MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – Is a former mayor of Memphis and Shelby County using his political connections and clout to harass his next-door neighbor? The woman who lives next door to A C Wharton says that’s exactly what’s happening.
She is so concerned that she went to the police to file a report against Wharton. The woman is calling it intimidation.
Kareema McCloud bought her home on East Parkway South, just south of Cooper-Young, just over a year ago. She rents out a couple of rooms on AirBnB.
McCloud says there was never a problem until now. Her “Ring” camera system recorded her claims of harassment.
McCloud says imagine having one city and county official after another show up, week after week, during the month of July.
“I don’t know who’s going to come knock on my door at any given point in time,” said McCloud.
McCloud says the trouble began when one of her Airbnb guests had a party without her permission.
“AC Wharton showed up on my door the very next morning,” said McCloud.
“Ring” doorbell captured the exchange.
“The people telling me they’re paying or something. What’s going on?” said Wharton on the “Ring” camera to McCloud.
“He proceeded to tell me I didn’t need to have parties. I didn’t need to have events, that this was a historic district and we don’t do AirBnB in historic districts,” said McCloud.
McCloud says before Wharton left, he said this; “told me he was going to make some calls and he was the former mayor and he had planned on getting some laws changed.”
A few days later, McCloud says the parade of city and county officials showing up at her house began; from repeated trips from Memphis city and Shelby County Code Enforcement officers to a Memphis Fire Inspector, to the Shelby County Health Department on a trash complaint.
“At this point I’m realizing ‘oh, so he made those phone calls. Oh, so he’s calling his buddies,’ because everyone who is coming from is saying this is coming from the top,” said McCloud.
The next week when city code enforcement came out, she was cited her for three broken pickets on her fence and overgrown shrubbery near the street.
But for McCloud, the final straw was finding out the Memphis Police Organized Crime Unit had been doing surveillance on her house for a couple of days under the claims it was a suspected brothel.
Her “Ring” camera caught the exchange.
“I run a drug team with OCU. We got a complaint that came from our director from one of your neighbors around here saying a brothel was being run,” said Lt. Poindexter, Memphis Police Department.
“What the f-&*,” said McCloud, who was furious. “You were watching my house. That to me is so far beyond ok and what is right.”
The officer told her the order came down from “the director.”
“My team does not do this kind of stuff but since it came from the director,” said Poindexter. “My boss tells me to come over here do it. I can’t tie my team up.”
McCloud says the nine visits, from at least six different city and county agencies all in the span of three weeks, are harassment and a huge waste of taxpayer resources.
“I think harassment. I think corruption. I think abuse of power. I think things that a normal joe blow, a normal joe citizen would never have been able to do, especially in the time frame that was allotted for it to be done,” said McCloud.
We went to Wharton’s home hoping to hear his side of this story. He refused to do an interview, but in a text said, “my only comment is an outright denial of harassment and use of political power.”
There is nothing in the cities short-term rental ordinance that prevents homes in historic districts from being rented out on AirBnB. McCloud goes to environmental court this week on what she calls “trumped-up charges.”