Since Tuesday, November 22nd, James Dawes has occupied his home of five years in Riverbank, CA (north of Modesto) after being illegally locked out by his landlord, Brian Kelly, owner of the Denair Lumber Co. and several other rental properties. James has been battling cancer for years and must receive regular chemotherapy treatments. In recent months, his condition has severely worsened, and he has thus fallen several months behind on rent. In October, James offered to begin making up for unpaid rent but Kelly refused and said that he'd rather board the place up. Kelly is trying to sell the vacant building that his apartment is attached to - standing in his way is James.
A series of lock-outs began in October of this year, with Kelly locking James out and James re-entering his home six times. Over the course of these lock-outs, James has been denied access to shelter, his bathroom and his medicine. During the most recent lock-out, Kelly took all of James' things: furniture, electronics, personal items, food, bedding, toiletries, medicine, etc. Local sheriffs who arrived on the scene after James had re-entered the home told Kelly that, in fact, they could not remove James because Kelly had evicted him illegally.
|James outside his home.|
On Friday, November 25th, members of Modesto Solidarity Network gathered at James' home, bringing supplies, making repairs, and sharing food. A banner was raised above his door that reads "Stop Illegal Lockouts, Brian Kelly is a Slumlord." Flyers were also distributed in the neighborhood, detailing the situation and asking for solidarity.