The recently hired managers of three apartment complexes on Riverside Parkway called a Thursday afternoon meeting of tenants to hear concerns and tell their side of the ongoing conflicts involving conditions at the apartments.
The meeting was also attended by Brent Farrell, a code enforcement supervisor, and Officers Conwell and Cole, community affairs officers with the Cobb County Police Department.
Prince Carter who is managing Kingsley Village and Hunters Grove, and Deandra Wilkerson, manager of Parkview, listened to the small group of residents who came to the meeting, and described their experiences since they took over management.
One resident from Parkview said that she had lived the apartment since September, and it really wasn’t ready to move into, but she took the apartment anyhow, because she was bringing her husband home from a nursing home where he had been in hospice, and needed an apartment immediately.
She said that because of a rotting frame, a window pane had fallen out.
“It took them awhile and they finally came in and put a pane in and just nailed the window back in but the whole frame of my window is rotten, the whole bottom part, all around the window frame, and when it rains it rains in my window,” she said.
Another Parkview tenant said that her closet door had never worked. A Kingsley Village resident complained of a non-working stove.
Wilkerson said she would send maintenance to look at the Parkview problems, and Carter said the same about the issues at his complexes.
Deborah Wynns, who lives in Kingsley Village, expressed her support for the new management.
She said, “I’ve been here five years, and they (Carter and Wilkerson) just got here. I’m trying to be patient … I see that they’re trying to do their best to accommodate everyone. Mind you that it’s three complexes. The people that were here before they came, didn’t do anything, so that’s why the property is pretty much like that. But you know, I see a big change, I do. You gotta give them a little time.”
The name of Monica Delancy, founder of the We Thrive in Riverside Renters Association, came up several times during the meeting.
Carter said that materials passed out by Monica Delancy, were causing a negative impact in the apartments. He said, “So you have someone that’s behind on their rent, and they don’t know where to go, how to come up with the money, and if you give them ammo … and they go to code enforcement to complain.”
Wynns said, “On Monica, she did have the best interests of the children, after school, Christmas time, Thanksgiving, she did do that. I can give her that. She did give to the community, but she was giving out false information to the people.”
Conwell said, “I know Monica very well, and I work with her, and she’s not giving out any false information. What she’s doing is (things) that will help people who are struggling with their rent, stuff like that.”
[Editor’s Note: I removed two short quotes from the originally posted article because taken out of context they needed further clarification and fact-checking]
Conwell said, “We’re working with a bunch of different folks. We had this conversation a couple of weeks ago. Monica Delancy, and her organization, it may seem like she’s trying to attack everybody from one angle, (but) she’s got the best interest of residents in mind., just like y’all do, just like the managers do, just like the other residents do. We’re all working on the same issues, we’re coming at it from different angles.”
The nuisance abatement program
Conwell said that the code enforcement issues had almost nothing to do with the reason the properties were put under nuisance abatement, which he said was because of crime that was occurring.
“There are several different kinds of abatement,” he said. “The type of abatement that these three properties are under is called the public safety nuisance abatement program. So there are five types of crime that have to occur for a property to qualify for that. Those are prostitution or human trafficking, illegal gambling, underage or illegal alcohol sales, and type of weapons offense, and any type of drug sales.”
“So out of those five,” he said, “you have to have three qualifying crimes for the problem to be able to qualify for the nuisance abatement program.”
He said that when police pulled the statistics for the three properties forty instances of the crimes necessary to put the property under nuisance abatement had occurred.
He said that when police contacted the owners, they voluntarily entered the abatement process, and it started two weeks ago.
“So with us that means that there are certain things that the owners must do in order to improve the overall safety of the complex. Part of that is hiring security, part of that is putting the camera systems, part of that is making sure that the lights are working, the outside lights in the breezeways. ”
“And y’all are absolutely right. Prince and Ms. Wilkerson, they’re new to the property, they’ve been here for two months. It didn’t get like this overnight, and it’s not going to change overnight. That’s why we work so closely with them, to try to get everything squared away.”
“That being said, they’re under this process, and we have to go very strictly by that process. We can’t be giving breaks, because in the end, if things don’t get turned around, that’s on us.”
Wynns asked that the managers be given time to turn things around.
Conwell said yes, the abatement process is a year long. “The abatement process is not to punish the residents, it’s not to punish the managers, It’s really not to punish anybody. It’s to make sure that everybody’s helping as much as they can.”
Cole said that management gets blamed for things that happened before they took over the position, and that it’s part of the job.
Wilkerson said that her current maintenance workers were taking care of work orders as they come in. She said that she and Carter were driving around the properties several times a day, and were taking pictures, “so that we can say we’ve done our job for today.”
“As far as our security team, I think they have done an amazing job, because of our threats, for the leasing office … we were told that our office was going to be shot up, And they have been here on a day-to-day basis, even after hours,” she said.
She said that the complex was working with code enforcement, that gutters were scheduled for replacement on Friday and Saturday, and that cameras and tag readers would be installed.
The three complexes, Kingsley Village, Hunters Grove, and Parkview Apartments, are owned by the same Canadian-based company. The current owners bought the property in 2015.
The complexes have been issued a set of over 80 code violations due to be heard in Cobb County magistrate court this Thursday morning, March 7.
Peter Mazucchin, one of the owners, told the Courier in a series of phone conversations that the conditions at the apartment were due to mismanagement by a person formerly in charge of managing the properties.