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JOHN DeMONT: Dartmouth family, living in fear of neighbour, pleads for help

Dartmouth resident Frank Orlando says he and his family are being tormented by their neighbour.
Dartmouth resident Frank Orlando says he and his family are being tormented by their neighbour. - Screen grab

For seven years he was just the quiet man who lived next-door to Frank Orlando, his partner and their daughter: the guy who asked the occasional awkward question of his neighbours, but otherwise passed silently by in the narrow halls of the downtown Dartmouth condo development they share.

During all those years, the collective conversation between them amounted to a few sentences, Orlando, a communications consultant wrote in a post Wednesday on Hello Dartmouth, the website that he co-founded.

A year ago, relations between the neighbours started to change. Not in a good way. Orlando calls what they've experienced since then “a nightmare,” which is no hyperbole.

According to Orlando's post it began with a “deluge” of complaints against them from their neighbour. They left a pink light on in their unit, which he alleged was a “grow op.” They intentionally drilled holes in air ducts to blow fine mists of toxic powder into his unit. They were somehow responsible for noxious fumes and gases that have poisoned him, landing him in the hospital.

In response, he allegedly left a pile of vomit outside their doorway, and, after the pandemic hit, coughed in Orlando's partner's face.

According to Orlando the neighbour once said, “that's right bitch, you get the f**k outta my way,” to his partner, before launching at her as she backed away.


“Our neighbour believes we are trying to kill him,” he told me. “We fear he might do the same to us.”

- Frank Orlando


The incessant complaints have brought countless government agencies — Halifax police, fire and emergency services, condo board representatives, and most recently the Department of Justice's public safety and security division — banging on their door at all hours to inspect their unit.

“One by one, he moves from one person to the next,” Orlando wrote. “One agency to the next. Each one duty bound to probe and investigate. Each one exhausted, time and time again the accusations are proven to be false.”

When I asked Orlando why this was happening to a family that he describes as just wanting to "live a stress-free happy life without hurting others," he said that he didn't know.

“He has told countless agencies that he believes we are trying to poison him,” Orlando said via email. “The unfortunate part is that he will not speak with us directly. So we are left reacting to his actions without knowing what he wants.”

Orlando called his public post, titled A Cry for Help, an act of desperation.

“Our neighbour believes we are trying to kill him,” he told me. “We fear he might do the same to us.”


"This man needs help. No one is standing up for him."

- Frank Orlando


In his view, the neighbour is also issuing his own cry for help. Orlando and his partner have been trying for months to get the Department of Health to take seriously the neighbour's fears that he's being poisoned, and that he is unsafe in his home.

No one has listened. Orlando says that they were told by one investigator that they can only step in to help when someone is "on the ledge about to jump."

An innocent family is paying the price.

In August, they filed a peace bond against him. A court date has been set for Dec. 9.

Taking legal steps, he said, had only made things worse.

Last week a poster showing an old Twitter post by Orlando's partner appeared in a hallway in their building.

"Certain sections of the tweet are highlighted. And the highlighted parts tell a story," wrote Orland. They include "“not a joke” … “going to hurt us and others” and “has access to weapons.” A day later another poster appeared.

When I asked Orlando why they just don't move out of their rental unit, he said that they love their community, and shouldn't be forced from their home, especially in a time when there is less than a one-per-cent vacancy rate in the HRM.

"A larger question should be, do you think this problem will go away if we move," he told me. "This man needs help. No one is standing up for him."

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