Residents want manager of federally subsidized housing complex ousted

June 07, 1995|By Christina Asquith | Christina Asquith,Sun Staff Writer

After complaining for months of shoddy maintenance work, lease violations and rude treatment, residents of a federally subsidized neighborhood in Annapolis are demanding the ouster of the development's manager.

About a dozen residents of Woodside Gardens traded accounts of rusty nails and excessive fees at a news conference yesterday in a stuffy basement community room. They threatened a rent strike if manager Eva Anderson is not forced to leave the 144-unit development off Forest Drive.

"Every time I think about this lady, my blood pressure goes up," said Judy Diggs, president of the newly formed Woodside Gardens Residents Council, who carried a petition with 116 signatures calling for Ms. Anderson's resignation.

Ms. Anderson, who has run the development since August, denied all accusations, including tenants' claims that she entered their apartments unannounced and cursed at them. She said she follows guidelines set forth by the Dallas-based management company, Alpha Property Management Inc., and that she was unaware that any neighbors were angry.

"We were not even told about the press conference," she said in a telephone interview from her home, where she is on sick leave. "If there are any complaints, we are open and waiting to hear from them."

The neighbors pointed to a string of disputes that have arisen since Ms. Anderson arrived and began to make changes. In March, for instance, the neighbors protested a plan to require all residents older than 6 to carry photo identification. The plan, intended to rid the neighborhood of outsiders, was abandoned after furious residents called the idea insulting and invasive.

There was more trouble when Ms. Anderson tried to bar public buses from development roads, saying they damaged the asphalt. A compromise was reached, but not before neighbors protested and local politicians stepped in.

Residents also complained that Ms. Anderson is too strict with parking regulations, requires long-term residents to sign leases and favors certain residents.

Rodney Garves, a maintenance man for Woodside Gardens, defended the condition of the development and Ms. Anderson, saying, "I think it's looked better since Ms. Anderson's been here," he said, standing outside one of the buildings. "I think with other managers, the tenants kind of ran over them. She goes by the book."

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, who represents Woodside Gardens, said the problems with Ms. Anderson extend beyond differences in opinion. "When city officials met with her, it was very adversarial rather than cooperative," he said.

Neither the tenants nor city officials have authority over Ms. Anderson's employment. But tenants are hoping to get the U.S. Department of Housing of Urban Development to pressure the management company to fire Ms. Anderson.

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