Anonymous letter sparks controversy on Monona Drive
There could be a business boycott brewing along Monona Drive.
It’s all centered around a homeless man and a complaint letter to business owners that claims his presence could be a "tipping point" for the neighborhood.
Jim Malcheski has been fixing cars at exhaust auto for more than two decades. He also owns the tavern next door.
"We noticed him leaning up against the Jade Monkey which is right next door," Malcheski said. "He hasn't caused any problems, I've only talked to him one or two times."
For the last few weeks, Malcheski's been letting a homeless man stay near his property.
"I'm gracious, trust me I'm gracious." NBC15 News spoke with the man, but he asked not to show his face on camera. "I'm trying to better my life with what I have to work with."
However, on Saturday, Malcheski said he got a letter, which reads:
"We are disappointed to see that you've allowed residents in the Madison homeless community to take up residence in the area around your business. As it is private property, you have a choice.
Though we feel for those without homes, that doesn’t mean that are neighborhood is the solution to their situation. There are many organizations in Madison that support the homeless and should be contacted to assist the individual to find an alternate location.
This could be the tipping point for our neighborhood. If it’s OK for one person, then soon we will see more. Where will it end?
Until this situation changes, we will be unable to visit/support your business. We feel unsafe in the area of your business.
Multiple residents on Monona Drive"
There are no names associated with the author of the letter and no return address.
"I was pretty upset that there wasn't anyone I couldn't talk to somebody's about it, the person who wrote the letter."
Diane Tucker, owner of Diane’s Draperies at the same strip mall said. "We have talked to the police, but he cleans up after himself and he moves on during the day and he comes back at night; with [COVID-19], there's just nowhere for him to go.
Tucker said she also got the letter.
"Come on folks, give us a break, we're all one or two payments away from being in the same situation," Malcheski said.
NBC15 News called the mayor's offices in both Monona and Madison, They said they have not gotten any complaints about this issue. NBC15 News Reporter Elise Romas also went door-to-door in the area. People either had nothing to say or said they didn't mind the man hanging around.
Malcheski's daughter posted the letter on Facebook. It received nearly a thousand comments mostly in support of Malcheski's actions.