My 56 birthday party at the taco truck

IMG_20120929_213108We went to a local car show and then had tacos. Great birthday with my family.

Back row(left to right): Josh,14, freshman, battles health problems similar to Joe’s, tested at top 1% in country, honor roll, plans to do dual enrollment junior year on his way to being an engineer, Meco,17, junior, facial expression not indicative of his personality,  loving, protective big brother, peacemaker, medal winning gymnast, broke state of GA javelin record 2 consecutive yrs and was ranked 5th in country, plans to be a fireman, Susan,46. Front row:Crys,30, attended college with Hope Scholarship,  earned her B.S. from KSU , works for same company 6 yrs, owns home, has 1 child:  Anthony,23mos, loves his pa (Joe), Joe, 56, Katie,16, junior, 4.3 gpa, governor’s and national honor society candidate, virtually raising her brothers since our homelessness 11/11, plans to be a constitutional attorney and historian.

Bank refuses over one hundred thousand dollars in donations for cancer patient: claims computer error

  • Written in 2009

5 years ago, I was literally dying of an extremely rare form of leukemia. I was taking an experimental medication, which along with my other necessary prescription medications, were costing my family over $1,500.00 per month. I did not have insurance. The only cure for leukemia is a bone marrow transplant. My wife, Susan, was my full time caretaker as I was bedridden 95% of the time. On a good week, I could get out of bed and walk for between 5 – 10 hours/week. I was about to die in America at 47 leaving behind my wife, 37, our 3 children: Meco,8, Katie,7, and Josh, 5, and my daughter, Crystal, 22, simply due to the health care system that penalizes people with preexisting diseases making them uninsurable.

Finally, after months of suffering and misery, the Atlanta Journal Constitution agreed to publish my story. It was called “The Price of Life” by Gracie Bond Staples. Published on the front page of the Sunday living section in August 2004. At the end of the article, it pleaded “Anyone who wants to help keep Mikos alive” can make a donation at any branch of Bank of America. Five months prior to the article being published, Susan went to the bank and opened a special account called a benevolence account which accepts donations by name rather than account number. Every month, Bank of America sent a statement and charged a service fee.

When the article was published, my family learned just how ruthless and uncaring Bank of America is. The bank had made an internal computer error when opening the account that linked the name Joe Mikos to a closed account, so when the tellers tried to deposit donations, the account wouldn’t accept them. Upon the article being published, thousands of caring, generous people went to Bank of America to donate money and were turned away. Bank of America wouldn’t accept the contributions. We naively thought that the bank, whose slogan at that time was “One mistake in a million is too many,” would rectify the problem. That has not happen to date. What did happen was that the bank corrected their mistake on the account name too late. We were told by one executive not to worry because if people really wanted to donate money, they would try again. I don’t know what planet that man lives on, but here of earth, if you go into a bank to donate money and are told there is no account, you don’t ever go back to try again. Also another executive guaranteed me that I would never speak to the CEO, Ken Lewis. Although I tried dozens of times and ways, that guarantee came true because Mr. Lewis is so insulated from his customers it is impossible to speak to him.

All we wanted was for Bank of America to pay the Atlanta Journal Constitution to rerun the entire article along with an apology and request that people come back to the bank with their donation. The bank refused to honor our request because that meant publicly acknowledging a mistake. Instead, the bank eventually offered an insulting sum of money, $5,000.00, that would not even keep me alive for 4 months in return for a confidentiality agreement. Everyday, I lay in bed tortured by the fact that I wanted to fight the bank but physically unable to. A few weeks before Christmas 2008, I caved. My family was desperate for money. We couldn’t afford gifts for our children, rent, utilities, and food. So I hung my head and had Susan write an acceptance to the bank on their repeated offer to settle. And we waited, expecting to get the money. Instead we did not receive anything, not even a reply. I had to give my children I owe U’s as Christmas presents and while Bank of America was accepting billions of dollars in bailout funds.

