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County files suit against apartment complex owner

Published: Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

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MORRIS – Grundy County has filed a lawsuit against a local apartment complex owner, alleging that the conditions of the residences are dangerous to tenants.

The Grundy County State’s Attorney’s Office filed Tuesday the complaint against Robert A. Smith, owner of Tudor Park Apartments, on and around Mabel Court.

The state’s attorney’s office had an inspector review the apartments, Assistant State’s Attorney Perry Rudman said.

“It contains serious violations of the existing ordinance and minimal standards of sanitation, and that is of great concern,” he said.

The complaint filed Tuesday is specific on the problems with the apartments, and on which apartments are having the issues.

The dangerous living environments include a common hallway that was below 50 degrees at times during the recent freezing temperatures, an apartment without heat for four days, another apartment without running water for days, furnace and stove issues, water leaks causing holes in walls and mold, multiple units invested with cockroaches and other heat issues, according to the complaint.

Asked about these specific problems, Smith said he would have to look up his maintenance requests to see if they match these concerns.

The county is asking the court for a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction, requiring Smith to make repairs to bring the proprieties in compliance with the county’s ordinances.

Smith said as of Thursday afternoon he had not seen the recent complaint, but that he has had interactions with the county previously. In the past, he claims the county has not been specific with the issues.

“I wrote them a letter in October to tell me what the problem is, give me a reasonable amount of time to fix it, and they are not doing that and now apparently I have a court case,” he said.

Smith said he has multiple complexes and every tenant has his phone number to reach him if they have problems. When they call, he said he has his maintenance staff get to the problem right away.

“Unfortunately, in this case, I am being bypassed,” Smith said.

The court filings state Smith has been warned previously by letter, phone calls and with inspections by the Grundy County Land Use Office. It states Smith has “refused” to do the necessary acts to make the apartments comply with county codes.

If Smith does not fix the issues, the county wants the court to appoint a receiver to take possession of the premise and bring the properties up to code, and the ability to impose a lien on the property for any expenses the county undertakes doing so.

A court date has not been set.

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