Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston – Joe Dunn climbed the stairs of his Lewiston property this September. He refused to have his face photographed. Don and his partner, his girlfriend Debra Sullivan, have raised nearly a quarter of Lewiston’s emergency housing grants for low- or no-income tenants in recent years. But they stopped accepting the funds after the city forced the apartments to pass an inspection to qualify for the money.

This story is part of an ongoing series about Lewiston housing. Ideas? Write to @mainefocus. See all stories

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

Lewiston landlord Joe Dunn drove through downtown in September in his red Chevy Silverado, pointing out building after building that already stands — more than 300, by his count — like a grandfather sorting through faces in a family album. it shows.

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“That green was mine. The white one was mine. “The yellow was mine too.”

Dunn has been a landlord in Lewiston for three decades, and most of his properties have been downtown, the poorest neighborhood in the state.

He knows the tenants of the area as well as the buildings. As he drove around a corner, he saw a woman on the sidewalk who recognized him. He said he had been a landlord for a long time, renting to her, then her daughter, and finally her granddaughter.

The operation Don runs with his partner, girlfriend Debra Sullivan, occupies the low end of the Lewiston-Auburn housing market. Dunn and Sullivan mainly rents low-cost apartments to people living on the fringes, tenants that other landlords often turn away.

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But as the city has cracked down on substandard housing, Dunn said they have been forced to turn away the city’s most vulnerable. In recent years, Dunn and Sullivan have collected nearly a quarter of Lewiston’s emergency aid for people with low or no income in need of housing. But since the city last year began requiring apartments to undergo inspections to qualify for money that comes from state and local taxpayers, they have been denied.

Dunn doesn’t want to give the city’s code enforcement department, which conducts inspections, more reason to enter his property. Dunne and Sullivan and their related companies have been the most frequent targets of city lawsuits aimed at forcing landlords to repair their buildings. Dunn’s contentious relationship with the city highlights the tension between quality and affordability inherent in Lewiston’s efforts to revitalize downtown housing.

In part because Dunn and the other owners no longer accept public assistance, the city has seen aid payments plummet by nearly 70 percent in one year. The city paid out just $200,000 in housing assistance last fiscal year, down from $660,000 the year before. It is unclear where all the tenants who would have otherwise used the money to find a home have gone.

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

While driving, Don told stories about the tenants. A recent tenant stopped paying rent, and when Dunn went to his apartment, he found that he had moved out of town and another family had moved in. (They said they were “just passing through.”) This wasn’t the first time Dunn had discovered residents living in his apartment without permission. Other tenants tossed out the railings supporting the hallway railings. Some of them brought mattresses on the street – Trojan horses for the invasion of bed bugs.

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Some of the tenants he has rented to shock me. It’s just unruly, unpleasant people who don’t pay rent and throw him under the bus, said longtime code enforcement director Gail Arsenal, who retired in 2018 and was involved with Dunn and his properties for three decades. A lot of people talk bad about [Don], but there are definitely people who would be homeless without him.

Fred McKinney has been homeless five times, he said, but described living in a landlord “like being homeless.”

McKinney moved into a four-bedroom apartment in downtown Auburn in March 2018. But Dunn didn’t provide a key to the place, McKinney said. So, for the first few weeks that McKinney lived there, he drilled four 3-inch screws into the door of his apartment to secure his belongings inside.

He said there was also a leak in the bathroom. When it rained, the leak produced a steady stream of water into the bucket McKinney had placed on it. In winter, the heat came and went. In the middle of the night, McKinney had to go into the basement and reset the furnace.

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Heritier Nosso of Healthy Androscoggin works with immigrants to provide safe housing and describes Don as “the king of the slum dwellers.”

For Dunn, this criticism is nothing new. He said that “it’s a thick skin. It doesn’t really bother me.”

Fellow landlord Chris Stowe said Dunn has become unfairly the face of Lewiston’s dilapidated housing stock. “Don is a straw man,” Stowe said. “People have to point somewhere.”

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

Like Lewiston’s housing problems, Dunn is often described as “complex.” This is a trait that comes from his many contradictions. Although many tenants complained that he wouldn’t fix their apartment problems, he also bought groceries for tenants when they didn’t have anything and agreed to the kind of temporary payment arrangements that most corporate landlords wouldn’t accept. Jeff Bareil, a retired Lewiston police officer and code enforcement officer, said Dunn repeatedly paid for heating oil to heat buildings his operation did not own, to keep tenants from freezing.

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His contradictions continue. Dunn gained national attention in 2015 when he put up political signs against mayoral candidate Ben Chin, who was criticized as racist for comparing China, who is of Asian descent, to communist leader Ho Chi Minh. (Dunn later apologized.) But in an interview, