John Orem’s response to a recent news release..

John Orem and attorney's
John Orem center, with attorneys Kevin Mills and Shawn McDermott, outside court after prosecutors admitted the improper conduct, illegal search and false arrest by the police officer. has noticed a consistent pattern of disenfranchisement (deprived of a right or privilege) directed towards John Orem since his recent bid for Sheriff of Berkeley County. Something about all this just smells fishy..?

His candidacy was sidelined primarily due to fake news and the proven interference by a specific state police officer. That officers illegal actions include false statements, illegal search and illegal arrest, and was quite possibly politically motivated. The officer was never called so why was he there? His motivation is suspicious at least. John Orem’s federal lawsuit should provide clarification on this matter.

These ‘seemingly’ unrelated city civil actions, when you step back and look at it, bring many things into question..

Have the good-old-boys now turned their insidious big guns on John Orem? Has the city of Martinsburg (city council) and other individuals in high places of power taken it upon themselves, with help from the diligent Matinsburg Police Department.. to target John Orem specifically?

If so why and under who’s direction? Another political move? The citizens of this county need to know the truth!

Mr Orem’s claims that he has NEVER been contacted by city officials in any way..

MPD Shuts Down 28th Drug House—Third Orem Property Cited Under Ordinance

“The Martinsburg Police Department announced today the initiation of another case under the city’s “Drug House Ordinance” for the rental property at 507 South Raleigh Street.  After a search warrant conducted by MPD officers on Tuesday night, the residence was discovered to be the location of a major illegal drug operation distributing large quantities of methamphetamine.

Police Chief Maury Richards appeared today before Martinsburg Chief Magistrate Ella Buckner to obtain an Order of Abatement to address the illegal drug activity documented at the location.  The owner of the Raleigh Street property has been identified as John Orem and found to be in violation of the Drug House Ordinance. “ more.

John Orem’s response..

Below is a copy of John Orem’s direct comment to the Martinsburg Police Department’s news release that can be found in its original form on the Martinsburg Police Facebook page. WVpac reached out to Mr. Orem for additional clarification as well. (view below) One quote from Mr. Orem speaks volumes..

“ this day I have never received a call. Instead I read in the paper how an arrest occurred and I’m being cited.”

You would think as Chief of Police he could handle his position with a little more professionalism.

I argued with him in his office about initiating this useless illegal ordinance (Prior to it being law.) At that time he swore to me it was being implemented to be able to go after out of state property owners who were neglecting their properties. Not for local landlords like myself,  if they saw or were notified of an issue they would call us up and let us know.

But to this day I have never received a call. Instead I read in the paper how an arrest occurred and I’m being cited. So when he first started targeting me I started subpoenaing him to eviction court and apparently embarrassing his. So now he is using is position to verbally degrade me.

Well sir!! That house at Raleigh st is inspected monthly like all our properties.

I can’t go thru their dresser drawers or in their pockets. That’s your job.

So instead of trying to degrade me because I am not legally empowered to search properties or arrest offenders. You are. So what is it that I should have done ? I wasn’t aware of any prior police responses to this property.

There wasn’t any obvious high foot traffic. And monthly walk thru inspections observed nothing out of the norm.

Now let’s talk about how you are dropping the ball. First you haven’t called me once like you promised, to alert me of any issue with any of my properties. Why did you lie?

Second you have 50 plus officers with arrest power and yet contrary to you slanted press release where you stated drug arrests are (down) where this ordinance has been enforced. The truth is that that’s because this ordinance does nothing more then move this element from one location to another.

Drug and prostitution in the city is actually up.

Maybe not at those certain houses. But in city limits.

Additionally I never seem to see you use this ordinance on the city projects which we all know are infected and over run with drugs. And everyone with a scanner knows the calls to those apartments are almost daily.

Additionally I am really appalled at the fact that just outside the police department parking lot is a building with multiple apartments that is owned by ( let’s say political people) that in the last year have had dozens of calls for drugs/ fights/ domestics and prostitution. Yet nothing done by you!

One last thing. Even though I only touched the tip of my complaints with your rule. If you were truly professional you would either use everyone’s name in headlines when you use this ordinance.

Or you would stop using just my name to sell yourself.

Using only my name each time, out of the 28 or so cited really shows people something about you.

( contacted Mr. Orem while he was driving.. but did shortly receive a text response.)

In response to your request for further statement. Its just amazing how people perceive things.

I am responding as a landlord with a real interest in doing what is best for the community. People need to understand that landlords are ill equiped legally to be used in lieu of police to fight crime. That said, we do the best that we can do with all things considered.

We run backgrounds on people and do inspections with 24 hours notice like the law requires.

The law does not allow landlords the right to do unscheduled inspections.

A landlord cannot go and search peoples personal property inside their homes, it is against the law.

Unless the renter tells their landlords they are doing illegal things, or they leave obvious things laying around during any of the ‘scheduled’ inspections, or maybe the police do their job and actually inform the landlords, there is no possible way for landlords to know unless they are psychic.

If I was to go into court and say I want to evict someone because a neighbor thinks they have too many people visiting, the judge would say I was wasting his time and throw out the eviction.

Must be embarrassing that the house on Raleigh St is directly across from the police department. And instead of owning this, they try to blame it on the landlord, that a drug dealer is operating under their nose. They are the professional crime fighters, right?

Another thing, the only people law enforcement seems to go after are my black tenants. As a Martinsburg city landlord, rental ethnic proportions reflect the city and surrounding area, with 15% Black 5% Hispanic and 80% White. All three times the police went after black tenants. If they want landlords to not rent based on ethnicity they need to change the law.

How is it right in anyway to hold me accountable for what another does? If I was a bank and lent the money to buy a home and the purchaser held those people hostage in the basement, the bank liable? Or like blaming a store owner for people shoplifting.

If they want us to enforce the law and morality they need to give us the tools and latitude under the law.

All of this stuff is straight crazy!

A better solution is for the police to inform landlords when they become aware of a problem like foot traffic.

Instead, they make a dog and pony show and act like they are doing something, when in fact they are shifting their duties as police officers to unknowing landlords.  We are traveling down a scary road and that is why I was originally meeting with the Chief prior to this law ever being enacted..

Your comments are appreciated and encouraged. Please be respectful and refrain from inflammatory or derogatory comments. WVpac wants readers to understand their responsibility, in that comments defaming Mr. Orem as a private citizen (not running for office) could be challenged in a court of law. Opinions matter.. as do unfounded allegations, rumors and lies.