I think Bank of America believes once again that it beat the little guy incapable of fighting back. And so far, they have. I still suffer every day of my life because I couldn’t have a bone marrow transplant. My family suffers each time I have to take my daily medicines, which cost over $70.00 per day. I suffer with the knowledge that the bank robbed me of the opportunity to be the father my children deserve, the husband my wife deserves, the ability to ever work and provide for my family, the organizations where I would have volunteered at, the children I would have coached. Instead I lay in bed slowly dying as my medical costs drive my family into bankruptcy and my only legacy is guilt at costing my children their future, clothes, activities, fun, vacations, cars, college just so I can lay in bed another day.

I was a type A person who started and ran several successful businesses. I was too proud and strong to ask anyone for help. Then I was too ashamed to admit I needed help. Now I just want to right the wrongs perpetrated against me. Anyone who wants to help me, I beg please help. I can be reached at 770-837-4435 or mikos.joe@gmail.com.

Image

“Man with terminal illness battling county over crooked house” The Cherokee Ledger News, April 7, 2004 by Tom Brooks

IMG_20130827_111333

 

An Acworth couple alleges Cherokee County officials are failing to enforce a county ordinance they said should trigger the condemnation of their home. According to the couple, inaction by county officials leaves them without a safe home in which to live, and is a hurdle to collecting an insurance settlement that would allow them to replace their home.

Joe and Susan Mikos said structural repairs done to the foundation of their home before they bought it have failed and are calling on county to declare the home an unfit building. The home, which they said was built 27 years ago, is located east of Bells Ferry Road near Cobb County.

Together with their three children, the couple said they are virtually homeless because their home, which they bought a few years ago, is leaning so much that it appears to be on the verge of turning unstable.

Mold has grown in the home so widespread that the family suffers from exposure to it, they said.

Their dispute with the county has arisen as Mr. Mikos battles terminal leukemia and bone marrow cancer, with them facing the monthly expense of $1,500 for his medicine, the couple said.

“It is very, very scary,” Mr. Mikos said of their financial struggles.

Inspections by officials from the county building department showed their home is leaning three times the allowable amount, Mikos said.

County Attorney Mark Mahler said the couple should hire a structural engineer in order for the county to re-evaluate its position on the matter. I is not clear whether the troubles with the have increased since the repairs were made, he added.

Mahler denied county officials are refusing to adequately address concerns of the couple.

“The house has a definite lean to it,” Mahler said, adding the county could order the home be repaired of demolished.

Mr. Mikos said he has very limited energy to engage in the dispute with the county.  former president of the Cherokee Child Advocacy Council, the conflict is especially ironic after he has committed much to the betterment of the community. The couple has served as foster parents for more than 70 foster children during a 6-year period, Mr. Mikos said.

“This was supposed to be our dream home,” Mr. Mikos said.

 

Image

“The Price of Life” Atlanta Journal Constitution 8/15/04 by Gracie Bonds Staples

Tags

, , , , ,

The following two page article appeared in the Sunday Living section.

AJC2004-pg1

AJC2004-pg2

AJC2004-pg3

AJC2004-pg4

AJC2004-pg5

AJC2004-pg6

Notes by Susan Mikos. The reporter wrote the wrong disease information. Joe has Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia with Myelofibrosis (bone marrow cancer). The leukemia is his primary disease and the bone marrow cancer is secondary. Gleevec works to stop the leukemia but does not work on Myelofibrosis. We never wanted false information giving anyone false hope, but the reporter did not revise prior to publishing article. Also, the first paragraph misleads readers into thinking we went for answers to the Mayo Clinic. Actually, we went to get a specific treatment, Gleevec, based upon my research that I sent to Mayo before they scheduled an emergency appointment.

IMG_20130825_140235(1)

Image

“Car-shop owner, a lifelong helper, needs a hand” New Haven Register July 2002 by Joseph Straw

NEW HAVEN- His whole life, Joe Mikos has gone out of his way to help people when they needed it. Hundreds of miles, if he had to.

A decade ao, whenhe owned A & A Auto Body on Forbes Avenue, Mikos filled two tractor-trailers, with donated humanitarian supplies and led them 1,400 miles to Hometstead, Fla., for the victims of Hurricane Andrew.

More recently, after a move with his family to Acworth, Ga., Mikos helped people from home, serving as a court-appointed-special-advocate for scores of at-risk children.

Now. at 45 years old, Mikos is dying.

Mikos suffers from Myelofibrosis, a terminal form of blood cancer so rare that doctors call it an “orphan disease.”

