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VOL. 8 | NO. 18 | Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hamlet Apologizes for Apartment Conditions

By Bill Dries

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The owner of Goodwill Village and several other inner city apartment complexes that have drawn the attention of city code enforcement inspectors apologized Friday, April 24, for their long-standing conditions and vowed to correct them.

“First of all, to my residents and to my fellow Memphians, I apologize,” said Richard Hamlet, chairman and founder of Global Ministries Foundation during a press conference held inside a Goodwill Villages unit converted into a church.

“I want to apologize for the tough conditions that you have been living in,” he continued. “For decades now, these apartments have seen damage and neglect and been in high-crime areas. Everyone is right – the media, the tenants and the community. Nobody should have to live under these conditions.”

Richard Hamlet apologized to residents and the Memphis community for tough conditions at local apartments owned by Global Ministries Foundation.

(Daily News/Andrew J. Breig)

City code enforcement inspectors have declared 45 of the units uninhabitable due to varying issues, from bed bug infestation and unsanitary conditions related to toilets to roofs in need of repair and broken appliances.

Hamlet also blamed a succession of unnamed management companies for problems.

Global Ministries hired LEDIC Management in January. LEDIC CEO Pierce Ledbetter has said he took on the contract only after Hamlet promised LEDIC would get the money it needs to renovate and repair the apartments.

Ledbetter said tenants at Warren Apartments and Goodwill Village whose units have been declared uninhabitable will move this weekend to other units approved by the federal department of Housing and Urban Development. They will move to units outside of either apartment complex; some of the housing will be in motels.

HUD won’t pay Global Ministries the per unit subsidy it was paying for those units prior to the code enforcement findings.

And next week HUD inspectors begin their own inspections of conditions in the apartment complexes as well, which include the Tulane Apartments in Whitehaven and Madison Tower in the Medical Center.

Facing pointed questions from reporters about how he couldn’t have known of the long-standing and enduring conditions since Global Ministries bought them in 2007, Hamlet said he relied on management companies as he ran the ministry part of the organization.

He also said the Memphis rental market is more difficult than the other markets where Global Ministries has properties because of high crime and poverty rates.

“We took these properties on because we knew they needed our help,” Hamlet said. “These properties are worth our commitment and our continued fight for our residents.”

Hamlet and Ledbetter said they are still tallying the cost of the renovation work and did not have a dollar estimate.

But Hamlet rejected the idea that the complexes should be vacated and demolished.

“I will not run from these problems,” he said as he vowed conditions would improve noticeably in a month. “Give me 30 days.”

PROPERTY SALES 36 154 6,546
MORTGAGES 34 94 4,129
BUILDING PERMITS 201 554 15,915
BANKRUPTCIES 43 126 3,396