Monday, March 1, 2010

The "Con" in Connolly : Compromising a Tenant's Health and Safety

Last week, I was contacted by a longtime tenant at the Pingry Arms apartment building, one of Plainfield’s Connolly-owned properties, about the horrible living conditions of his apartment and the resultant stress. He writes: “my home and my nerves are being ruined and I can't even sleep. There is no emergency response from Connolly Properties. My home smells bad and my floors are wet and buckled.”

After receiving this complaint, I immediately contacted City Administrator Bibi Taylor by email with a copy to the Mayor. My goal was to get the city's Inspections and Health departments involved, since the situation, in my mind, was about the health and safety of this tenant. The city responded immediately and is continuing its efforts to have the situation addressed.

However, I continued to receive emails from this tenant over the weekend about the worsening conditions in his apartment and in the building. So, I decided to visit the Pingry Arms in person, at the tenant's invitation, to survey the damage for myself; I was shocked at what I saw.

Paint was peeling from walls and ceilings, ceilings were buckling under the weight of saturation, the floor tiles were buckling from the “mini-ponds” of water that pooled beneath, the walls and carpets were saturated with water and stained as if they were exposed to the elements, and I saw a roof that is in urgent need of repair. The conditions that exist in this building cry out for immediate and urgent attention.

As long as people are forced to live in such deplorable conditions, they are being conned by an apparently unscrupulous landlord; as long as unscrupulous landlords continue to put pressure on tenants to move from floor to floor in an effort to avoid or postpone needed repairs, the tenants are being conned; if the city does not put the full force of its inspections division and our court system to work to compel Connolly Properties to comply with the city's building maintenance codes, in the interest of public health and safety, the tenants are being conned; if the courts refuse to impose the maximum penalties upon Connolly Properties, which should include incarceration until all repairs are done professionally and satisfactorily, the tenants would be forever conned.

Anytime a tenant is forced to live in the deplorable conditions that I witnessed at the Pingry Arms apartment building, with ceilings falling, floors buckling, and water gushing under one’s feet, the health and safety of that individual has been compromised.

As the city moves forward on this issue, I also encourage all tenants in the affected apartments to use the law to their advantage in filing suit against Connolly Properties to remedy this deplorable situation.

I have included a photo of the ceiling damage in the interior of the tenant’s home; you, too, will be outraged by this appalling image.




Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, I have no sympathy for the tenants. They voted for the mayor, or worse did not vote at all. They got what they wanted, an unresponsive mayor who only acts when pushed into a corner.

Maybe they'll learn their lesson and start becoming more active.

active citizen said...

Being the tenant in question, I want to thank Councilman Mapp for giving part of his Sunday to see my situation. I do not want to move from my home, but have the poor drainage on the roof repaired. It's nice to know that there are people in Plainfield like Councilman Mapp who do care about what happens to others. Mr. Connolly apparently doesn't or I wouldn't be asked to move or have my situation ignored for over a week.

Alan Goldstein said...

These problems didn't happen overnight, and Connolly has been in the news for stuff like this for quite some time. How is it the Administration is just getting to it now?

I don't know the laws that apply in such a situation, but morally, and in the interest of public safety, why can't the City seize the property, have the repairs made, and sell it to recoup our expenses and any taxes due?

It seems both Connolly and the mortgage holder should be the ones to suffer any losses on this ragtag deal. Will we wait until a ceiling or floor collapses perhaps killing someone, or a tenant comes down with some mold-induced lung disease?

Anonymous said...

it only leaks when it rains or snow melts

Anonymous said...

I live in Plainfield. I am sending this to everyone and anyone who could possibly assist us with this problem.
Our City Council voted against the Plainfield Recreation Department to start a youth baseball league. Dave Wynn, the head of the division of recreation, openly went against the City Council and started one anyway. He has 60 children enrolled, whereas Queen City Basball League (a youth baseball league already in operation in the city) has 200 children enrolled. Dave Wynn has "reserved" ALL the baseball fields in Plainfield with no intentions of "sharing" the facilities with the children who happen to be enrolled in the Queen City Baseball League. Really, how can 60 children utilize all the fields in Plainfield Monday thru Friday?
I have to ask why is this allowed? What is the point of having a city council if their decisions are totally disregarded by the "head guy" in the recreation department? We have asked the Mayor for assistance, but from my understanding she has turned her back on the children of Plainfield so that she can maintain her friendship with Dave Wynn.
I am asking ANYONE to help us. Our children want to play baseball. The pettiness of the adults involved are sickening.