Unable to run his new home remodeling business, the company folded.

Mikos, his wife Susan, and their four children, ranging in age from 3 to 20, are now themselves in dire need  of help as their savings dry up and the face the $9,000-a-year cost of an experimental treatment.

Mikos’ parents, John and Rosalie Mikos, both lifelong New Haven residents, have organized a $25-per-person event to run from noon until 6 p.m. at the Wallingford Rod and Gun Club, to raise funds for their son’s care.,

“It’ll help his spirits. He’ll see all his friends,” said John Mikos, He is looking forward to that, and so far there’s been a good response.”

Joe Wilkinson, the owner of Fountain’s Garage at 117 Stiles Str., worked with Joe Mikos when he owned A & A.

“I always had very good luck with him,” Wilkinson said. “He would do anything to help anybody out.”

Wilkinson added that he was “shocked” to hear of Mikos’ illness.

Pam Collins, executive director of a child advocacy agency in Canton, Ga., call Mikos “one of the best advocates we have in the state of Georgia.”

In his court role, he would make sure children were returned to a safe environment and when he and Susan took in foster children, Collins said they truly worked to make them part of their family.

“I have nothing but the greatest respect for Joe Mikos,” she said.

Myelofibrosis forces stem cells in the body’s bone marrow to produce too many white blood cells and then turns the precious marrow into scar tissue, preventing blood cell production with fatal results.

Susan Mikos said the family’s refusal to accept a six=month life expectancy from their cancer specialist led them in April to the world=renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. There, Joe Mikos volunteered for a clinical trial of the drug Gleevec for treatment of the disease. Gleevec, a pill, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year for treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia.

During the trial, the medication is free. Beginning in December, however, the family will to pay for each $2,250 three month supply of the drug, they said.

Businesses throughout the area have offered contributions to Sunday’s event. Persons wishing to make a donation or attend the event should call Rose Mikos at

IMG_20130825_140453IMG_20130825_140356

Typed original article because couldn’t get text large enough to read in picture.

Tortured tenants seek relief from court, judge relies on 1923 landbarron ruling to dismiss case

Tags

,

    It was the end of April 2012. We had just survived a rough winter. First we were illegally evicted from our home. Then our car was stolen by the title pawn company (both my wife and my neighbor offered to make the payment and company refused to accept from anyone but me personally). A very bad situation which was compounded by the fact that losing our home forced our family to separate. We were sleeping in our car for the first couple of days. Then we rented a basement of a friend’s house for several months. Our friend sold her house in April, so we were forced to move again. Obviously we had to make alternative arrangements for our 3 teenagers. So we left them to stay with a relative who lived in their school district, which made it possible for them to continue at their current schools. That was extremely important to minimize the disruptions our financial collapse caused to them. They had already suffered enough. First, my being ill for most of their lives, the devastating effects of a cancer battle financially, second, the embarrassment of having the entire contents of our home placed on the curb outside our home for everyone to see including all of their classmates who passed by on the school bus routes. We hoped that it would be a short separation but that hasn’t worked out. Our children, who were 16, 15, and 13 at the time of the eviction, are wonderful. I know that everyone says that about their own kids, but it is true. They are good students, don’t get in trouble, like their high school and my daughter is in the top 1% of her class academically. We were all suffering at are forced separation. So this house that Judy Palmer was renting seemed perfect.

Before we viewed the house, we were told we would only be renting the first floor, which consists on three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, living and dining room, and a laundry room. There was a storage shed we could use. The basement and 2 car drive under garage was to remain Judy’s space so the 2 -3 days per month she was in town, she would stay there. It had a 2 rooms 1 bath apartment. We would be responsible for cutting the grass, caring for 2 lizards and having their 2 dogs live with us. The rent was to be $500 per month which included all utilities: electricity, water, heat, AC, gas, high speed internet, Directv with all movie channels in living room, and cable in the bedrooms. The house had a table and chairs, a futon, and 2 desks, dishes and pots and pans.. We all went to inspect the house. Judy told us she wouldn’t know for several days if her younger son was going to move back but that if he didn’t want the place, she would love for us to move in. She said because there were 5 of us instead of the couple she imagined, the rent would have to increase to $700 per month for everything.  Her son said he didn’t want the house and she called several times to get us to move in. We told her we weren’t sure we would have the money and she gave us the keys begging us to move in immediately to take care of her dogs, whom she called her grand babies. We were 90% positive that we would have the money by the end of May and if not, we would leave. We did not bring anything there except clothes to wear. Judy requested that we not run the air conditioner until June to save on utility bills and we respected that. After we had been there approximately 10 days, Judy told us she was broke and we gave her $100 cash for food. We also told her that possibly one of my lifelong friends was going to prepay the 6 months rent as a gift to me (I would know within 1 week) so I could live with my kids and have the time to consult specialists, maybe have surgery, and recover from the leukemia/bone marrow cancer and its debilitating consequences  I am battling.

