[Hpn] Landlord from Hell evicted

William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Fri, 5 Nov 2004 07:21:31 -0500




November 5, 2004 -- 

Tenants cheered yesterday when a court-appointed manager - accompanied by
armed federal housing agents - seized control of their foul-smelling,
violation-ridden Harlem apartment building.

The early-morning takeover of the 231-unit Ennis Francis Houses marked the
first time in 10 years that homes subsidized by the U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development had been placed under court-ordered private

"We'll get some repairs done now, and there'll be no lying, no scheming.
We'll have someone to make this place livable," said Queenie Murray, 65, a
longtime tenant who suffered through a heatless winter last year.

Murray was ecstatic that a city Housing Court judge has barred her landlord,
Herbert Wright, from running the building because he failed to "efficiently
and professionally remove the conditions dangerous to the life, health and
safety of the residents."

Those conditions include leaking ceilings, moldy walls, gaping holes packed
with reeking raw sewage, and no boiler.
In all, the 11-story red-brick building has 225 violations of city health
and safety codes, according to Sheena Wright, head of the Abyssinian
Development Corp., the building's new managing company, and no relation to
landlord Wright.
"It's going to be a long hard road. It's a multimillion-dollar project just
to do the repairs," Abyssinian's Wright said.
Abyssinian hopes to buy the 20-year-old complex once HUD foreclosure
proceedings against the landlord are completed.

The foreclosure action was initiated by HUD because the landlord failed to
maintain his building in a decent, safe and sanitary manner, officials said.

Landlord Wright and his son, Eric, who managed the building, could not be
reached for comment.