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Richmond apartment complex barely passes inspection amid violations

RICHMOND, Va. – The same management company responsible for the currently under fire Essex Village Apartment complex in Henrico also manages a second Section 8 housing complex, in Richmond.

A CBS 6 investigation uncovered that PK Management has been cited by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for several health and safety infractions at their Woodland Crossing complex, located off Walmsley Blvd. in South Richmond.

Woodland Crossing is much smaller than Essex Village, with 132 rental units to the 496 units at Essex.

Roaches in an apartment at Woodland Crossing

Residents cite issues with roaches, mold, and lack of responsive maintenance.

LeAnn Brown pulled out court papers showing that the father of her daughter filed a custody order based on the apartment conditions – and only then were some of the problems fixed. 

"This is a court paper, a motion stating my child's father wants to get custody of my daughter because he feels the mother is living in an apartment that has mold and roach infested and daughter getting different skin and breathing problems," Brown said.

Brown's neighbor, Chrystal Miller, is also frustrated after years of what she called unresponsive maintenance.

She poked at a soft hole in the wall, that she said was from the water leak.

"No, I've put in work orders after work orders," Miller said. "I'm just waiting for the ceiling to fall in.”

Miller did not have copies of those work orders on hand, but she did have a detailed journal that chronicled the problems she reported to management over the years and their response.

Chrystal Miller points out the hole in the wall she says has been there for years.

"I don't really think they care,” Brown said. “They just look at it like a government check they're getting from us," Brown said.

PK Management receives nearly $5.4 million annually to subsidize the rent of residents at Essex Village, and more than $1.4 million annually to subsidize the rent of residents at Woodland Crossing, according to numbers provided by HUD.

In the most recent inspection report for Woodland Crossing from HUD, conducted in October 2016, the complex received a score of "66b" out of 100, which is considered "successful." The score is just six points away from failing.

The report detailed several examples of "Health and Safety Deficiencies," which included broken entry doors that won't lock, insect and roach infestations, missing pressure relief valves on water heaters, an inoperable electrical system, and mold and/or mildew in several units.

Ceiling in Miller's apartment.

In January, HUD awarded Essex Village a score of "46c," which is considered "unsuccessful."

Greg Pearlman, who is based out of California, is the owner of PK Management. He referred a CBS 6 reporter to the company's president in Ohio.

Jenee McClain-Bankhead declined a Skype interview, but said the same senior living manager who Pearlman previously blamed for the issues at Essex Village oversaw Woodland Crossing too, and that he "dropped the ball."

Black substance growing on the wall at Essex Village

That employee has since been terminated, she said.

McClain-Bankhead also said most of the issues are deferred maintenance related, and they are rigorously addressing those problems by bringing in third party contractors and additional staff.

After the most recent incident at Essex Village, Congressman Donald McEachin sent a letter to the Secretary of HUD, Ben Carson, asking him for immediate answers.

“It is totally unacceptable for residents in a HUD-subsidized complex to endure unsafe and unhealthy living conditions. It is HUD’s responsibility to ensure all residents have an acceptable quality of life,” he wrote.

Henrico County Manager John Vithoulkas created a task force last year to improve the quality of life at Essex Village. The county building inspectors have opened 140 code violation cases at Essex Village.