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Renters face eviction with minimum notice, then Foxconn, after inquiry, offers more time

Rick Romell, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

After landlords started proceedings to evict four Sturtevant families on minimum notice to pave the way for land purchases by Foxconn Technology Group, the company took action to give the families more time to move following a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel inquiry about the situation.

Instead of the 28 days the tenants originally were granted in hand-delivered notices they received last week from two landlords -- one of whom said he acted at Foxconn's direction -- the company said it will try to let the renters stay for at least 90 days.

The events unfolded as Foxconn prepares to buy additional property just outside the area covered by a development contract the company has signed with the Village of Mount Pleasant and Racine County.

The impending purchase of about 100 acres had not previously been signaled by Foxconn or government officials. The land at issue is in the Village of Sturtevant, and is immediately north and east of the L-shaped Foxconn development area.

Four families -- two with school-age children and one with an adult woman and her 79-year-old mother on fixed incomes -- rent houses on the land. Tenants said late last week that they were surprised and dismayed to be handed letters telling them they had to clear out by Jan. 31.

"I feel like I'm living in a nightmare right now," Jennifer Le Viseur, who said she has rented her house on Braun Road for nearly 13 years, said on Friday. "... Like I've been slapped in the face."

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Also upset was Veronica Roussett, who lives nearby with her husband and their two daughters, who are 7 and 8 years old.

"We felt like the notice was just sprung on us and we weren't given any type of option ... it just seems so unfair," Roussett said Friday.

But after a reporter asked a Foxconn spokeswoman about the matter, Louis Woo, top assistant to company chairman Terry Gou, said by email that Foxconn will work to give the tenants at least 90 days to find new homes and to move.

"Thank you for bringing this important matter to our attention," Woo wrote. "Although we have acted, and continue to act, in full compliance with the legal requirements of the options contracts negotiated with the landowner, we were not aware of the specific negative impacts of these actions on current tenants of the subject properties.

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