WORKER REPORT: Wall Street Becomes New Slumlord in Southwest Virginia


New River Tenant Union organizer SNR provides this report on the recent purchase of Massie’s Trailer Park in Christiansburg, Virginia by a Wall Street financier and how it’s effecting local working families


Massie’s Mass Eviction and Alden Global Capital

Belview Elementary is a small Title I school only a short walk from Massie’s Mobile Home Park. Students are learning right now about monarch butterflies, dinosaurs, and Native Americans. They’re also learning how to eat in a cafeteria for the first time and how to say they’re sorry even when whatever happened was just an accident. It is a close-knit community. Half of the school buses that run to Belview come from Massie’s to bring students to and from school everyday.

Billie Massie bought the parcel of land the trailer park sits on in 1978 and began building Massie’s Mobile Home Park in 1984. Today, there are 174 units.

Last week, the tenants union I organize with, New River Tenants Union, got a call from a family who had what they thought was an eviction notice taped to their porch. When I got to work at Belview the next day, I discovered it wasn’t just this one family at Massie’s facing eviction– many of my students received notices on their porches.

Why is this happening?

In April of 2022, Massie’s Mobile Home Park sold for $16.85 million. This price is much higher than what the county assessed the value of land to be, which was $2,843,600 in 2022.

Billie Massie received $10 million for the land and $6.85 million for the buildings. The buyer hid behind a shell corporation, Massie MHP, LLC, and wasn’t publicly listed on the Notice of Sale. Tenants were given new rental documents to sign which included instructions for tenants to pay using a new online app or to send checks to a PO Box in New Jersey.

If you dig hard enough, you can find that the PO Box is operated by Tom Del Bosco, an executive officer of Alden Global and the Vice President of Smith Management, LLC.

Alden Global is a powerful hedge fund that’s gained notoriety recently for buying out many newspapers in the US. After the buyouts, Alden sold off the papers’ real estate holdings, cut staffing, and invested the remaining staff pensions into Alden’s own hedge fund. Alden is a global entity– they even have investments in Mechel, a Russian energy and steel company.

It’s clear that Alden is now buying up trailer parks all across the United States, from Indiana, to Florida, to Louisiana to funnel money to the PO Box in New Jersey, then transferred to Delaware’s Corporate Trust Center, and eventually to the tax haven of the Cayman Islands.

Since Del Bosco has acquired Massie’s, management has been using different tactics to charge tenants with more fees, while looking for any excuse to push tenants out.

The app tenants were instructed to use barely functions, and it has no contact information listing who they can reach out to for support.

The tenants are finding new charges that they can’t afford to pay– one tenant even showed me charges that have dates from months before he even moved into his trailer.

Tenants I talked to have found their HUD assistance checks are being returned to sender, and the park is saying they owe thousands in rent. One tenant got a notice that he would soon be evicted unless he paid $64.

Tenants have told me that Massie’s is the only place they could afford in the rough housing market of Christiansburg, where the cost of rent has exploded this past year.

Rent at Massie’s is in a range of around $400–$800. The living situation is not good, and tenants aren’t getting the help that they need to fix their trailers– with some trailers being 30 or 40 years old.

One tenant showed me how his bathroom floor was caving in. Another told me that half of the electricity in her trailer was out. Both live with children, and they had asked park management for these things to be fixed– but they have been ignored.

Instead, the management has sent out a long packet of new rules tenants must follow unless they want to incur more draconian fees or get evicted. One rule that stood out to me is that now tenants are only allowed to have one pet. What is going to happen to all those second dogs and cats?

And what is going to happen to all of the kids who get evicted? The thought weighs on me like our school’s collapsing roof and the nearby weapons manufacturing pollutants strangling our air.

Finance capitalism is killing life in America. Mass evictions are traumatizing children and further impoverishing working class families.

Without guaranteed home ownership and nationalized banking, wealthy executives like Tom Del Bosco will continue playing Monopoly with our lives. They will gut us for our money and throw our kids and our dogs out into the streets. We need to fight together, for our homes and for our future.

Are you at Massie’s and want to share your story with me? Reach out to communicatingcollectivelife@gmail.com

9 responses to “WORKER REPORT: Wall Street Becomes New Slumlord in Southwest Virginia”

  1. Really glad to see you getting this story out there. Still not sure where this goes from here, but I appreciate you putting in the time to chase these leads and paint a bigger picture of what’s going on here. It’s easy to read about these sweeping acquisitions from vultures like Alden Global, but it’s harder to picture the direct impact on regular people until you read accounts like these.

