Yes, it continues.
For those of you who are not familiar with it, there has been a long-standing dispute between a group of tenants at Amar Plaza Apartments and their management company, Rampart Properties, Inc.
Amar Plaza is a low-cost housing co-op in La Puente that is federally regulated by HUD.
Over the past three years or so, tenants have alleged Rampart illegally kicked tenants out, stole money from the reserves, and engaged in other fraudulent activities. Rampart has won several court cases regarding the matters.
Yet still, complaints from tenants have prompted HUD to step in and ask that Rampart be terminated and a new management company hired. They’ll make their final decision in two weeks.
In the meantime, here’s the full story:
Housing officials pressure Amar complex
By Tania Chatila, Staff Writer
Article Launched: 07/18/2008 12:49:34 AM PDT
LA PUENTE – Federal housing officials might force an Amar Road apartment complex to replace its management company.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is expected to decide in two weeks the fate of Rampart Properties, Inc., which manages the low-income housing cooperative project known as Amar Plaza Apartments.
HUD regulates the 96-unit complex at 15640 E. Amar Road, which has been investigated in the past amid allegations Rampart illegally was evicting tenants.
Officials with Rampart have refuted the allegation and said they want to continue managing the complex.
“Our hard work over the past few years is evident in reduction of crime …. eviction of people involved with drugs and eviction of gang members,” Rampart President Frank Acevedo said.
In February, HUD sent a letter to Amar Plaza’s board of directors that stated Rampart was “no longer satisfactory to HUD and must be replaced.”
At that time, Rampart officials said that decision was in the appeals process.
But on May 23, Freddie Soto, a senior project manager for HUD, sent a second and final notice to the Amar Plaza board again calling for Rampart’s termination.
“The management deficiency remains open and unresolved,” Soto said in the letter.
Soto on Thursday declined to comment and referred questions to HUD spokesman Larry Bush.
“(The board) has made some proposals to address the issues we raised and beyond that it’s still in discussion,” Bush said. “Clearly our intent is a resolution that serves the interests of the tenants and the taxpayers.”
Bush would not discuss the issues being raised or the details of the proposal Amar’s board sent back to HUD.
Acevedo said the roughly 200-page proposal indicated the board is happy with Rampart’s management services. He said the complaints stem from a group of tenants that lied to HUD – claiming they were the board of directors – in order to get the agency’s help in terminating Rampart.
Yolanda Ponce, who lives in Amar Plaza, said she and three others were elected to the board in 2005. But Acevedo threw out several votes and violated the shareholders’ rights, Ponce said.
“He is not managing the right way,” Ponce said.
In HUD’s May letter, Soto addressed the internal dispute.
“Apparently, two factions within the ownership are claiming to be the `legitimate’ board of directors,” the letter said. “This issue is separate from the compliance issue we are requesting resolution in our letter.”
Acevedo said those compliance issues date back to 1996, when Rampart was not managing the complex.
“To go back to 1996,” Acevedo said, “and accuse of us of stuff that happened that far back isn’t fair.”
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