CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 WJZY) - A man introducing himself to tenants as an owner of Lake Arbor Apartments tried to avoid FOX 46's questions on his "slumlord" status after our series of investigations exposed the deplorable conditions tenants are living in.
Residents want to know why their living conditions are unlivable. Duke Energy shut one building down because of electrical issues and the post office isn't delivering mail because the mail boxes are too messed up.
There's raw sewage, water leaks, rats, and residents say mold is making them sick.
The City of Charlotte is stepping in to inspect every single unit on the property. The first round, 61 of nearly 300 apartments, were inspected Wednesday.
"We found violations in all 61 that we entered. Every unit and I would expect that that's the normal," said Ben Krise, head of Charlotte Code Enforcement.
Code Enforcement says violations might be common, but admits Lake Arbor Apartments is not fixing issues that have already been reported. Now Lake Arbor management is facing criminal charges.
Records show Robert Wolf, based in New York, is the owner of Lake Arbor Dean TIC, LLC. FOX 46 uncovered their license was revoked by the Secretary of State's Office in 2015. Despite that, the company is still signing leases and checks under that name.
The North Carolina Attorney General's Office tells FOX 46 it is launching a formal investigation into Lake Arbor Apartments.
"A little mysterious. Out of state owners that I've never met face-to-face."
Code Enforcement says there are multiple people involved in ownership of the apartment complex. Still, they say they've had no contact with any other residents.
FOX 46 attempted to find the owner at the apartments throughout the week, but security called police and tried to get our cameras thrown off the property for trespassing.
Police told FOX 46 that we are allowed at apartments we are invited to, but not at the leasing office.
While security was spending their time watching reporter David Sentendrey, they had no idea that FOX 46 photographer Brian Christiansen was camped out in the woods near the leasing office. He waited for several hours until the man, who's telling people he's an owner, came outside of his rental car.
That's when our cameras followed him five miles to a hotel in Uptown Charlotte in an effort to get answers for the tenants living in disgusting conditions.
Here is a transcript of that encounter:
David: "Excuse me, sir.
David: "My name is David Sentendrey. I'd like to talk to you about Lake Arbor Apartments."
Owner: "I have nothing. No comment, please."
David: "Well, we'd like to talk to you about these horrible living conditions that people..."
Owner: "No comment."
David: "Are you okay with how people are living? The city is inspecting. We demand some answers for these people. Your gas cap is open.
(Owner attempts to pull out of parking lot)
Brian: "He's going to get stuck right there, do you want to go for it again?
David: "Yes. Sir, we would like to talk to you about what's happening at these apartments. Are you okay with how people are living? These are the lives of adults, children. You're taking thousands of dollars for people to live in filth
(Owner does not respond)
David: "Are you a slumlord? We're going to keep trying to get answers and get results for Lake Arbor residents."