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4/22/2019 5:32:20 PM
Posted: 1/3/2004 1:12:01 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2004 1:12:27 AM EDT by AZ-K9]

S.F. man is homeless -- by choice
He has a trust fund but prefers life on the street, off the wagon
Kevin Fagan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Friday, January 2, 2004
©2004 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

sfgate.com/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/01/02/BAG2K42A441.DTL

For years, there have been rumors among the homeless downtown that a drifter in North Beach was sleeping in the gutter while he had all the money he needed in the bank.

It's true. That drifter is 68-year-old Lou Dinarde.

Dinarde is homeless, he often sleeps in the gutter or on the sidewalk, and he has plenty of cash -- a trust fund that at one point was worth nearly $700,000. He draws $2,500 a month from the fund plus $500 a month in Social Security.

Dinarde's had this money rolling in since 1992, when his mother died and her assets were sold to create the trust.

Trouble is, he can't resist the bottle. He abandoned his career as a carpenter three decades ago for life on the streets.

"I'm rich, but I like it out here. I ain't sleeping inside," Dinarde mumbled through sips of vodka last summer, as he sat with legs splayed in front of St. Francis of Assisi Church. "You can't make me."

Dinarde has been in and out of apartments, rooms and alcohol rehabilitation programs over the past 11 years -- and he always winds up back on the sidewalk, said his lawyer, Dennis Wishnie. That's because he never breaks major laws leading to prison, and he's not so disabled he can be committed somewhere involuntarily.

"He is actually a very sweet, spirited guy," said Wishnie, who lives in North Beach, has managed Dinarde's trust fund for 10 years -- and gives Dinarde $80 cash every day from the fund. "He's bright, but he is homeless by choice.

"I've gotten him into housing over a dozen times, but it never worked. He just walks away, leaving the key in the door. He's basically the only homeless guy I ever heard of who has assets.

"He's like a unicorn -- a magical figure."

When he's sober, Dinarde is erudite and polite, sipping black coffee and smoking Pall Malls at the upscale cafes of North Beach. Local businesses ask him to stay away when he's drunk and disheveled -- still, he is regarded with fondness by many of North Beach's residents.

"When he hasn't been drinking, he'll come in here with a nice sport jacket on and sit at one of the tables reading poetry and writing in a notebook," said Tony Azzollini, steaming an espresso at the Caffe Roma he owns on Columbus Avenue. "I tell him, 'Lou, you have more money than I do! Why don't you live inside?'

"He just laughs. Then a day or two later, we see him on Union Street, drunk and out cold." Azzollini shook his head sadly. "It's that alcohol. It's such a bad disease."

Dinarde, a stout fellow with bushy gray eyebrows and beard, was raised in Connecticut and wandered to San Francisco 30 years ago after ditching a carpentry career. He wanted to be a poet, so he went to North Beach, which he heard was a hangout for writers. He's been homeless there ever since, except for the occasional stay inside -- most notably at a small North Beach flat he had for a few months, 10 years ago, with his late wife, Kate.

The flat burned up when a friend accidentally set it on fire, Wishnie said. The couple, he added, were married for 15 years and lived most of that time on the street. Kate, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic, died of a bacterial infection five years ago, and Dinarde still mourns her "as if she just passed yesterday," Wishnie said.

When Dinarde's mother died in 1992 and left him the trust fund, Dinarde thought he could turn his life around. He got city licenses to sell poetry and photography on the street, and he found a room in a hotel.

But he couldn't let go of the liquor.

"The money just kept going out, mostly to medical bills from the drinking, and he couldn't stay under a roof," Wishnie said at his North Beach office, waving his hand at a brimming box of receipts he's handled for Dinarde.

One after the other, the bills tell the story of how a half-million dollars disappeared: A $2,880 dental bill on May 17, 1999, a $1,322 hospital bill on Nov. 13, 1998, a $1,770 hospital bill on Dec. 2, 2000.

The biggest bill: A $146,145.78 check made out to San Francisco General Hospital on Nov. 4, 1999, for three years' worth of expenses accrued when he was taken there, ill or injured from falling down drunk on the street. Wishnie's fee for administering the fund is about $1,500 a year.

