Good Samaritan offers home to single mother evicted from fraudulently-rented house

Good Samaritan offers home to single mother evicted from fraudulently-rented house

Greg Kahn/Staff
Emanoel Thermitus, a single mother of three, comforts her son Dylan, 9, at Vineyards Community Park on Thursday, April 26, 2012. Thermitus was recently evicted from a home after it was discovered her landlord was fraudulently renting the property that was in foreclosure. She has since been allowed to stay in a residence on White Boulevard.

Photo by GREG KAHN // Buy this photo

Greg Kahn/Staff Emanoel Thermitus, a single mother of three, comforts her son Dylan, 9, at Vineyards Community Park on Thursday, April 26, 2012. Thermitus was recently evicted from a home after it was discovered her landlord was fraudulently renting the property that was in foreclosure. She has since been allowed to stay in a residence on White Boulevard.

A man named Paul called a woman named Emanoel on Monday with a crazy idea.

Emanoel Thermitus, a single mother of three sons, had been kicked out of a rental house in Golden Gate Estates in mid-April when detectives learned her landlord did not actually own the foreclosed home in whch she was living.

Having spent $3,000 — most of her savings — to rent a house she couldn't live in, Thermitus and the boys packed up their belongings and began spending evenings at a public park, scrambling to find shelter after dark. They were no longer allowed in the house but had nowhere else to go.

On Saturday, North Naples resident Paul Conti read about the family in the Daily News and thought about a home of his own. The property he'd bought in a foreclosure sale years earlier would be perfect for them, he thought, and so on Monday, Conti handed a key to a stranger and let her move into his empty house.

"It's still a shock to me sometimes," Thermitus said Thursday. "The first night, I couldn't sleep because I was so happy."

After years of apartment living, it is the first time Thermitus and her sons — Delwin, 13, Danley, 12, and Dylan, 9 — have lived in a single-family home.

"I always wanted to stay in a good neighborhood in a little house with a little backyard," she said, "but now I have a huge house with a big backyard. And a front yard. It's unbelievable for someone to do that."

Thermitus had first wanted to move earlier this year when it became apparent that the town house she had lived in for two years was no longer suitable for her growing children. Neighbor boys only slightly older than her sons, she said, had been in trouble with the law.

The family moved out and found a three-bedroom house on Third Avenue Northwest at the beginning of April, but in a week's time, a Collier County sheriff's deputy had come to the door and told her the landlord, 21-year-old Yoandry Leiva, had no legal rights to the home.

Authorities arrested Leiva, accusing him of fraudulently renting out two houses. He remains in the Naples Jail Center on bonds totaling $80,000.

With no money for a new place, Thermitus took her sons to a public park each night until 10, when they would look for a place to stay. She didn't tell them what was going on.

"I let them be a kid," she said. "I went through this alone, because I feel bad for them."

At the park, the boys played basketball and tennis for hours.

"It was kind of fun," Delwin said.

After reading the story, Thermitus' co-workers and church friends told her they wished they had known, and asked what they could do to help. Daily News readers called offering to buy the family groceries and furniture.

Conti said he thought of his extra house, which he had bought with plans to get renters but never really got around to.

"The article just killed me to read, that someone would do that to her," he said of her former landlord. "She's one of the most deserving people I've ever met."

In their new one-story home on White Boulevard, portraits of the family hang on either side of a sliding-glass door that leads out to the pool. A photo of Thermitus' graduation from Lorenzo Walker sits on a hexagonal side table.

A nurse by trade, her plan is to save enough money to be able to rent the house from Conti. Then, she says, it will be her turn to pay it forward.

"What happened to me can happen to other people in the future," she said. "I'm going to work as hard as I possibly can to have the ability to help somebody else."

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 56

imgumbydamit writes:

Wow...Nicely done Mr Conti...clearly you had an amazing upbringing and we could all learn from your generosity...My hat is off to you.

flanative writes:

Well done, Mr. Conti! Nice to hear good news for a change, neighbor helping neighbor. Thank you.

Watasha writes:

Very nice story.

HAP writes:

Wow, bless you all. Nice to see real compassion in the world.

Cindym4 writes:

sorry for mr.conti,she lived her in these condos for one yr and destroyed the place as of today they still have the windows open cause of the bad smell also holes in the wall. she was never around to watch her kids but she dont have no room to talk about other kids if she didnt know what hers did they also would get into trouble, teenagers are teenagers ive been her for 4yrs and havent had any problem and if kids are in trouble with the law here its for fighting not drugs hers where in the same situation!

