Gore 'Tenant' Cries Foul

A grizzly bear wanders around Deadhorse, Alaska Thursday Aug. 10, 2006. Scraped out of the marshy tundra some 260 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Deadhorse houses hundreds of workers that service the Prudhoe Bay and other North Slope oil fields. (AP Photo/Al Grillo)
AP
Tracy Mayberry thought Vice President Al Gore was a slumlord until Gore called her and promised to repair overflowing toilets and backed-up sinks in the apartment her family rents from him.

But when he supposedly called again, angry that she had been "badmouthing him" to the national media, Mayberry decided to find another landlord.

Mayberry and her family pay $400 a month to rent the four-bedroom house within sight of Gore's home in Carthage, about 50 miles east of Nashville.

After repeated complaints to Gore's property managers, Mayberry said she was told her family - including her disabled husband, a mentally retarded daughter and another daughter with a seizure disorder - were being evicted. They live on $1,536 a month in Social Security from her husband's disability.

"I was really upset with him. I considered him a slumlord," she said.

Frustrated, Mayberry contacted a Nashville television station, CBS affiliate WTVF-TV, which aired a story on her situation last week.

By Saturday afternoon, Gore was on the phone to Mayberry, promising to fix the problems and pay for a new place for the family to stay. Republicans were already circulating the TV story to national news organizations.

"He said he'd heard I'd called him a slumlord, and I said I did. I said if you want to run for president, you ought to behave like a landlord should," Mayberry said.

"He agreed with me. He said he's going to come in and do a complete renovation ... He kept apologizing. He said he's not what you'd call a hands-on landlord. I said I understand he's got a lot of obligations being vice president and campaigning. But I said I've got a lot of obligations to my family."

Spokesman Doug Hattaway said Gore was not aware of the house's condition until his staff was contacted by WTVF. Plumbing repairs would be so extensive the water would be turned off for quite some time, and the family likely would need to leave while the work was done, he said.

Since the Mayberrys are on a month-to-month lease, the property managers had asked the family to vacate the home while the repairs were made.

"I should emphasize for the record they're not being evicted," he said.

Gore overruled his property managers and instructed his Carthage lawyer to find a place for the family to stay. They will not have to pay rent while the repairs are made, Hattaway said.

Just when she was starting to think Al Gore wasnt such a creep after all, Mayberry said she received another call from Gore Monday morning. "I'm most positive it was Al Gore. No question."

But Mayberry said Gore wasn't so friendly or nice this time. She said he accused her of "badmouthing him" to the national media.

"He didn't have no right to call and say I badmouthed him because I didn't," she said.

That was the last straw for Mayberry. She started packing andecided to send her children to her mother's house. She said she and her husband would sleep in their truck.

She said she could rely on her truck, but not her landlord, the vice president.

Gore aides said Gore never made the second call and that he was giving a speech at a graduation in North Carolina.

Still, Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson issued a statement saying the Mayberry situation demonstrated a "lack of compassion" by Gore.

"Left to his own devices, these are the decisions Al Gore always seems to end up making," Nicholson said.