WILKES-BARRE – In a 20 page report obtained by Newswatch 16, federal inspectors described some of the problems discovered at the Sherman Hills apartment complex as “possible life threatening security issues”.
During an inspection of six apartment buildings in the apartment complex in September, the report says officials found broken doors, poor outdoor lighting, mold and blankets covering windows.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report said the most troubling discoveries were broken security systems at the apartment buildings and surveillance cameras that were not properly installed.
The federal officials said that the issues and mismanagement at Sherman Hills have “contributed to the numerous incidents of illegal activity and as a result, tenants are experience possible life threatening security issues.”
Officials said that Park Management Inc. in Brooklyn, New York has until the end of this month to tell HUD how it plans to fix the problems at Sherman Hills, how quickly the work can be done, and how much it is expected to cost.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, Mayor Tom Leighton said the report was troubling to read.
“This report confirms some of our worst fears of the property’s condition and operations. It substantiates many of the findings of the city’s rental inspection department earlier this summer that led to a $33,000 fine levied against the property, which remains on appeal,” said Leighton. “This report should be a wake-up call for the property managers. They should fully comply with HUD’s findings within the 30-day response period. The people of Wilkes-Barre and the residents of Sherman Hills deserve and expect a safe and secure complex that does not harm the public image of our city or endanger the welfare of our citizens or law enforcement officers.”
Congressman Matt Cartwright also released a statement about the inspections findings, and said that the owners need to be held accountable.
“The report issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on its September inspection of the Sherman Hills complex is disturbing,” said Cartwright. “Sherman Hills has been the scene of violent and drug-related crimes, and the failure of the complex’s management to comply with HUD guidelines has undoubtedly contributed to the negative environment and must be dealt with immediately.”
Newswatch 16 was told to leave the complex property Thursday afternoon, when attempting to check the conditions of the buildings and talk to residents.