New allegations surface against troubled Northland apartment complex

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This week, health inspectors shut down a Northland apartment building after finding filthy and dangerous living conditions.  Now, new allegations are now coming to light about potentially illegal actions by the property's management.

How the building got shutdown 

The images from inside Englewood Apartments are enough to make your stomach churn.  An entire building at the complex off NW Waukomis Drive remains shut down after pictures of a sink and bathtub filled with sewage back-up and exposed wiring in the walls were released.

"Totally inhuman squalor.  I've never seen or heard of anything like that in Kansas City, when you had an apartment in a building that was so full of cockroaches, it infested the entire building.  I was literally walking through human fecal material," Kansas City Councilman Dan Fowler said.

Fowler says his own gut instincts about the property sparked a health department investigation.  He was concerned that, during renovations on the property, nothing was being done to address still-occupied units. That was exactly the case.

Fowler and residents credit the city's year-old Healthy Homes program for being able to tackle the problem.

"It gave us a lot more tools to address these kinds of issues than we'd ever had under our existing ordinances.  I'm very happy to see it's working," Fowler said.

New allegations against the apartment owners

Since the shutdown this week, FOX4 has learned of even more troublesome allegations against Englewood Apartments and its owners, Millennia Housing Management.

A lawsuit was filed in August against Millennia over racial discrimination. A former employee alleges she was repeatedly passed over promotion and ultimately fired on the basis of her race, according to complaints she'd filed with the EEOC.

Her attorney says he is now considering amending their suit to include additional claims her employment termination was also retaliation for allegedly bringing things that needed repaired to upper-management's attention.

Another former employee alleges she was fired for raising concerns about Millennia's practices and property neglect.  She shared a lease document with FOX4, which was signed by a tenant named Sharon Petty in March 2018.  A second lease document was signed with Petty's name in November 2018.

The problem is Sharon Petty died in September 2018, two months before the second lease was signed.  As a result, documents show Englewood would be paid $774 a month in subsidies from the US Department of Health and Urban Development.

We shared those findings with HUD and Councilman Fowler.  Both are now investigating further.

Fowler says he is committed to holding Millennia Housing's feet to the fire. He said he knows HUD has already demanded the company get third-party management in place to run Englewood.

"They lost all confidence in their ability to maintain safe, sanitary and livable conditions in these apartments," Fowler said.

The health department is planning another visit to Englewood next week. City council members are planning to look into Millennia's four other properties in Kansas City.

HUD said that if any of the new allegations are validated, the company could face further penalties. These could include losing its contract for subsidized housing payments.

Millennia Housing Management has said it's working to make repairs and renovate the property.  Its attorney has asked for a meeting with the health department.

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