I-TEAM: Troubled apartment complex gets 30 days to fix issues

Court records reveal history of rent being stolen from Majestic Plaza tenants

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Court records show there is a history of rent being stolen at a Moncrief apartment complex where a mountain of trash was piled high after dumpsters were removed, the News4Jax I-TEAM uncovered.

The apartment complex cited with dozens of code violations is also getting a month to correct the issues, according to the city of Jacksonville. City inspectors cited the property owners for the trash left on the ground after dumpsters were removed from the complex. Code enforcement has also come out and boarded up seven apartments, condemning some. 

According to code enforcement records, inspectors have cited units for being infested with rats, sagging ceilings, no hot water, air conditioning units allowing entry into apartments and stoves in poor or unsafe working condition. 

"There is too much going on around here. Little kids shouldn’t even be around here," said Bee Won, who lives at Majestic Plaza. "They took the dumpsters. Who takes somebody’s dumpster?"

According to tenants, the only problem fixed was the growing trash pile, which was cleaned up by city workers and replaced with two dumpsters

City records show the property owner was scheduled to face a judge on Aug. 6 over five separate code enforcement cases.

In an email, a city spokesperson told the I-TEAM all but one case was closed in magistrate court and the presiding judge gave the property owner 30 days to correct. 

When asked which cases were closed and for which case the property owner, Rockwell One Properties LLC, had 30 days to correct, the city told the I-TEAM it was working on getting an answer.

Tenants have been plagued with problems in the past. 

Court documents show that last year, a former property manager for Majestic Plaza was arrested and found guilty of stealing rent money from tenants at Majestic Plaza totaling $34,350.

According to an arrest warrant, “several tenants were issued eviction notices and questioned why.”

Sentencing reports show she was found guilty on one count of organized fraud and ordered to pay more than $34,000 back to Majestic Plaza, $22,726 to Hanover insurance and $1,000 back to Duke Properties, which is the owner of another apartment complex named Lion's Head Apartments that court documents accuse of her of stealing from.

Some tenants said they aren’t paying rent currently because of lack of maintenance and confusion over who the owner is. 

"There are a lot people in here that do work that won’t pay their rent because of what’s happening currently and past experiences," said Liz Sims, who lives at Majestic Plaza.

Others tenants said the property owners refuse to take their money. 

"They are not accepting the rent money. I got three months of rent money right now waiting on them. They are not accepting it," said Debra Jackson, who lives at Majestic Plaza. "I don't know. I guess they want us to move." 

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