Tenant-landlord dispute gets vicious in Fort Lauderdale

Tenant believes machete attack accusation is part of plot to get him out

By Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Sanela Sabovic - Reporter, Andrea Torres - Digital Reporter/Producer

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - Last week, Jimmie Leeks said strangers threatened him. He said they told him they wanted him to leave the efficiency he has been renting from Maurice Blanchar in Fort Lauderdale. 

Leeks said he called police officers to report the threats. He has a case number. Days later, he was home when Fort Lauderdale Police Department officers came knocking.

"I get on the ground. They handcuff me," Leeks, 48, said. "They sit me down."

Leeks said the officers questioned him. His 89-year-old landlord told the officers Leeks pulled out a machete and "started slicing" him with it, while he used his cane to defend himself. Leeks said he had never seen the machete before and he never laid a hand on Blanchar.   

While Leeks was released from prison in 2013 and has a criminal history that includes cocaine possession in 1989 and eluding police in 2010, Broward County court records show Blanchar has had a series of removal-of-tenant disputes from 1991 to 2011.

Blanchar filed lawsuits against Garrett Smith, John Curtis Ingle, Jaime Soto, Laura Carvalho and Samuel Porro. Leeks said Blanchar is now accusing him of a crime he did not commit.

Blanchar, who says he is a World War II veteran, was not hospitalized for his injuries. He had a jacket with a bloody stain as evidence of the attack, but police officers did not take it as evidence. 

"He didn’t even have stitches nowhere," Leeks said

Blanchar told officers that Leeks owed him money, and he asked Leeks to pay up before the attack. He also said he felt weak and officers took his cane as evidence, and he was having difficulty walking without one. 

"I’ve been through so many things in my life. One would think enough is enough,” Blanchar said on Thursday.

Leeks — who still had the keys to the efficiency unit in Blanchar’s property on Friday afternoon — said the alleged machete attack never happened, but officers didn't believe him. Broward County prosecutors charged him with aggravated assault.  

When police officers arrested him on Wednesday, Leeks said he noticed it looked like the machete was brand new. He now hopes that detectives will be able to see that his report about the strangers who intimidated him last week and Blanchar's accusations are connected. 

No one answered at Blanchar’s home on Friday evening. 

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