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GEORGIA — A Georgia man says he is suing his online landlord for “misrepresentation” and “misleading conduct” after his online home was vandalized with anti-Trump graffiti, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Michael Smith filed a complaint with the Atlanta District Attorney’s Office Tuesday with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union, and alleges he was targeted for his political beliefs.
The homeowner, who identifies himself as Michael, told the AJC that he and his wife moved into a three-bedroom home in June and the home’s locks were broken on the weekend of March 21, 2017.
He told the newspaper he was initially unaware that his online tenant was also a registered Republican and would receive emails, texts and other communication from him.
But on Sunday morning, “someone decided to post an anti-Republican, pro-Trump message on the home,” Smith said in the complaint.
The message included a picture of a man holding a sign that read, “I’ll take your money, I’ll take yours,” and a message that read: “I hate the way you live, I’m gonna take your life.”
The message also included the hashtag #MAGA, which stands for Make America Great Again.
Smith said the messages included messages that “misrepresented” him.
“I think the person that did this knows I’m not an anti Republican, I know that they are not my neighbors,” he said.
“The message that they posted to me was false and misleading.”
Smith said he immediately notified his landlord, who he said was “very understanding” and was taking down the messages as soon as they were posted.
The tenant, who declined to be named, said in an email to the AJE that he was a registered Democrat and had a good relationship with his landlord.
He said he “wouldnt condone any sort of hate message or action.”
He said he has been using the internet to discuss politics, but that he has not made political statements on the property or in the past.
“He does not represent us, nor do we represent him, he is not a member of our household and he is an individual who wasnt involved in our home,” the tenant said.
He said the property was “quiet” for the first two weeks of the tenant’s tenure and has since become “more lively.”
“I had a lot of people come up to me and tell me that they didnt like the way I live, that they dont like the fact that I voted for Hillary Clinton,” the landlord said.
Smith said the landlord told him that he “did not deserve” the graffiti.
“This was a deliberate and malicious act against my home,” he told the paper.
Smith is a former employee of the Georgia Department of Corrections who is also a member and former member of the Democratic Party of Georgia.
He is the only member of that party on the board of the ACLU of Georgia, which represents more than 100 incarcerated people.
“They have an obligation to protect people from the kind of things that have been done here,” he added.
The landlord, he said, “hasnt even taken my security deposit or my credit card.”
In response to the allegations, the tenant issued a statement to the newspaper, saying that he had not been contacted by the Georgia Civil Rights Commission.
He also said he had been contacted and contacted by someone from the ACLU.
“It was a private conversation between me and the landlord.
The matter is now with the ACLU,” the statement said.