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  2. I got three kids and they are trying throw me out to saying that I owe 1900 in rent and water trash I no I don’t I wood like to say that they are mess up and I can’t move cuz I just lost my job and I try to talk to them and they won’t call or email me back to work with me so I am trying to get another place to live so I hope sumone try to get this place fixed

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    1. Hi Terry!

      I am sorry you are going through this.

      Please call the Virginia Legal Aid Society ASAP for free legal help: (540) 382-6157

      You can reach me over email at communicatingcollectivelife@gmail.com if you would like help organizing your neighbors against this cruelty.

      Good luck!

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  3. I have friends that live in Massies and are fortunate enough to receive assistance with their rent. One of my friends whose rent is paid through HUD has received an eviction notice and he must pay $1,847 in 5 days or plan to move within 30 days. Technically his rent had been paid but they refused payments from HUD. Now if this place was not going to accept HUD payments these people should have been notified first hand as soon as the property was bought. Now he’s in a predicament and has no idea what to do. Not to mention he is extremely stressed at the thought of owing someone nearly $2,000 when he himself is disabled. There is no extra money in his household. First month’s rent and deposit and a lot of these greedy landlords Out Here Wanting first month’s rent last month’s rent and a deposit now and you have to come up with a deposit for your pet if you want one or have one? I have another friend over there who is also disabled and battling cancer. She has also received the exact same eviction notice because they refused payment from HUD . I thought a company could not refuse payment? And if this company does not accept HUD but yet HUD was trying to pay their rent how are they responsible when Del Bosco sent their money back to HUD? Where are these people supposed to go? And how are they supposed to come up with all this money to start over? Their children just starting school making friends and now will have to go to another school already? This truly makes me sick to my stomach. And some of these people with children are going to be homeless. So then what happens? Social services steps in and takes their children because of greedy people?! Tell me where that’s fair to these families. They really overpaid for the property in my opinion and since Massie received so much money maybe he could pitch in and help some of these tenants that he left hanging. 16.85 million?! We all know he was already rich this just put him way over the top and what on Earth could they possibly do with all that money? Buy more land throw some more homes on it charge people an exorbitant amount and sell it for another ridiculous amount of money and then leave them hanging too? I’m really happy that the story is getting out there. I may just call Channel 7 News for these people I don’t know how else to get everyone around here to realize what is going in our community and what’s happening to the people that we love. A lot of these people are going to be searching for public assistance to be able to move and even this County can’t handle the kind of monetary help that’s going to be needed in this situation for all of these people. Donations can only go so far. And just because your neighbor got help doesn’t mean you will. It’s a very messed up situation that I feel Massie and Del Bosco created and it’s quite clear neither one of them care about the families that will now be displaced. It’s also quite clear that all they care about is getting that Almighty dollar. If I lived in Massies I would go around and have people sign a petition and no one pay another dime in rent until this place can get their priorities straight.

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    1. Hi Pauline,

      I am so sorry about what your friend is going through. If she wants to reach me, she can email communicatingcollectivelife@gmail.com and we can exchange numbers.

      Please also have her call the Virginia Legal Aid Society for free legal help: (540) 382-6157 ASAP.

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  4. Thank you. I do appreciate what you are doing. In the least I believe the people that have HUD have a legal case here due to no notification and refusal of payment. Their should have been prior AMPLE notification to the tenants or even the HUD office that they would no longer be accepting Payments from HUD. The majority of these people have children. I haven’t heard anything about Billie in awhile and was a little surprised when I heard he had sold the park and basically just left everyone hangin. The man I knew cared about people. Even tenants that didn’t pay their rent. He wouldn’t just kick them out. He would give them chances to make it right. Even make payment arrangements with them because he didn’t want them homeless. It is very disappointing.
    I will pass your email and other info on to my friends. Their are 2 of them. Thank you for taking the time to do this

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  5. Thank you for this article. I had no idea these types of transactions were happening. Awesome reporting.

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  6. I live in Massies and am 65 disabled and on disability. I have my grandson living with me he is diabetic with a host of other medical problems. So the fear and anxiety I feel every minute of every day. Waking in the middle of the night only to set and worry how long will we have a place to live. I have no other family no help and no one to talk too. What’s the use of going on when people like Massie and the new owner exists in this world only to get richer. What is you dumbass think you going buy your way into heaven. Listen stupid it doesn’t work like that and karma will get you in the end.

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    1. Hi Rebecca!

      I am the writer of this article. I am so sorry that you are in this situation. Could you call me at 703-717-2590 and let me know your address? Please leave a voicemail because I can’t pickup when I’m at work. I would like to come visit your and talk!

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