Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Eric Ginsburg on the Agapions and etc..., who Greensboro's City Council let get away with murder

Smoke alarms not working in apartment 
where deadly fire happened in Greensboro

The Greensboro apartment 
where a deadly fire happened early Saturday morning 
had smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms 
but they were not working at the time of the fire, 
according to a press release from the N.C. Department of Insurance.

All five children -- three boys and two girls -- 
who were in the apartment on Saturday have died. 

"Between March 1, 2014, when the city’s new fine structure began, and the end of the year, the city billed $683,475 in the zoning, re-inspection and civil penalties category. It collected a paltry $48,500 — just over 7 percent of the amount owed

...Three owed the city far more than anyone else. With $346,775 outstanding, the Agapion family is at the top of that list, and they have no intention of paying.

...The Agapions collectively own exactly 400 properties all over Guilford County. The majority of properties are in Greensboro, though their real-estate empire covers High Point, Stokesdale, Gibsonville, Pleasant Garden and Summerfield. Different family members own the parcels, with multiple people listed on a lot of different addresses. Of the 400, 103 are primarily attributed to Basil Agapion on the county’s online property index, and 45 are attributed to Sophia Agapion, who co-owns many of Basil’s properties as well.

Henshaw said some of the fire extinguishers, 
which were left on hooks outside the buildings, 
were missing and that others had faded labels, 
which he attributed to damage from the weather.

At least one family member’s properties have come before the Minimum Housing Commission at almost every meeting for the last six months, particularly Basil and Sophia’s shared properties and Despina Agapion Psatha, who owns 40 properties in the county. Sometimes, multiple family members’ buildings appear on the same commission agenda, but Benton has only ever dealt with Irene Agapion.

Former Greensboro mayor Robbie Perkins 
is partly responsible for this tragedy 

Irene, a third generation real-estate agent, is the oldest of four siblings and has worked in the industry for 28 years, she said. Her father, Bill Agapion, founded Arco Realty in Greensboro in 1952, and was an early provider of racially integrated housing in the Southeast, Irene said. He still works with her and Basil at the company’s office on South Elm Street downtown near Mellow Mushroom, though Despina, one of Irene’s siblings, lives out of state, she said.

Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan 
is partly responsible

It isn’t just one or two properties: The city has condemned units or entire apartment buildings around the city. In the last six months, ongoing cases at Floyd Street, Summit Avenue and Emanuel Agapion’s property at 1316 Town Street came before the Minimum Housing Commission. In October 2014, a new case at 1224 Highland Avenue in Glenwood — owned by Despina — came before the commission but was continued until the December meeting. At that meeting, the commission upheld the condemnation order and also heard a new case: Nine units at 2316 Kersey Street in south Greensboro, owned by Basil and Sophia Agapion, had been condemned, but the commission continued the case until its March 10, 2015 meeting.

Marlene Sanford of TREBIC

Irene Agapion said the reason the family has so many housing code violations is a numbers game — with so many properties and family members involved, it isn’t surprising there are some issues, she said, while quickly noting that they are working to bring all the buildings into compliance....

Zach Matheny
Remember RUCO?

From: Marlene Sanford - TREBIC (E-mail) To: Knight, Bill; "Trudy Wade"; Mary Rakestraw; Danny Thompson; Kee, James; Zack Matheny: Did Sue Schwartz out Robbie Perkins and Bev Perdue?

Deep background on the Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy program (RUCO), which the NC Realtor's Association liked Robbie and TREBIC getting rid of

Koury, TREBIC and RUCO: What could Regulatory Capture look like?

Who did Greensboro’s Landlords Association PAC donate campaign cash to in 2009, and who do they want to castrate RUCO?

"Editorial: The RUCO shuffle

Last summer, the Greensboro City Council effectively let the clock run out
on a successful and proactive rental unit inspection program
by not lifting one finger to defend it. 

The council tabled a vote on a motion to support the program, called RUCO, 
or Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy, 
the day before a legislative vote in Raleigh and did not revisit the issue.

...For whatever reason, 
the majority on this council simply lacked the will to fight for the policy. 

Monday, April 3, 2017; Mark Sutter on Greensboro's Slumlords who fund City Council

Greensboro’s RUCO among handful of proactive rental housing inspection programs across state

RUCO Facts and Figures

Some on Greensboro council are lukewarm on RUCO

The RUCO board has traditionally been stacked with people associated with the real estate industry, who have made no secret of their desire to eliminate the program. Members of the board are appointed by council members, who are, in turn, generously supported in their election campaigns by people employed in the real estate industry.

Nancy Cries RUCO

N&R exiles to the limbo of its proprietary e-reader an article on possible changes to RUCO, so I'll summarize it for you:

RUCO seems to work pretty well at its objective of making rental properties safer and more livable, and people who advocate for renters like it a lot, but some landlords and politicians don't like it as much so it might get changed.

George Hartzman, referenced TREBIC influence; spoke to the representation and makeup of the RUCO Board; harming poor renters; and the makeup of the Greensboro Landlord Association.

If Skip Alston was/is a slumlord, and Robbie Perkins company funds TREBIC, which wants to gut RUCO...?

Ed Cone's RUCO Linkfest all found at Ed Cone's Word Up: Please answer the question Ed