NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Newark officials on Tuesday morning raided an apartment complex where residents have been complaining about living in deplorable conditions.
CBS2 accompanied the officials from Neighborhood and Recreational Services and code enforcement officers as they raided the Garden Spires apartments at 175 First St. The officials were inspecting units from top to bottom to force the buildings’ owner, King Properties, to fix them up or face huge fines and possibly arrests, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.
“We just want the ownership and management to come out to do their part, to abate the issues and ensure that the residents in this city have a safe and vibrant place to live and be productive,” said Patrick Council, director of Neighborhood and Recreational Services.
Part of the raid focused on a grocery store on the first floor of one of the two buildings, which was running without a license. There was expired food on shelves, and products were being stored in a basement covered in mold, raw sewage and mice droppings, Sanchez reported. The store was shut down.
“We did have a complaint from one resident who came in and said that they had purchased some baby formula, and inside the baby formula powder, when she went to open it up, there were bugs and things inside,” Council said.
Inside one apartment, tenant Shonette Parker showed CBS2 her bathtub faucet, which doesn’t stop running, causing mold to grow in the walls. She said she has had mice, roaches and waterbugs. She claims she’s complained to King Properties, but she says the owner just patches it up and the problems keep coming back.
“Hell, this is nasty,” Parker said.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worstest enemy.”
Many tenants, however, said they’re afraid to complain about the deteriorating conditions.
“Most of us can’t afford to be anywhere else,” one woman said. “I came from a shelter with my kids.”
No one from King Properties was willing to comment on the violations Tuesday.
The owners have 90 days to make repairs.