By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Last week, SB 291, a bill designed to favor landlord’s rights over those of their tenants, passed out of the Senate. The bill’s sponsor, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston), is a man with vast real estate holdings.
Marsh is perhaps the wealthiest of all sitting legislators. He has made a fortune in aerospace and in the real estate market. So, it would seem fitting that he would understand the needs and perils of being a landlord.
In a State were every action by a politico is scrutinized (where they live, what they drive, including personal and business relationships) it is surprising that no one has ever looked more closely at Marsh’s real estate holdings or his relationship with Husam Abu Shmais , a Middle Eastern immigrant living in Georgia with whom Marsh has had some real estate dealings.
In 2000, Husam Abu Shmais purchased a home from Marsh in DeKalb County, for $150,000. Within months of the purchase, Abu Shmais was arrested and charged with distributing porn to children. Abu Shmais took a first offender bargain and served no jail time.
[Source: Nexis Public Records, Georgia Court Report/ Case No. 00-D-05844-S2]
After that, Abu Shmais was arrested by Gwinnett County (GA) Police and charged with running an illegal gambling operation from a local storefront.
Still up to his old tricks, Abu Shmais was again arrested for operating a illegal gambling operation in Lawrenceville, GA. in 2012.
Marsh, who owns homes in Colorado Springs, Georgia, and a 1500-acre, $1.7 million island in the river in Lauderdale County, TN, knows a thing or two about real-estate.
In his new bill, Marsh would extend the time a landlord my keep a tenant’s deposit from 35 days to 60. He would also have the right to evict if the renter is without power service for 7 days. And his new bill would change current law that provides tenants with a 14-day written notice if the landlord plans to terminate the lease over a violation, that does not involve failure to pay rent. SB 291 changes that timeframe to seven days. Marsh’s original bill would have cut the notice period to terminate over failure to pay rent down to four days.
Marsh knows real estate and exactly how to change the rules to favor the wealthy class…and not the half million Alabamians who are renters.