In October of 2007, I answered an ad on Craigslist for a rental house in the East Bay area near San Francisco. This ad was placed by Duane deJoie. He failed to mention that he did not own the house he was offering, and did not have the right to sublet it.

 

Unaware of this situation, my husband and I agreed to Duane deJoie's terms and signed a lease to rent 1852 Grandview Avenue, Oakland CA from December 30, 2007 until April 15, 2008. We sent Duane deJoie a check for $12,050 to cover first and last month's rent, security deposit and a pet deposit. He also signed the lease and deposited this check.

 

Three days prior to our occupancy, Duane de Joie told us by telephone that we could not move in yet, having to do with his mother's health. Two weeks later, he still could not provide occupancy. We asked for a refund. Duane deJoie sent a "refund" check to our home in New York (making it difficult to retrieve now that we were in California) but it promptly bounced. He did not make any effort to replace that check. We have subsequently heard many other excuses.

 

Duane de Joie’s business card says that he is "Regional Counsel to Local 1223 of the American Federation of Government Employees". When we arrived in California and could not make any progress with telephone calls and emails, we went to his “business address” as listed on his card 2124 Kittredge Street,  suite #196. It turned out to be a private post office box rather than the “suite” he had represented.  

 

We offered Duane deJoie a reasonable plan of repayment, $500 per month. The first check bounced. He has, over the past  15 months, paid us back approximately $3,000 of the $12,050.   

 

We filed a report with the Oakland police, complaint number 08-001740.  We also hired a lawyer, Rowena Gargalicana of Gargalicana/Graceffa, 11 Embarcadero West, Suite 145, Oakland CA 94607.  Ms Gargalicana contacted the owner of the house, who knew nothing of Duane’s sublet activities subsequent to renting the house to him on approximately October 1, 2007. Duane apparently put the sublet ad on Craigslist almost immediately thereafter.