Curran assails Waverly landlords

Laxness on security at site of killings alleged

March 01, 2001|By Neal Thompson | Neal Thompson,SUN STAFF

City Councilman Robert W. Curran yesterday accused the owners of Waverly Apartments - the site of five recent killings - of reneging on a verbal agreement two years ago to increase security measures at the complex.

Curran said the improvements, including the installation of security cameras and brighter lighting, were promised in exchange for an $802,000 break from the city on an outstanding loan.

"None of that came to fruition," Curran, a Northeast Baltimore Democrat, told the Board of Estimates.

Lawyers for the apartments' owners say there was no formal agreement for security measures, and city housing officials said there is nothing in writing that requires the improvements.

Still, at Curran's request, the Board of Estimates agreed to contact the owners - Carl T. and Edward V. Julio - and ask them to meet with the board, possibly as soon as next week.

Five men were killed in two recent shootings at the apartment complex.

Michael E. Marino, a lawyer for Carl Julio, said his client has been "troubled by what's gone on over there in the past week an a half." But he said the discussions of security measures two years ago were informal and not part of the agreement. He said his client lived up to his end of the agreement.

Marino also said the Julio brothers don't handle day-to-day management of the apartments. That's done by Interstate Realty Management Co. of New Jersey.

Gary Eckrote, district property manager with Interstate, met briefly with officials of the Department of Housing and Community Development yesterday.

In an interview with The Sun on Monday, Eckrote said he planned to meet with community groups to discuss implementing a crime watch team.

Waverly area residents have been alarmed by the recent violence. On Saturday, three men were killed and one injured when an unknown number of assailants approached their car and opened fire. That came a week after two men were killed in the same area.

Drug-dealing and violence have for years been problems at the 310-unit complex in North Baltimore. Residents and members of the Better Waverly Community Organization have sought security improvements at the apartment complex, and seemed encouraged by talk of security cameras two years ago.

Those talks came in March 1999 when the city Board of Estimates agreed to waive half the balance of a $1.6 million loan that had been granted to the Julios in 1986 for rehabilitating the complex.

Curran said the city essentially gave Waverly Apartments $800,000 "and did not receive any bang for its dollar."

Otis Rolley, deputy housing commissioner, said the city might have a difficult time forcing the apartment owners to do anything because there is no mention of security measures in the agreement signed in 1999.

Rolley said that even though a discussion of security issues is contained in the minutes of the March 1999 meeting, there may be "no teeth" to hold the owners legally responsible for any security improvements.

City Council President Sheila Dixon, chairwoman of the Board of Estimates, said the city could a least bring the owners back before the panel and try to pressure them to do what the city believes was promised.

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