Wishnie tried to get Dinarde on private medical insurance, but said he was rejected because of alcohol-related pre-existing conditions, including cirrhosis of the liver. Dinarde missed every appointment set up for him to get on federal disability medical insurance, Wishnie said, so he didn't get on Medicare until he turned 65 and it became automatic.

By then, the economic damage was deep. The trust fund, worth $676,000 in 1992, is now worth $145,000.

"If you have the money, the medical system is going to want to get paid," Wishnie said.

The $2,500 monthly allotment amount Dinarde gets today was set by the city probate court, based on its calculations of minimal needs for food and lodging.

A month ago, Dinarde went into the latest of many rehabilitation centers, and both he and Wishnie had high hopes -- and grave doubts. Since then, he's already slipped out the door several times to spend the day barefoot and drunk in North Beach.

"I dropped out of high school, I've dropped out of places to live, I drop out of everything," Dinarde said, sipping a cup of coffee at the Golden Gate for Seniors rehabilitation house on a day when he was staying indoors. "I'm really a poet. I'd like to have a studio to write in, but I love the outside."

Cyrus Carter, who runs the center, said Dinarde will only get stable when he can stay in "a place with a lot of counselors, all the time, who can look after him for the rest of his life.

"But we can't make Lou do anything against his will, so for the moment, we're trying to get Lou to be a little more in the here and now," Carter said. "He lives in the past a bit. It's hard for him."

Dinarde went outside and sat on the steps. He tipped back his head and closed his eyes, soaking in the afternoon sun.

He had been working on new poetry, but he wasn't ready to share it.

"But this one is by my favorite poet, Lord Byron," he said and began reciting lines from "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage" solemnly, carefully forming the words through a mouth that has no teeth.

"I have not loved the world, nor the world me. ...

"I stood among them, but not of them,

"In a shroud of thoughts which were not their thoughts."

E-mail Kevin Fagan at kfagan@sfchronicle.com.