   The house was small and basic but we were so happy to be there together. It wasn’t in our kids school district so we planned that when school resumed after summer break, our kids would stay at their relative’s house in the school district Monday through Friday. Then they would spend their weekends with us. That wasn’t an ideal solution but it was better than before. We got confirmation that my friend was sending a check for the 6 months rent and utilities in full and told Judy. She left me a deposit slip and asked that I swing it by her bank to deposit.  I deposited the money May 23, 2012 beginning our 6 month lease. Everything was fine except that Judy came every weekend when she had led us to believe she wouldn’t be there very often. In June, her son, Sam, flew back from South America where he lived. He stayed about 10 days and left. Then her son, Stephen, came to visit bringing his 3 legged dog, named Other Dog. When Stephen left, his dog stayed for us to take care of. We didn’t complain. We took care of the extra dog. For the entire month of June someone was living in the basement apartment.

    By July, we have been living here for 6 weeks without a written lease. The Palmer’s have violated their duties by bringing an extra dog, having other people stay in the apartment, and by Judy coming more often than agreed. We haven’t complained. Stephen came to stay a second time and again left his dog for the next 2 1/2 –  3 months.  We wouldn’t have minded watching the 3rd dog if we had been asked, if they had bathed and flea treated the dog, and if the dog didn’t fight with the male dog, growl at us, and fall down everyday not being able to walk on hardwood floor, and that it had accidents in the house,  and got on the furniture . We still  never complained, we politely  requested they flea treat the dogs and get them vet care. Finally at the end of August, Judy took the dogs down to the basement, locking the gate so that we no longer were responsible to care for them. Also she took the lizards to the basement. That caused a huge flea infestation that my wife spent hours every day  for a month trying to eradicate. We couldn’t use flea bombs  because  we had no control of moving the lizards or making sure the dogs were outside and we didn’t have access to open windows after the bomb . Our landlords who should have taken care of a bug infestation when we notified them multiple times,  refused to speak to us.

