Owners of Detroit St. Building not Slumlords, claims Worker
A man claiming to have worked for the owners of the now shuttered River Place apartment building at 245 Detroit St. says they're being unfairly portrayed as slumlords.
The City of Windsor issued an order to vacate the building due to a lack of working fire alarms, heating and ventilation systems and running water to the entire building last week. Close to 20 former residents have been living on the lawn of the property since the order went into effect Wednesday morning.
"It was heartbreaking to watch the people come out not having anywhere to go. Nobody feels good about what's going on," says Jeremiah, who declined to give his last name.
He tells The Dan MacDonald Show the vandalism began shortly after the owners purchased the property in December of 2020 and it was never their intention to have the building become derelict.
It started with people breaking in to steal change from the laundry and vending machines — then escalated to stealing copper pipes from communal showers, which resulted in the water being shut off for repairs that were carried out, he added.
Jeremiah claims the owners changed the locks several times, added security cameras that were quickly disabled, and looked at hiring a security guard.
"We got estimates on security when things were kind of getting bad and it was going to be more money in security just to have people drop in every once in a while than the building actually made in rent," he says.
Over the past month the vandalism spread to the mechanical room and that's when the city had to step in because it became dangerous and unmanageable, he says.
"When they got in there, I don't know if they tried to cut a gas line, but they definitely ruptured one, and it started filling the mechanical room with gas," he says. "Within two weeks ... they broke into the mechanical room again and then they started stealing some of the really serious water lines."
Jeremiah admits there were a few times where things could have been addressed faster, but he claims the owners followed through with repairs.
Officials with the city confirmed the owners had complied with orders, but the work was destroyed shortly after completion.