When Jimmy McMillan, the founding (and thus far only) member of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, first Smurfed his way into our lives, there was only one thing to talk about, and it came in mantra-form: the rent is too damn high. And though that message has somewhat expanded since then, that has always been McMillan's central theme. But now, McMillan claims that his East Village landlords are trying to evict him: "The landlord is trying to get me out for more money. I'm a disabled vet, and he's messing with the wrong guy," McMillan told us this morning.
McMillan pays $872.96 for a rent-controlled ground-floor apartment on St. Marks Place. The building's owner Lisco Holdings claims that McMillan doesn't actually live there though—they say his primary residence is in Brooklyn. McMillan told us that he does have a space in Brooklyn, but it serves as his office and the headquarters of his political party. He also said he likes to keep information about his Manhattan apartment secretive because he has received death threats, and worries about his family's safety: "You can't tell me where and how to live my life. Just because you dont see me, that doesn't mean I don't live there. That's harassment. The law protects my family, and it protects my son," he told us, adding that his adult son has lived in the apartment with him.
Jimmy, who said his name has been on the lease since the late 70s, calls the claim baseless, and says he has started advising his lawyer on a strategy to deal with the case, which is now pending in Housing Court. And McMillan is serious about fighting eviction: "If my family is there, because of the danger of my work, I'm there...I'm gonna bust their ass," he said of the case. Perhaps he can use some of his patented "verbal judo":