Dear HUD Inspector General:
My name is Anne C Woodlen and I live at McCarthy Manor, 501 S. Crouse Ave., Syracuse, N.Y. 13210. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org I am 68 years old and multiply disabled. McCarthy Manor is owned by Related Companies (http://www.related.com/our-company ) and is a HUD-subsidized property for people over 65 or disabled.
We have 183 tenants in an eight-story building and we only have one elevator. The second elevator broke down on February 2 and has not been repaired. About fifty of the tenants are in wheelchairs and about another 25 use walkers. You only can get two wheelchairs in the elevator at a time.
The reason the second elevator has not been repaired is because the owner, Related, and the elevator company, Schindler, can’t agree on who’s going to pay for it.
Related bought the property around 2007, got a $1.5 million grant, and rehabbed the place, including the elevators. February 2, 2015, there was a major breakdown that took one elevator out of service. Now Schindler says Related has to pay and Related says Schindler has to pay and they will not fix the elevator for the tenants.
Meanwhile, 183 people, 50 in wheelchairs, 25 with walkers, and a couple of dozen with dogs all have to squeeze in one elevator. There are times when the line waiting for the elevator goes across the lobby, out the door, and down the sidewalk. Everybody is fighting with everybody else. The dogs are biting each other. Tenants are taking each other to court. The landlords are ordering us into mediation. The problem is that we are not being served as we are supposed to be.
I, personally, have talked to the manager, Dana Natale. She pre-dates the Related Company and was a wonderful manager but now Related has tied her hands and ordered her not to talk.
I have talked to Jessica Chiamulera, District Manager, (Related Management, Telephone: (315) 475-5027, Fax: (315) 475-2928, email@example.com), who issues public relations statements instead of dealing with the problems, and gets about half the facts wrong.
I have talked to Betty Perry, CPM®, Regional Manager – (Region 4) (RELATED MANAGEMENT, Office: (631) 284-3417, Mobile: (646) 522-4217, FAX: (631) 727-4412). She refuses to take any responsibility, repeating over and over that she’s only had the property for a year, and she gets the other half the facts wrong. Both people are stone-walling the tenants with lies and half-truths.
Hector Panero is the senior vice president at Related who is responsible for the property. I call or email, and he kicks it back to Perry, who continues to do nothing.
I have contacted Tom Druelinger, our project manager at HUD. He does nothing except forward complaints to CGI, whose call-takers in New York City will not listen to old, confused tenants, and then get the facts wrong. I am too old and sick to keep up with those damn kids, and when I asked for more time under the ADA, they gave me one week and then closed my case.
We had a fire here about a month ago (the second bad fire in about 15 months). I woke up to smoke billowing up past my window. I live on the eighth floor. People in wheelchairs in a fire? That’s a two-man carry down the stairs for each tenant and that’s impossible for the Fire Department.
The fire chief and I agreed that if they have to evacuate the tenants then it will be in body bags. The chief has called the situation “intolerable” but says there’s nothing he can do about it: the code only calls for one elevator.
The tenants here are at each other’s throats because we simply cannot live our lives safely and in a healthy manor with only one elevator. Our home health aides need about fifteen minutes for each one-way trip in the elevator to get the laundry washed and dried.
For God’s sake, will you please help us? Related Management does not care a fig about the tenants; they only care about the money. WILL YOU PLEASE MAKE RELATED MANAGEMENT SERVE US ADEQUATELY, EVEN THOUGH WE ARE POOR?
MAKE RELATED MANAGEMENT FIX OUR SECOND ELEVATOR.
Anne C Woodlen
P.S. There are multiple other serious problems that have arisen since Related bought McCarthy Manor, but I am too sick to detail them now.