NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Allegations involving federal law violations were made by Nevada Congressman Steven Horsford and other local leaders Thursday when they toured a senior living complex in North Las Vegas.
Buena Vista Springs is owned by a Florida based company. Horsford called the company a "slumlord" because of living conditions at the property. Some officials worry owners are getting tax dollars, but refusing to keep the property up to standard.
The I-Team first told the story of Buena Vista Springs in Aug. 2013 when seniors claimed they were living among bedbugs, roaches and mold. Representative Horsford says there are more concerns than solutions. A senior recently died at the complex and Horsford said he fears the living conditions could have contributed to the man's death. While that isn't confirmed, seniors at the complex want a safe home.
"Six months ago, the health department came out and checked this carpet and said the carpet need to be pulled," resident Herman Jackson said.
He has lived at Buena Vista Springs for 14 years.
"What repairs have been done? Nothing, nothing has been done," Jackson said.
He says his apartment is deteriorating and he is contending with soiled carpet and a broken sliding door. He also says his emergency pull cord is now just a decoration.
"See, it don't work," he said as he tugged on the cord.
The cord is required for senior living facilities. The tiny strings could be the only life-saving tool for a senior when there is an emergency. It is one of the many violations noted by the Nevada Housing Division in its report.
"It's disgusting," Horsford said.
The same agency has cited all sorts of violations since 2004, including corroded hot water heaters, outdated fire extinguishers, infestation problems, a multi-generational cockroach population, growing mold and the list goes on.
Representative Horsford says the complex, owned by Florida's Franklin Capital Group, is receiving Nevada tax dollars for shameful housing conditions.
"Residents who have been enduring for far too long living conditions that are deplorable because of a slum lord developer and investor that has fleeced the taxpayers by getting low-income tax credits and then being absent, not providing adequate housing conditions for seniors that deserve better," Horsford said.
Minutes after the news conference, an audit investigator with Nevada's housing division arrived. The division is reports the violations to the IRS.
"I actually just got this property a year ago and did my first inspection in January, but there have been reports done and sent to the IRS about the deficiencies," said Francine Lebrato, Nevada Department of Business & Industry.
Despite the agency's laundry list of citations, the investigator claims, for the most part, the complex is livable.
Gov. Brian Sandoval's Office sent a statement about the complex. Press Secretary Tyler Klimas says the office has worked with North Las Vegas officials and Clark County to force the owner to fix the problems. He says they jointly sent a letter just last week demanding the investors and general partners fix outstanding issues.
The statement went on:
"The State has notified the IRS of the history of problems and today asked the IRS to withdraw the investors’ tax-exempt credits due to a long pattern of problems at the project. The City of North Las Vegas has authority to cite the project for any health, safety, and building code violations. All parties understand that the residents of Buena Vista want to remain at the apartment complex and have it maintained to proper standards. It is clear that the owners and property managers have failed to protect the residents of Buena Vista Springs III."
Several other officials, including Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly and North Las Vegas Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown argue the conditions are not livable. 8 News NOW called the Florida based company, but have yet to hear a response.
The I-Team has learned the owner has come under scrutiny in Florida for charging a federal housing program for security at a complex it owns there, but not providing any security.
Monday, September 1 2014 6:06 PM EDT2014-09-01 22:06:07 GMT
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. In some cases, it has to do with a language barrier, but in most cases, it is fear among undocumented immigrants that they could end up being deported. More>>
Some medical providers say they often deal with Hispanic patients who are afraid to seek medical care. It's hoped the opening of a new medical clinic will change that.
Monday, September 1 2014 5:58 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:58:50 GMT
The three-day holiday weekend ended with visitors crowding the airport and freeways as they made their way back home. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Association, around 313,000 people visited Las Vegas over the Labor Day weekend. More>>
The three-day holiday weekend ended with visitors crowding the airport and freeways as they made their way back home.
Monday, September 1 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-09-01 21:51:43 GMT
Tens of thousands of people bid farewell to summer by enjoying Lake Mead for Labor Day weekend. While there were a few minor rescues, DUI's and boating incidents, the vast majority of people had some fun in the sun. More>>
Tens of thousands of people bid farewell to summer by enjoying Lake Mead for Labor Day weekend. While there were a few minor rescues, DUI's and boating incidents, the vast majority of people had some fun in the sun.