steadily on, a little sadly, as if aware of something of which others were not, yet also with an innate sweetness; while her daughter sat holding hands with her prince, occasionally conferring in love-soaked whispers.
It was a sermon that will go down in history as a moment when the enduring seat of colonialism was brought before the Lord, and questioned in its own house. In the mention of slavery was the inherent accusation of white silver-spoon complicity, and that this union should not go forth without acknowledging it.
“Love is the way,” Curry chanted, in a rolling, conversational repetition borne of the deep south. “When love is the way, we actually treat each other, well” – he put his hand on his hip and his elbow on the lectern – “like we are actually a family.” A utopia for our time indeed, delivered with a grand humility apparently wasted on some of its listeners, who were not quite expecting such blackness from a black bride.