Beachglow writes:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

NaplesNative7 writes:

Thank you Mr. Conti,

What a wonderful act of kindness. Your rewards will be in heaven.

comingback writes:

It is about time somebody like Mr. Conti would help out a total stranger. God Bless Mr. Conti and the poor family that was kicked to the curb! I have been in Naples for 16 years and the snobby rich and the ones that think they're rich, disgust me! People that have money are in position to help other people in need, instead of looking down upon them! I hope this catches on to other people in Naples and all over the world. Next time you see a homeless person or a person down on their luck, throw them a couple bucks and see how good it feels! Try it, you'll like it!

comingback writes:

Beachglow you have been in the sun too long! It was $3,000 For first, last, and security!

mr_1_term_proposition writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

TSOL writes:

It will be interesting to see how Mr. Conti is repaid for his kindness by the condition his house is left in when they move out. Sadly I have seen it far too many times that when you just someone something for free they end up not caring about it and trashing it. Just look at govt. housing they start out looking great and within a couple of years they are usually trashed.

HelenaHandbasket writes:

What a great story!

blueblueblue writes:

in response to mr_1_term_proposition:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There always has to be at least one negative troll on these wonderful stories.
You win today's award.

Bramble writes:

Very uplifting and affirming. Thank you Mr. Conti. You are an angel. It's wonderful to see such a random act of kindness in a world often filled with bad behavior.

I only wish a story like this would receive as much media attention and public acclaim as the Trevon-Zimmmerman encounter.

Therealist writes:

What a great story! Thank you Mr. Conti, for doing such a wonderful thing.

Dusty writes:

Mr. Conti,

With the world being full of so many ugly things people like you give me hope! Hope that the good things out there really do out weigh the bad.
Thank you!!

NeezDutz writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

There are quite a few decent places to rent in Naples between $600 and $800 per month. I know, i was looking in the market a few months ago while i was waiting for my house contract to be finalized.

Here4Now writes:

in response to imgumbydamit:

Wow...Nicely done Mr Conti...clearly you had an amazing upbringing and we could all learn from your generosity...My hat is off to you.

As is mine

babbas writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

$3000 was for security deposit, first and last month's rent, I am assuming, right?

Notthesame writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

momof2soon3 writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

If you read the story correct and know anything about renting you are asked for first, last and security. Then if the water and light are turned on sometimes they ask for a down payment. Also if you rent a truck to move your belonging that will cost too. The story did not read that the rent was $3000.00

np writes:

Sweet Story! This gesture by Mr. Conti will go a long long way in this family by making a difference. Its people like him that make the world a better place .

tampacoco writes:

Even if this doesn't work out for him and she doesn't make good with him, He did what he thought he could do to help her and Hats off to him.

IMFROMHERE writes:

I don't see anything that leads me to believe that she had the feeling of entitlement. She was down on her luck and Mr. Conti came in and gave her a helping hand to get her on her feet and a roof over her childrens' heads. Great story. Assuming that she is going to rip this man off in the end is disgusting. She made the best of what she had by trying to provide a suitable place for her kids to live. I wish nothing but the best for those involved, and to Mr. Conti thank you for being an upstanding person.

theoryofdisaster writes:

It is nice to open up this "rag" and see a positive story for a change. Well done Mr. Conti!!

alexia6ciula writes:

in response to Notthesame:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why spoil a rare moment of generosity in this selfish times? I am sure Mr. Conti took in consideration the fact that it would take a while before she can start pay rent. He states that he had the extra house empty; that means he does not need the rent monies right now.He gaveher the house because he has a heart and feels that he could help. I wish there more people like Mr. Conti; We shall all take example and do something selfless (It does not have to be a big gesture like his) . I always believe that a positive gesture trigger positivity and is contagious. An example : I had a young tenant once who lost her job and could not pay me rent as result. Instead of kicking her out I helped her find a job and let he stay rent free for a couple of months as she found a new job. She was so grateful that when she got back on her feet left my condo and purchased a new towhome she left my condo in better condition that when I gave to her. She even purchased brand new ceiling fans and left it at the condo, repainted the rooms and left me a big thank you note. I am sure that this lady will never forget this act of generosity

Therealist writes:

in response to Notthesame:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

There's something wrong with your mind and the way it works.

freedomsailor writes:

in response to Notthesame:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Wow, notthesame. Just because YOU would do what you wrote doesn't mean others would. Either you have lived a very sad life, or you are just an ugly troll. Sick people like you are disgusting!

swfl_ff writes:

Thank you Mr Conti for your generosity. I hope that this arrangement will work out for all parties involved.

It is always nice to read stories like this despite all the negative posts.

