My story, if I weren't actually living it, would seem like an overly dramatic script for Lifetime. And I'm reaching out to you here as a last resort because I don't know where else to turn.
As many of you know, over the past few years I have had to deal with the loss of some of the most important people in my life...both of my parents, my grandmother, and two very dear friends/mentors. Bouncing back has been difficult, and every day is a new challenge.
Part of the reason is that through the past year, while dealing with my own emotional healing, I've also been in a court battle with my landlord. He has brought on several cases, filled with false allegations, against me to try and force me from my home of 20-plus years.
One of his many false claims is that I don't actually live in my apartment. He claims that I have been renting it out at a profit. He also claims that it is not my primary residence. He has been harassing me with endless notices demanding several court appearances, he's had eviction notices posted on my door, and he has refused to renew my lease. He's even trying to get me to cover his legal fees in this attempt to force me from my home.
But I am legally within my rights. I've never not lived here. I've had roommates, but never charged more than a percentage for the shared space, and I've certainly never made a profit. This is my home. A place where I've built a 20 year history of memories with family and friends. And I don't want to lose it due to the harassment of a greedy landlord.
This situation has forced me to seek legal counsel, and I have had to cover extremely expensive retainer fees that have put my entire financial existence into a rather deep hole. And this guy is relentless in hopes that I will simply give up and leave.
But I have already wracked up a huge legal bill, and have gone through months of mental stress and turmoil. I've even wound up losing roommates over this, and in turn, have gone even deeper into financial crisis.
One of the faint lights at the end of this dark tunnel was supposed to be the final sale of my Mom's house. My share of the sale would have covered my legal fees, caught me up with my monthly bills and debts, and allowed me a small reprieve from the stress. But, alas, we've learned of some liens on the property which we were told were dealt with years ago. And as it turns out, we are not going to be getting anything from the estate.
I am not just sitting around looking for handouts. I'm working any jobs I can get to try and stay afloat. I'm currently juggling multiple jobs with several theatres/shows. But I can't seem to get enough hours, or find a decent paying full time position that will allow me to catch up and get out of the hole.
One of the shows I'm working on will be closing next week, and the next one isn't set to begin until over a month from now. I was supposed to be working on a film project, but it keeps being put on hold. I'm always seeking other work. Work doesn't scare me. What scares me is losing my home.
And now...due to the length of the several legal cases...my lawyer is asking for more of a retainer in order to continue the fight. I have got to continue the fight. I don't have any other option. But I also don't have the funds to do so.
And so...I'm asking for help. Not life changing amounts of money. Just enough to cover legal fees and not fall even further into debt. I guess that would be life changing for me. At this point, I don't really have much more to lose. Keeping up appearances is exhausting, so I'm humbling myself and asking for assistance.
Any amount would be appreciated. More than I could ever really express. And I promise that whenever possible I will pay it forward.
Thanks for listening and for considering my request.
- Donna Coney Island
- Joe O'D
- Ty Vincent
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