What a dumbass.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:16:07 AM EDT
And to think some of us work to pay our bills...
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:16:24 AM EDT
"He's like a unicorn -- a magical figure."
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Ugh. These liberal assholes worship morons like this.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:29:23 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Gunbert:
"He's like a unicorn -- a magical figure."
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Ugh. These liberal assholes worship morons like this.
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aint that the shit! you can tell by the writing
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:31:00 AM EDT
Alcohol can be pretty damn scary, can't it?
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 2:04:31 AM EDT
Anyone up for a strike mission to SF to catch a unicorn?
Originally Posted By raven: Alcohol can be pretty damn scary, can't it?
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Link Posted: 1/3/2004 2:10:04 AM EDT
Like that guy in "Barfly," sans the creative genius.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 2:52:33 AM EDT
WHAT THE FUCK? well shit if he doesnt want his money I'll sure as shit take it.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 3:53:48 AM EDT
Originally Posted By mattja: Like that guy in "Barfly," sans the creative genius.
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[size=6]Drinks for all my friends!!![/size=6]
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 4:26:36 AM EDT
Wow.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 4:26:46 AM EDT
Christ allmighty! Give me 700k and I'll really show you how to be a drunk poet. This clown seems like a real pompous asshole. -HS
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 5:07:17 AM EDT
There are plenty of drunken homeless morons out there. At least this one isn't costing us any tax money (yet).
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 5:56:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By AvengeR15: There are plenty of drunken homeless morons out there. At least this one isn't costing us any tax money (yet).
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Amen. (so far)
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 6:12:38 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2004 6:13:38 AM EDT by Johnny_Reno]
Originally Posted By AvengeR15: There are plenty of drunken homeless morons out there. At least this one isn't costing us any tax money (yet).
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From the above article:
Trouble is, he can't resist the bottle. He abandoned his career as a carpenter three decades ago for life on the streets.
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Dinarde is homeless, he often sleeps in the gutter or on the sidewalk, and he has plenty of cash -- a trust fund that at one point was worth nearly $700,000. [red]He draws $2,500 a month from the fund plus $500 a month in Social Security.[/red]
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Actually, he does draw our tax money from the government. How does one draw %500 monthly when you haven't worked in three decades?
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 6:21:53 AM EDT
how can he draw SSI with all that cash in his account? i'm familiar with some of the rules for SSI and they keep track of how much you have..if you have too much (i believe 1k or more) your monthly check gets deducted. what an idiot. once the press starts circulating this around some real bums are going to murder his ass. i'm not saying that's what should happen, but i don't see how that couldn't happen.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 6:26:23 AM EDT
Why is this guy drawing social security? This is not right at all, when there are people who have worked, and worked hard all their livesonly to get shit on by social security daily
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 8:59:53 AM EDT
Originally Posted By raven: Alcohol can be pretty damn scary, can't it?
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Yes but we must continue the battle agianst Pot.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 9:03:32 AM EDT
At least he's not smoking that devil weed... Let's be glad he picked something safe like alcohol.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 9:11:41 AM EDT
Originally Posted By KA3B: Anyone up for a strike mission to SF to catch a unicorn?
Originally Posted By raven: Alcohol can be pretty damn scary, can't it?
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[lolabove] [rofl2] This guy won't be a story in a few years at the rate he is wiping out that trust fund. He will then just be another homeless drunk with no money.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 9:15:33 AM EDT
If Old Dirty Bastard (ODB) can collect welfare while he makes millions singing rap music, this wealthy drunken bum outta be able to get a little Social Security money on the side.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 9:16:03 AM EDT
that's incredible
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 10:18:14 AM EDT
Originally Posted By HighStrung1: If Old Dirty Bastard (ODB) can collect welfare while he makes millions singing rap music, this wealthy drunken bum outta be able to get a little Social Security money on the side.
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Huh?? 'splain pleae???
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 11:03:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2004 11:03:54 AM EDT by FLGreg]
What gets me is that he has a trust fund worth nearly $700,000 yet the .gov still sends $500 a month in Social Security. I know he probably earned it while he was still a productive member of society as a carpenter but he doesn't NEED it - does he? These stories surface every once in a while. There this homeless guy in Lansing, MI about 15 years ago. Every morning he would go into this coffee shop and buy a fried egg sandwich for breakfast and a grilled-cheese sandwich for lunch. He'd wrap it all up and go about his business. One day they found him dead on the streets. In his shopping cart was a meticulously kept accounting ledger with a balance close to a million dollars.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 12:02:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By inferno715: how can he draw SSI with all that cash in his account? i'm familiar with some of the rules for SSI and they keep track of how much you have..if you have too much (i believe 1k or more) your monthly check gets deducted. what an idiot. once the press starts circulating this around some real bums are going to murder his ass. i'm not saying that's what should happen, but i don't see how that couldn't happen.