MrsRobles writes:

I do not know why people are so worried about a house that isn't even there's!! Don't worry about what happen I'm sure Mr. Conti knew the what-ifs when he let her stay there.. People need to stop being so negative and rejoice in the fact that there are still nice people now days

Bunk writes:

Rejoice !!

Notthesame writes:

in response to freedomsailor:

Wow, notthesame. Just because YOU would do what you wrote doesn't mean others would. Either you have lived a very sad life, or you are just an ugly troll. Sick people like you are disgusting!

You have no idea who i am, and i dont need anything from anybody. and I havent lived a sad life, a actually a very enriched one. I see this kind of stuff everyday. Im not the sick one here, just a realist. If he wants to let someone live in his home rent free, thats his problem, he may get lucky she may be the nicest woman youve ever met for all I know. But somehow I doubt it.

onthe47yardline writes:

What a wonderful story. It is a blessing for all involved.

Maggotbrain writes:

God bless Mr Conti.
Blessed are the merciful.

GadsdenGirl writes:

It's reassuring to see that there are compassionate human beings living in Naples! I thought they were all racist, small minded, selfish idiots. I guess that's just a majority of the negative people that post hateful things on NDN. Good on ya Mr. Conti!

Gifted1 writes:

in response to Notthesame:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"you will never get a dime out of them."
Who do you mean by them? This is a single mother with a name. Why not just state your a bigot and not beat around the bush.

Gifted1 writes:

in response to Notthesame:

You have no idea who i am, and i dont need anything from anybody. and I havent lived a sad life, a actually a very enriched one. I see this kind of stuff everyday. Im not the sick one here, just a realist. If he wants to let someone live in his home rent free, thats his problem, he may get lucky she may be the nicest woman youve ever met for all I know. But somehow I doubt it.

Unfortunately your enrichment did not include an English grammar education! I read this post, and now I am the realist....LOL

Beachtowel writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

Beachglow, perhaps you should read more carefully. The article did not say she was paying $3,000 a month for rent. An intelligent assumption would be she had to pay a months rent & a months rent as a security deposit. So that would be $1500 a month.

DigiMorphouZ writes:

You wank on water Mr. Conti! Well done!

MisterK writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

There are many poor people living and raising families in Naples. I think your comment is offensive.

crazyjoedivola1 (Inactive) writes:

How many snowbirds just closed up their houses for the next 6 months and never even thought of offering this family a temporary place to stay?

Trexler writes:

Mr. Conti, my hat is off to you also...I dont know how long you can afford to do this or how long it'll take the family to get on their feet...but there'll be a place in heaven for you...

Ironage writes:

in response to DigiMorphouZ:

You wank on water Mr. Conti! Well done!

Umm possibly an innocent spelling error I hope.

learnyourplace (Inactive) writes:

in response to NeezDutz:

There are quite a few decent places to rent in Naples between $600 and $800 per month. I know, i was looking in the market a few months ago while i was waiting for my house contract to be finalized.

Where? I have been looking like crazy and can't find any decent 2 bedroom under $1000. Don't say golden gate. :)

IIWII writes:

in response to learnyourplace:

Where? I have been looking like crazy and can't find any decent 2 bedroom under $1000. Don't say golden gate. :)

I just rented my 2 bedroom guest house with under cover parking to a lovely girl with her small dog included for $750.00/month. Not in Golden Gate.

lemonjello writes:

in response to Notthesame:

You have no idea who i am, and i dont need anything from anybody. and I havent lived a sad life, a actually a very enriched one. I see this kind of stuff everyday. Im not the sick one here, just a realist. If he wants to let someone live in his home rent free, thats his problem, he may get lucky she may be the nicest woman youve ever met for all I know. But somehow I doubt it.

Not sure that anyone really cares who you are. Why do you assume it is a problem for him? In America you can choose to give your time, money and energies to whomever or whatever you choose.

Enriched life for you? Define enriched? Money doesn't bring enrichment. I have money and know that to be true. Why can't you just appreciate this mans fine gesture and recognize it for what it is.

jnwkim writes:

in response to Beachglow:

This poor single mother will never be able to live and afford a place like Naples. She needs to get real about that and find a good job as a nurse in an affordable place. Crazy. Even I know my financial limitations in life. Ft. Myers would be such a more affordable place. $3,000 for rent? NUTS

They didn't say that the rent was $3000. That was probably first, last and deposit.

AnnetteKniola writes:

Amen!

See, us Estates folks are just downright caring people.

Great job Mr. Conti!

Bigkondorsback (Inactive) writes:

I would love to see pictures before they move in, and in 3 months.

Jarvis (Inactive) writes:

What a nice story. This is the kind of thing that usually will only happen in a small town, where there are still kind people who have faith in humanity, and are willing to help other people.

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