    By mid July, Judy began to make threats to us. First, she verbally accosted me at a neighbor’s house in front of a third party. She screamed and yelled about her own son, Stephen, calling him stupid and retarded, and then continued  with how my family was costing her money and causing her to go broke. Then later she told Susan she was going to attack me with a bat. She kept saying how broke she was and how she was going to throw our stuff out into the streets. To prevent that, we signed under duressa predated lease that her son, Sam, had left to stop Judy from carrying out her threats to illegally evict us. Susan made some notes on it to prove that it wasn’t legally enforceable and then we gave it to Judy. She kept calling and threatening to throw us out and she told Susan if we didn’t pay $1400, she was filing eviction papers. She filed those papers at court on or about August 10. We were served. Judy then decided to shut off various electric circuits/breakers through the fuse box. She even shut off the water line to the refrigerator so that we wouldn’t have ice or cold, filtered water. Then 2 days before court, her son, Sam, came back from South America to live in the basement apartment. We went to court. We won, even though both Judy and Sam lied to the judge and he caught them lying, they seemed shocked and angry. By the time they arrived back at the house, they decided to make our lives so miserable that we would leave.They fabricated  the $1400 that Judy claimed we owed for utilities, which were included in the monthly rent, and security deposit, that was never requested prior to moving in,  as was vindicated by the judge at the first trial. Sam came back from South America, months prior to he when was supposed to, and decided to stay so he and his mom did everything they could think of to cause a constructive eviction.  A constructive eviction means an illegal eviction by the landlord when they have no legal basis to dispossess their tenants so they resort to illegal means. In this case they used noise, nuisance, threats, deprivation, and harassment. They  began by banging  the ceiling/floor joists with a sledgehammer repeatedly in the middle of the night. They set up huge speakers in the garage (directly under of bedroom)  to blast music in the middle of the night. They had people over at 2 or 3 am racing motorcycle engine under our bedroom. They would open and then close the garage door repeatedly, 30 – 40 times in a row all day and night.They shut off breakers whenever they wanted to harass us and they shut off the air conditioner, stove, oven, washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, electric outlets, the internet, comcast, and  directv permanently. Then one night in September, Sam decided to hot wire the furnace at  approximately 8:00 pm. He made it so that the thermostat on our floor no longer controlled the heat instead it was rewired to be controlled in the basement apartment. We noticed heat blasting and tried to close the vents. It was 85 degree in the living room and closer to 90 in the bedroom when we had to call the sheriffs. Sam left the house immediately after hot wiring furnace and didn’t return. The sheriffs called the fire department. The firemen determined that one of two things would occur; either the furnace would explode or it would catch fire. This was a ticking time bomb. The firemen got the sheriffs to get an emergency order to break into the Palmer area of the house and disable the furnace. This could have killed us if we had not taken action. But the Cherokee County Sheriffs decided not to pursue criminal charges against Sam. He should have been charged with reckless endangerment, attempted murder, or if we were killed murder, attempted arson, and attempted destruction of property.  The detective handling this case spoke to Sam and decided that because he was the landlord and he didn’t think anyone would do that to their own home, that this situation wasn’t serious and they wouldn’t charge Sam. This was before he spoke to us or looked at Sam’s criminal history which includes an a conviction for reckless endangerment when he held a knife to his own throat and threatened to kill himself in front of several people. This completely discredits the detective’s belief that Sam would not have done this to his own home and tenants. We were upset but we were stuck. The Palmers refused to refund our prepaid rent money and we didn’t have anywhere else to go. So we endured the burning hot temperatures  of a summer in Georgia without ac, which caused me a serious, painful rash which with my weakened immune system could have been deadly.Then Sam decided to shut off the hot water heater depriving us of hot showers, the ability to wash dishes and general cleanliness. Sometimes all of the power was off, sometimes the water was completely off. We never knew what Sam would do.

    He was such a miserable, vengeful, hateful person that he attempted to have our 3 wonderful, innocent children thrown out of their beloved high school. I don’t think you can sink much lower than that. Sam called the school and lied telling them that our children were living out of the school district. Thankfully, the school didn’t believe him. The counselor merely asked Katie where she lived and she honestly told them with her aunt, in the school district. That school is the reason we stayed here when we lost our home and we will not allow anything or anyone to ruin our children’s future. It is necessary for their future plans that they graduate from the school they love.

    We called the sheriff’s department 8 separate occasions, we called the marshal’s office 3 times, we went to court 2 times while our lease was valid and our rent paid in advance. Not a single one of those organizations did anything to help us. Yes we have police reports by very competent, caring sheriffs. Yes the marshal’s office went over their rules and tried to find something to hold against the Palmers, and yes the judge followed the law and twice ruled in our favor, even if it seemed to displease him. But we didn’t get any useful help, the overall conservative ideology favors the homeowner. I know they should have considered Sam’s extensive criminal record which included convictions for felony gun charges and endangerment with a knife charge.(Ironically, as we waited to go to court for this incident, it was postponed because Sam was in jail in a different county on a different charge and he had to serve 4 months before that county would transport him to court here.) So finally, after Sam lost in court the second time, he decided to take matters in a different direction. He and his mother, Judy, broke into our home. Sam, this 30 year career criminal and wanna be tough guy, underestimated this 56 year old, cancer patient’s strength, having grown up in the rough city of New Haven, CT,  having made my way through with many inevitable street fights as a young man.  I easily overpowered him and knocked him out cold. I then caught him as he fell so he wouldn’t get seriously injured hitting his head on the dryer ,flipped him over and searched for weapons, then left him lying there. Susan was on the phone with 911 yelling that 2 people, our landlords, broke into our home and clutching a blanket around her. The 911 operator actually insulted and berated Susan telling her to “act like an adult” because I guess she had never had 2 people break into her home, engage in a physical altercation with her sick husband, while she was naked. Of course, upon review of the tape, the sheriff’s office had to apologize to Susan but that doesn’t really make it better. Sam left in handcuffs on the way to jail but first he was taken by ambulance to the hospital to be checked for injuries. Then, he got out of jail and disappeared. The rumor was he fled the country. At least between that and the sheriffs telling the Palmers to turn the heat on, our lives were a little better. Not much because they refused to turn on most of the electric breakers. It was the most depressing holiday season of my life. Our kids were afraid to come stay with us on the weekends and we didn’t trust the Palmers. We couldn’t allow our kids to visit us there. They didn’t repair the door they broke in through so we were forced to erect a barrier in the hallway to prevent the Palmers from coming back. It wouldn’t stop them but it would make enough noise that we would know.  Based on the previous outreaches for help which were all met with, there is no help for tenants in Georgia, we knew based on “Stand Your Ground” laws, we could have gotten a gun or rifle and shot to kill the Palmers as they broke into our home. Although in theory, we would have been not guilty of any charges, we as the lowly tenants, could not legitimately rely on the law for any protection including the right to self defense, defense of others, and defense of home. On July 2,2013, Sam plead guilty to criminal trespass for the incident of breaking into my home and assaulting me. He received one year probation, $490.00 fine, anger evaluation and any follow up needed, he cannot drink while on probation, subject to random drug testing, and he is prohibited from having any contact with myself, my wife, and my children.

