Columbus leaders announced the largest public nuisance lawsuit in the city’s history today, naming three large multi-building apartment complexes with 802 units owned by one realty group.
Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein says one complex, the Mayfair Village Apartments on East Broad Street near Whitehall, had a multitude of health, sanitation and safety violation. In June, the city began fining the company $1,000 a day.
“Those fines have now racked up over $75,000, so this really is a last resort," Klein says.
Klein says the city started working with the property management group AMG in early 2017, but they failed to fully comply.
“There’s a litany of things: extensive water damage, inoperable furnaces, damaged walls and ceilings, a ceiling actually collapsed on an individual, someone fell through a steps, mold, drains, lighting fixtures with exposed wires that are live wires that someone could get electrocuted, roach infestations, rodent infestations," Klein says.
But Klein says there’s no immediate danger for tenants.
“We are not looking to shut them down and relocate 802 units, because there’s no immediate threat," he says. "What we are looking to do is use the court process to compel this individual to fix these properties immediately.”
While the City Attorney's office has gone after, and closed, apartment complexes as recently as last month, Klein says this case is different - it’s about quality of life, instead of crime.
“Shutting down places, most of the time, it’s in conjunction with police," Klein says. "It’s about violence, it’s about drugs, it’s about gangs. This time, it’s about poor quality of life.”
The lawsuit also involves AMG's Hartford on the Lake comlpex near Noe-Bixby Park, and the Fitzroy Apartments just off Morse Road.
The lawsuit is filed in Franklin County Environmental Court.