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Sorry, but you're completely in error. Money alredy in you possession, and the interest therefrom, has never been a part of the income limits on Social Security. Only money earned from an ongoing job or business was counted. However, as of three years ago, ALL income limitations on recipients 65 or older were removed. This man could have a business that earned him a million a week, and he'd still get his Social Security money every mont. Recipients from 62-65 are still under income limits for any earnings over about $13,000 a year. You lose $1 for every $2 of earned income above that amount. The zero sum hits at about $30K. I went on at age 62, and will turn 65 this year. Kept working part time for the first year and a half, so only lost about a month and a halfs worth of benefits. In 2003 I was unemployed for half the year, and unemployment benefits don't count against SS payments. I'll lose about another month and a half from what I made the last 6 months. With what my wife and 6 year old son also get, as co beneficiaries on my account, and the bucks I make at my full time current job now, we have a nice middle class income. So thanks to all you young guys whose hard work and SS deductions are helping me maintain a nice middle class lifestyle up here in North Georgia, where you can actually still buy a nice house for under 150K, and local taxes don't break your butt.[:D] Sure, I'm still having to work where a lot of folks are sitting on their butts at my age; but it's work I love; and I hate sitting on my butt. Just makes me fat[:D]
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 12:37:30 PM EDT
He is doing EXACTLY what he wants to do. Why do you care? He is not a drain on the welfare system and does not require handouts and has plenty of money. You people amaze me. Let the man be. Fuckin hypocrites!
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 12:39:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By FLGreg: What gets me is that he has a trust fund worth nearly $700,000 yet the .gov still sends $500 a month in Social Security. I know he probably earned it while he was still a productive member of society as a carpenter [red]but he doesn't NEED it[/red] - does he?
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Who gives a FUCK, its HIS money he earned it. Are you one of those kooks who supports wealth distribution?
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 12:45:14 PM EDT
and gives Dinarde $80 cash every day from the fund.
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this bum blows $80 a day on booze??? he needs to start buying some cheaper stuff.
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:24:09 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RipMeyer:
Originally Posted By FLGreg: What gets me is that he has a trust fund worth nearly $700,000 yet the .gov still sends $500 a month in Social Security. I know he probably earned it while he was still a productive member of society as a carpenter [red]but he doesn't NEED it[/red] - does he?
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Who gives a FUCK, its HIS money he earned it. Are you one of those kooks who supports wealth distribution?
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I guess I have to go with Rip on this one. The guys 68 so entitled to draw his social security HE paid in. It's not your money he's drawing, it's his. He's paying his bills which is more than I can say about most people. You want to go kick someones ass for abusing the system, IM me and I will give you my ex-sister inlaws name and address. The bitch hasn't worked a day in her life, lives in a three bedroom all utility paid welfare apartment, and now collects SSI and has medicare just cause she paid a doctor to tell them she's mental. Disclaimer, if being a BITCH makes you mental then she's mental otherwise NOPE. Why do I care how this guy lives. It's not my money. Tj
Link Posted: 1/3/2004 1:49:45 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 1/3/2004 2:00:31 PM EDT by tommytrauma]
Originally Posted By shamayim:
Originally Posted By inferno715: how can he draw SSI with all that cash in his account? i'm familiar with some of the rules for SSI and they keep track of how much you have..if you have too much (i believe 1k or more) your monthly check gets deducted. what an idiot. once the press starts circulating this around some real bums are going to murder his ass. i'm not saying that's what should happen, but i don't see how that couldn't happen.
View Quote
Sorry, but you're completely in error. [red]Money alredy in you possession, and the interest therefrom, has never been a part of the income limits on Social Security. Only money earned from an ongoing job or business was counted.[/red] However, as of three years ago, ALL income limitations on recipients 65 or older were removed. This man could have a business that earned him a million a week, and he'd still get his Social Security money every mont. Recipients from 62-65 are still under income limits for any earnings over about $13,000 a year. You lose $1 for every $2 of earned income above that amount. The zero sum hits at about $30K. I went on at age 62, and will turn 65 this year. Kept working part time for the first year and a half, so only lost about a month and a halfs worth of benefits. In 2003 I was unemployed for half the year, and unemployment benefits don't count against SS payments. I'll lose about another month and a half from what I made the last 6 months. With what my wife and 6 year old son also get, as co beneficiaries on my account, and the bucks I make at my full time current job now, we have a nice middle class income. So thanks to all you young guys whose hard work and SS deductions are helping me maintain a nice middle class lifestyle up here in North Georgia, where you can actually still buy a nice house for under 150K, and local taxes don't break your butt.[:D] Sure, I'm still having to work where a lot of folks are sitting on their butts at my age; but it's work I love; and I hate sitting on my butt. Just makes me fat[:D]
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Guys, there are two types of Social Security disability benefits, Title 2 (SSDI) and Title 16 (SSI) Title 2 is basically an insurance plan, for which you are entitled if you have paid enough into the system over the last 40 work quarters (or the last 40 work quarters prior to the established onset of disability). Your existing assets have no effect on eligibility. Title 16 is a needs based program, and assets and resources over 3 grand (excluding home and car)disqualify you. A big windfall can indeed cause these benefits to be ceased. Incarceration also results in cessation of these benefits. All this is moot in this case though, as the BIQ (bum in question) is drawing retirement, not disability. If he paid in enough to qualify, he deserves it. (Caviat; for every regulation governing social security, there is always a 'except', with exceptions to the exceptions. The goverment no longer prints the rules governing SSA on paper, instead providing it in disc due to the sheer size and astounding volune of revisions received weekly.) [b]Tom Jefferson[/b] If you think your SIL is fraudently receiving benefits, feel free to IM me with her name, DOB and preferably her SS#. I can at least trip a continuing disability review.
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