Dog feces fight is final straw for some tenants

Posted on: 6:42 pm, April 20, 2012, by and , updated on: 08:01am, April 21, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) -  Some tenants said they are moving out after a double murder at their apartment building in Richmond this week.

“All of this would’ve been diffused had they just done what they were suppose to do as far as fixing up this building,” said Maria Sanchez. “To me, they’re all about money.”

Sanchez said a lack of security at the Tobacco Factory apartments is a constant concern. [READ MORE: Richmond man appears in court after alleged feud over feces]

“And you can also see the front doors are unlocked and the fobs to get inside don’t work,” said Sanchez. “What if the bullets would’ve hit an innocent child through one these walls, or just somebody walking in.”

Sanchez took CBS 6 News’ Sandra Jones inside the building Friday. Sanchez pointed out holes in the floor of some hallways, windows sealed shut and water damage on some ceilings and walls.

James Minor, who calls the owners of the building “slumlords,” said he moved out after he claims maintenance workers broke into his unit and stole $6,000 worth of electronic equipment.

Minor said he started a petition drive to get security cameras in the building, but that nothing was ever done.

CBS 6 News tried to reach the property manager and owner at the rental office about the problems at the apartments, but staff said they had no comment.

Sanchez said she plans to take the owners to court because she  wants her money back.

The City Assessor’s office said former Real Estate Developer Justin French has ties to the apartment building.  His company was involved in renovating the four-story building that was a Tobacco warehouse.

French, who used historic tax credits to renovate the building, is currently serving a 16-year sentence for a massive tax credit fraud.

Additionally, Richmond City Council’s Ellen Robertson said she is contacting the owner and the city’s Code Enforcement to tour the building.

Richmond police said they plan to step up patrols in the area.

Meanwhile, a group of former and current tenants, along with some community leaders, will hold a rally outside the building on Monday at 6 p.m. The group plans to protest what they call squalid conditions and ask the city to shut the building down.

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