When Barack Obama assumes office, this is the kind of “community activist” who will be heralded, celebrated, and subsidized. It’s easy to be so charitable with other people’s property:
Max Rameau delivers his sales pitch like a pro. “All tile floor!” he says during a recent showing. “And the living room, wow! It has great blinds.”
But in nearly every other respect, he is unlike any real estate agent you’ve ever met. He is unshaven, drives a beat-up car and wears grungy cut-off sweat pants. He also breaks into the homes he shows. And his clients don’t have a dime for a down payment.
Rameau is an activist who has been executing a bailout plan of his own around Miami’s empty streets: He is helping homeless people illegally move into foreclosed homes.
You won’t be surprised to learn that Miami government officials are looking the other way:
Miami spokeswoman Kelly Penton said city officials did not know Rameau was moving homeless into empty buildings — but they are also not stopping him.
“There are no actions on the city’s part to stop this,” she said in an e-mail. “It is important to note that if people trespass into private property, it is up to the property owner to take action to remove those individuals.”
Pierre herself could be charged with trespassing, vandalism or breaking and entering. Rameau assured her he has lawyers who will represent her free.
Two weeks after Pierre moved in, she came home to find the locks had been changed, probably by the property’s manager. Everything inside — her food, clothes and family photos — was gone.
But late last month, with Rameau’s help, she got back inside and has put Christmas decorations on the front door.
So far, police have not gotten involved.
But you can bet that if something untoward happens in one of these dicy situations, police and city officials will be the first to be blamed.