Letter: Devon Mathis’ Disgruntled Tenant Responds

I’m writing in regard to the article you published regarding Devon Mathis getting a letter from the FPPC.

I wanted to clear up some factual issues as we were renters of the home in question. The home is at 3944 W Fairhaven Ave.

First and foremost, because this may have implications for my own FPPC filing as a government employee, I did not, and never would, work for Devon Mathis. We have no values in common and I have no desire to ever align myself with him. If the neighbors had ever bothered to talk to me, which at no point they did, they’d know that I formerly worked for Tulare County. My husband and I moved back to the Bay Area, where I am from, to take a new position and to get out of dealing with frustrating situations like the one we encountered with the Mathises, not to Sacramento. At no point did we ever host a political meeting of any sort, or a meeting with Devon Mathis or anyone who works for him in a political capacity. I’d have preferred Mr. Mathis never entered my home. He only entered, with my husband’s permission, in order to inspect the property so they could put it on the market.

We rented through The Equity Group, not from the Mathises directly. We did not know who owned the house. We had never met the Mathises. Later we were told by an Equity employee that Equity only took him on as a client because of his political connections.

We lived in the home on Fairhaven for four months when the Mathises quite suddenly decided to put the home on the market, when we had a year long contract. After several confusing, discouraging, and legally invalid comments from Mrs. Mathis, we eventually worked with Equity exclusively. We did our best to accommodate the Mathises’ constant requests to show the house to prospective buyers, usually at inconvenient times for us and on short notice, and accommodated the noisy and disruptive work they did on it pre-sale.

Despite being good and considerate tenants who did everything in our power and went above and beyond in showing the house on their behalf, without any compensation or consideration, we were charged a cleaning fee when we left. While this was in the scope of our contract, since they had gone out of our way to terminate it early, I had the not unreasonable expectation that they would perhaps be more considerate of all that we did on their behalf, which was NOT required of us. I was wrong.

I, personally, do not find the Mathises to be good or ethical people and am very glad to have no further dealings with them. I wish we had never become even remotely entangled with them. Equity can verify that we had an application with them and no connection to the Mathises prior to renting. To think we got any benefit from renting from the Mathises is BEYOND laughable. To further suggest we were somehow in league with the Mathises, based on the neighbors’ own machinations and no facts, is an insult. They couldn’t be more mistaken.

I don’t believe I have any reason to need to clear up anything with the FPPC, but I would like it very much on the record that we were an unconnected party who had no connection to the Mathises. I filled out my FPPC forms with all the pertinent information needed and paid a fair market value rent for the property.

That Mr. Mathis and his wife would somehow not know how to properly fill out these forms (which come with ample instructions) is at the very least ignorant and at the most malicious. The people of the 26th Assembly District deserve better and I sincerely hope they look to their options when voting in November.

Lisa Tennenbaum

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  1. I have to comment, this extremely well written letter made me think. If it was written to discourage voting for Mathis….I certainly worked here…it’s amazing how people truly act especially when they think they’ve become a bit powerful…as happens with a lot of politicians.

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