Theo Epstein Landlord-Tenant Lawsuit Pits Scorpion Infestation Against Home-Befouling Doggo

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Image for article titled Theo Epstein Landlord-Tenant Lawsuit Pits Scorpion Infestation Against Home-Befouling Doggo
Photo: Charles Rex Arbogast (AP)

Cubs executive Theo Epstein is embroiled in a not-at-all-classic security deposit dispute with a landlord whose home in Paradise Valley, Arizona Epstein rented with his family during spring training in 2015. The landlord says Epstein’s small family dog was a prolific piss-monster; Epstein says the home was overrun with disgusting venomous arachnids from the bowels of hell.

The details come via a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on Friday, obtained by the Phoenix New Times. Landlords John and Mary Valentino, who are “based” in Pennsylvania, rented Epstein and his family their 3,595-square foot, million-dollar home in ritzy Paradise Valley for the duration of Cubs spring training in 2015. According to Epstein, soon after the family moved in they “discovered dog urine stains” throughout the house, but ultimately that problem was nothing compared to a nightmare infestation of Arizona bark scorpions, which posed an active threat to the safety of Epstein’s two young children and small dog. From the New Times:

[Epstein’s representative showed] Phoenix New Times a March 9, 2015, extermination report written by Ben Holland, an exterminator with the Phoenix-based Scorpion Sweepers.

Holland wrote that he found 45 Arizona bark scorpions on the property. Most of them appeared to live in five containers of wood and stone debris in the backyard, Holland wrote, adding that the scorpions in the area “lit up like a Christmas tree” when he shined a black light upon them.

“These scorpions have clearly been living here for a long time and there is an established adult and juvenile scorpion population,” Holland wrote to Epstein’s administrative assistant.


Do you want to see what a scorpion looks like with a blacklight on it? Probably not! Is that going to stop me from embedding this image in your brain, much the way disgusting scorpions embed their venomous tail stingers in your juicy eyeballs? Not on your life, buddy:

I hate this monster with all my heart.
I hate this monster with all my heart.
Photo: Uriel Sinai (Getty)

Epstein says he and his family were so horrified by the presence of these malevolent, demonic creatures that they got the hell out of the home a couple weeks ahead of the end of their short-term lease, and asked the Valentinos for a refund of their rent for the time they spent living elsewhere, as well as their $5,000 security deposit.

The Valentinos, for their part, say Epstein owes them a whopping $51,405 for damages done to the home during the family’s two-month stay. Some of this stuff seems like shady landlord-looking-to-make-a-buck-on-trumped-up-damages type baloney—“drywall holes, broken cabinet handles, a torn shower curtain, a ripped grill cover,” and so forth. The rest of it puts those urine stains squarely on the Epsteins, and positions their itty-bitty dog as an all-time house-pisser:

“The Valentinos attempted to re-mediate the premises through major cleaning, power washing the patio and walls, having the carpet cleaned and treated, having the tile cleaned and treated, fumigating the premises, and replacing the air cleaners, and touching the paint,” the lawsuit says.

But the repair efforts did not eradicate urine that had “penetrated through the carpeting and pad to the slab,” as well as stains on the tile grout, leaving the Valentinos unable to re-let the house.


Hard as it may be to believe that a 10-pound rescue mutt could ruin a huge home in just two months of outlaw pissing, the lawsuit apparently cites comments Epstein himself made in 2016, when he responded to news that he’d been named Fortune’s top World Leader. Expressing his incredulity, Epstein told ESPN’s Buster Olney, “Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in the house.” J’accuse!