Settlement Will Permit Tenants to Leave Dilapidated Apartments, Money for Relocationfreed from legal snarl

the dallas morning news

September 1995

Craig Flournoy Staff Writer of The Dallas Morning News


A settlement announced Friday will provide beleaguered tenants of the problemplagued
Lakewood Apartments with money to move.

The staff attorney with a local tenant advocacy group said the owner of the dilapidated East Dallas complex
has agreed to provide the 14 remaining families with a total of $6,000 in relocation money. "I've got good
news," Housing Crisis Center attorney Jeff Veazey told the tenants at a hastily called meeting Friday evening in the courtyard of the largely boarded up complex. "A deal has been struck, and the money has arrived. It's time to go."

The attorney said the current owner, MPR Inc., put relocation money into an account after Mr. Veazey
threatened to sue for numerous housing code violations. The owners of the company could not be reached
for comment.

The announcement brought cheers from the tenants, who must leave by Monday to quality for the relocation money.

"It's the best news in town," said Ruby Jackson, who has lived at the complex for five months.
The agreement apparently settles one part of the long simmering controversy over what to do with the three story structure in the 6000 block of Gaston Avenue.

Residents have complained about raw sewage, leaking ceilings and exposed electrical wiring.
"I had sewage come up and into my apartment every day for a month," said Ms. Jackson. "It was disgusting."

City officials ordered the complex torn down three times. A state district judge threw out the most recent
demolition order because, he said, the city had failed to file appropriate documents in the case.

And without a demolition order, the tenants were not eligible for emergency housing aid from the city.
"These people were going to be thrown out of an airplane without a parachute," Mr. Veazey said.

But all that changed Friday with the agreement, said Mr. Veazey, who brokered it.

Once the tenants are out, Mr. Veazey said, the current owner plans to sell the 45 unit complex to developer
Braden Power for $100,000. Mr. Power, who has renovated several smaller apartment buildings in the
neighborhood, has said that he plans to spend $1 million on renovation.

The rehabilitation job is daunting, said Mr. Veazey, pointing to sewage stained concrete, broken windows and boarded up apartments.

Tenants endorsed the plans. Some said that if the complex were repaired, they would return.

"This could be a beautiful place to live," said Ms. Jackson, who lives at the complex with her mother and two nephews. "But I say goodbye gladly."

Copyright 1995 The Dallas Morning News Company