In January, Carlos Lomena, a truck driver in suburban Miami who lost his job during the coronavirus pandemic, begged a judge to stop his landlord from evicting him.
The 37-year-old Lomena hoped to get a fair shake in court. He’d emigrated from Venezuela after high school with a sense that the U.S. had a more just legal system.
In a letter to the Florida judge, he pointed to a recent extension of the nationwide moratorium on evictions during the coronavirus outbreak and asked for more time to pay his overdue rent.
“I do not have a place to go,” Lomena wrote, “nor the money to move into a new apartment.”
His landlord — a holding company formed by real estate firms in Miami and Iowa — wasn’t moved by his pleas; it had investors to satisfy. The company pressed the court to evict him and, in early February, the judge ruled that Lomena hadn’t filed the right form to prevent his eviction.
Within days, during the height of the pandemic, the Broward County Sheriff’s Office posted a large notice in bold red letters on his door ordering Lomena to vacate his home within 24 hours or be arrested for trespassing. Lomena isn’t alone.
Tenants across the country have faced aggressive tactics — including evictions during the pandemic — from a growing number of massive corporate landlords that draw on pools of money from wealthy investors around the world.
The ICIJ team spent months reporting all over the world to understand how the offshore financial maneuvers we were seeing in the #PandoraPapers impact everyday people and communities. Here are some of those stories… pic.twitter.com/cDl4RW3TII— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) October 5, 2021
A trove of leaked documents reviewed by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and 150 media partners provide an unprecedented view of global financial maneuvers that turn rent payments into big profits that are often hidden in accounts owned by shell companies controlled by anonymous investors.
this is crazy! Funneling money to a sketchy Vatican group was discovered due to one man's eviction.— Sarah Burris (@SarahBurris) October 7, 2021
Florida man's eviction uncovers international investment scandal by abusive Legion of Christ group https://t.co/6UizKK8BNq
The investors revealed in the leaked documents include offshore trusts holding hundreds of millions of dollars for the Legion of Christ, a wealthy Roman Catholic order disgraced by an international pedophilia scandal. Read more…
The #PandoraPapers investigation found a set of secret trusts in New Zealand holding nearly $300 million in assets devoted to the Legion of Christ, a Roman Catholic order disgraced by an international pedophilia scandal. https://t.co/u6ibS8DhA9— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) October 5, 2021