Lexington Terrace tenants picket BALTIMORE CITY

April 09, 1993|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,Staff Writer

Angry that the Housing Authority of Baltimore City has not completed all repairs necessary for ending a rent strike at Lexington Terrace, residents set up a picket line at the West Baltimore complex this week.

The residents were to attend a hearing yesterday on the 2-month-old strike. But District Judge Theodore Oshrine postponed the hearing after the authority admitted it had not completed repairs, an attorney for the residents said.

Sally Gold, a private attorney hired by the authority, contended the agency has made most of the repairs. She said the hearing was postponed to allow the authority and residents time to resolve "factual disputes" over repairs.

Marla Hollandsworth, a University of Baltimore law professor who represents the residents, said some of those disputes center on whether the authority is required to paint or sand the plaster walls that have been repaired.

She also said that maintenance workers have plastered walls damaged by leaking water but have not closed off the leaks. Thus the repairs don't last.

Danise Jones-Dorsey, interim deputy executive director of the authority, did not return repeated telephone calls yesterday.

At Lexington Terrace, the 16 strikers and about 18 other residents have set up picket lines in front of the management office. They vowed to continue the protest until the repairs are completed.

"They are saying they thought the repairs were done -- they were lying," said Lorraine Ledbetter, president of the Lexington-Poe Tenant's Council. "I'm mad as hell."

The rent strike began Feb. 8 when 69 residents withheld their rents, ranging from $36 to $500 a month, until the authority repaired leaking plumbing, peeling paint, cracked and broken plaster and broken windows. Rents were ordered placed in escrow accounts on Feb. 25.

Since the strike, the authority has moved 32 families from Lexington Terrace. Some of the families were moved from the blighted high-rise at 734 W. Fayette St., which the authority closed indefinitely last month.

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