ROCHESTER, Minn. - Rochester's Opportunity Realty LLC is a property management operation with a lot of tenants.
On April 1, long before anyone's rent could be considered late, the company's Brenda Thomas Lipkie sent out a missive to tenants that said in part, "Tenants must still pay their rent on or before the first. Tenants that usually drop rents off will need to contact me or pay through portal to prevent 8% late fee. Tenants that haven't paid or contacted me, I will be stopping at unit on April 2nd."
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An Opportunity Realty tenant who spoke with KIMT News 3 said she was intimidated by the message. "I'm not behind on my rent and their messages are just awful. They give me anxiety I don't need at this time," she said in a text message.
As the Covid-19 pandemic worsened, Brenda Thomas Lipkie followed up with another message. Like the earlier missive, the second contained bold white lettering on a black background. "Opportunity Realty LLC and owners have be (sic) notified that people are now receiving their stimulus checks to help pay towards their rent, utilities and food as a reminder monthly rent is due on or before the first of the month."
We showed both messages to Rochester City Council member Michael Wojcik who didn't hesitate to offer advice to the realtor.
"There is no law against being a difficult person, or obnoxious or just plain rotten," Wojcik said during a FaceTime call. "That's part of how our capitalist society works, but I think you'll find that how you handle these situations in the interim when people are truly going through great challenges will speak volumes to how successful you are on the other end of this."
KIMT News 3 has made frequent calls to Brenda Thomas Lipkie beginning in early April and continuing until April 17th. None of those calls has been returned.