A roach- and mold-infested apartment complex in Kansas City, Kansas, is under new management after a judge appointed a receiver to run it.
The move came after government mortgage giant Fannie Mae moved to foreclose on the property, the 124-unit Crestwood Apartments at 57th Street and Parallel Parkway.
The landlord, a unit of T.E.H. Realty, did not show up for the court hearing Friday and a representative of the company hung up twice after a reporter called seeking comment.
Wilson Vance, a tenant activist with KC Tenants, a tenants rights organization, told KCUR Crestwood suffers from extreme neglect and mushrooms had been sprouting from its floors.
T.E.H., which was founded in Israel in 2006, operates in Kansas City, St. Louis and several other American cities. A St. Louis judge recently appointed a receiver for one of T.E.H.’s low-income apartment complexes in that city.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported in November that spot checks by one of its reporters indicated some properties owned by T.E.H. in St. Louis appear to have been abandoned by maintenance and office personnel.
Wyandotte County District Judge Constance Alvey on Friday appointed Trigild Inc. as the receiver for Crestwood, the same receiver appointed to run Springwood Apartments in St. Louis.
Vance said Crestwood was about 50% occupied as of a month ago. She said some tenants had stopped paying rent both because of the building’s wretched conditions and because they anticipated that T.E.H. would be ousted as the landlord.
One of Crestwood’s tenants, Athena Barrett, has moved to intervene in Fannie Mae’s foreclosure action. In a court filing, she said the “fundamental issue” underlying the case “is not simply a bad mortgage – it is a severe case of slumlording.”
One tenant’s apartment, she said, “was subject to such persistent flooding that mushrooms began growing within, the complex is generally infested by cockroaches, mice, and bedbugs, mold infests any number of apartments (with various tenants catching pneumonia and/or being hospitalized), and that management has frequently turned over and does not timely respond to repair requests, if at all.”
Fannie Mae’s foreclosure petition says T.E.H. borrowed nearly $3 million in May 2014, secured by Crestwood rental payments. It says T.E.H. defaulted on the loan and now owes approximately $2.5 million.
Dan Margolies is a senior reporter and editor at KCUR. You can reach him on Twitter @DanMargolies.