   The third dispossessory proceeding filed against us by Judy Palmer occurred in January 2013. Although our lease had expired on or about November 23, 2012, we stayed at the house in order to receive the credit due to us for the many services which were included in the lease and the Palmers wilfully withheld from us. At that court hearing, the judge allowed approximately 30 minutes of testimony to determine how much rent credit was owed to us, which he personally calculated that we should be allowed to stay there until the end of March 2013 without paying any additional rent, and that did not include the monetary damages for emotional distress, harassment, pain and suffering, and slander that we were entitled to. The opposing attorney did not object to the judge’s finding that we were entitled by law for rent credit and monetary damages, he only wanted the judgment to be against his client, Sam Palmer who was absent from court, rather than his client, Judy Palmer, who was in court and who is employed and could pay the judgment. Then both parties sat quietly while the judge used his computer to check laws and research. The judge  then found a 1924 case, Shahane v. Eberhart, 158 Ga. 743.that held that in a dispossessory action, no other issues or claims could be heard.This was a land baron era  case that gave tenants zero claims against landlords and which had been overturned by statute.  Which the judge had violated by holding a hearing on those very issues. Then the judge granted the dispossessory and dismissed our counterclaims. This is a travesty of justice. First, this judge handles hundreds of dispossessories each month. If the law was so clear that you couldn’t fight a dispossessory, the court forms wouldn’t ask for counterclaims on the forms they give out to defendants, the laws wouldn’t require certain counterclaims to be brought at that time or be lost, and that judge would not have held a hearing on those very same counterclaims in this case. This is not the only legal error by this judge. He also refused to admit the 8 police reports that we had documenting our claims. The judge said they were hearsay and we should have subpoenaed the 20 – 25 sheriffs, fireman, etc who wrote the reports. That is in direct conflict with the Georgia state statute, OCGA 24.8.803.(8), hearsay exception for public records,  that state police reports are exception to hearsay rule, therefore, admissible.

    This is just one of the countless somewhat intangible abuses of power by a right wing, Christian conservative government official against the less fortunate. The homeowner/landlord is somehow considered  better than the tenant and therefore merits protection, even if in direct conflict with the statute and case law, while the tenant doesn’t.. This entire situation is documented through the 8 police reports, the 3 dispossessory actions in Cherokee County, GA courts, the injunction filed , which was denied,  and appeal filed,  the arrest and conviction of Samuel Palmer, and the adverse effect on my health by my physician in a reported dated November 2012.

Written by Joe Mikos

August 16, 2013

mikos.joe@gmail.com

via twitter: @advocatemikos

(770) 837-4435

Landlords and homeowners:  Samuel Wesley Palmer, 31, ad Judith Ann Palmer, 57

6825 Recreation Lane, Acworth, GA 30102,  (404) 787-2104

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.