...Lorraine Ahearn, told the story of a Saint James resident that fell when a step gave way on September 25, 2005.
What followed was a press conference given by the man who manages Saint James, Melvin "Skip" Alston. Guilford County Commissioner and NAACP Official, Melvin Alston, is listed as the management agent for Saint James in the HUD inspection summary.
Melvin spoke to almost every Greensboro media outlet defending his position as a good landlord.
He was quoted in the Rhino Times saying, "I do not need any extra prodding to take care of Saint James residents." In the News and Record he was reported saying, "I am absolutely not a slumlord. I got into this business 23 years ago because of slumlords."
...After reviewing the HUD document detailing the June 2005 [Saint James] inspection, it appears that there was problems reported with the steps at the following buildings: 1238, 1229, 1230, 1232, 1234. These violation are listed with the severity of 2. Level 1 is the worst and requires immediate attention while level 2 is defined as a serious deficiency. Level 3 is defined as a less serious deficiency.
The summary page of the HUD reported 9 out of the 11 buildings inspected had building exit violations.
In June 2005, HUD reported that 82% of Saint James had problems with building exits. In September 2005, Ms. Poteat was injured when a step fell. Ms. Poteat as well as three people that stood under the stairway were treated for injuries.
October 20, 2005 Melvin Alston hired an engineer to inspect the steps after the city threatened to vacate several units.
At the last RUCO meeting, Saint James steps caused the board to not issue any certificate of occupancies for the units surrounding faulty steps. However, they are still available for rent?
What happened after HUD noted problems four months earlier?
The Troublemaker, March 04, 2006
"Big names are the biggest violators
I’m not going to get overly worked up about Greensboro’s top 10 housing code violators who saw their names pasted on the front page of today’s N&R.
...County Commissioner Skip Alston debuts at #3. He’d better get his houses in order lest someone brand him a slumlord who preys on the disadvantaged before the next election.
Len White, a managing partner of the Greensboro Grasshoppers, has his name attached to the #2 spot. It might be wise of him to consider spending a couple of thousand dollars correcting some code violations on his rental properties before he and his investment group ups their $1.7M offer (N&R) for county property that is situated across the street from his ‘Hopper’s baseball stadium.
No big surprise at #1: the vile and notorious Bill Agapion. My suggestion to him is that he ought to stop blaming the city for everything and get busy fixing or selling his property to avoid going to hell. I have a very low opinion of that man."
Hoggard's Blog, September 28, 2006
"Bad Landlords Get Only A Little Better
Last September, the Greensboro Housing Coalition released a list of landlords who had racked up the most code violations at their properties. They were:
Agapion family: 63
Shannon Enterprises: 51
Skip Alston: 15
Bediz family: 13
Abadallah Abu Hashem: 12
Paul Norman: 11
W. B. Wall heirs: 11
Maxine Jennings: 8
North Carolina Premier Properties: 6
Eugene Burkhart: 6
...Unfortunately, property rights protection that are built into both city ordinances and state law give clever and unscrupulous landlords lots of loopholes to evade enforcement.
I have seen this legal cat-and-mouse between inspections staff and bad landlords played out many times, and it's infuriating.
But the cures often turn out to be as bad as the disease.
Heavier fines? You'll end up penalizing decent landlords who've been victimized by irresponsible tenants, and they'll come complaining to council. In fact they've formed an organization to do just that."
A Little Urbanity, Tuesday, March 6, 2007