Joshua Melton and his husband James Feltner lived in a townhome in Manchester, KY for about nine months. They say they never had a problem until mid-June when they claim their landlord told them to get out the next day.
Their landlord was Esther Thompson, who is a Manchester City Council member who repeatedly called them “faggots” and assaulted one of them while she was evicting them due to their sexual orientation.
In the complaint, Thompson wrote the tenants violated their lease in many ways, including having six dogs and damaging the carpet. Thompson said it was, “by far one of the worst I have seen.”
“Yeah she’s lying,” Joshua Melton said. “There were three dogs … chihuahuas that we’ve had forever and she knew that we had them. The carpet was not destroyed.” “She said she should have never rented to the faggots,” Melton told WYMT.
WYMT could not find an eviction notice on-record with any official, but we did find a small claims complaint Thompson filed one month AFTER the incident asking for $2,500.
Melton, who went to the emergency room after Thompson allegedly struck him in the head, has filed a criminal complaint against her for assault. Thompson told the couple she “owned the police,” who illegally took part in the eviction, according to the Kentucky Equality Federation, which is assisting the couple.
The Equality Federation also alleges that the county attorney, who serves as Thompson’s private lawyer, violated ethics rules in handling Melton’s assault complaint because he has a conflict of interest. In addition, Thompson is accused of using a fictitious corporation on the couple’s lease and illegally mishandling their security deposit.
Court documents show Thompson is scheduled to be arraigned in Clay District Court Aug. 8 on the fourth-degree assault complaint. However, for Jordan Palmer of the Kentucky Equality Federation, that is not enough.
“Discrimination, we won’t tolerate it in any form in any part of the Commonwealth,” Palmer said. “It’s just unfortunate that it’s happened here in Clay County … again … but, we will see the case through to the end until justice is served.”
Palmer claims the issues lie within city and county government. He said Manchester Police assisted in the eviction, which the police chief says is not true.
In March of 2016 Kentucky’s Republican-controlled Senate today approved a “license to discriminate” bill that would allow individuals and businesses to deny service to LGBT people without being penalized under local antidiscrimination ordinances.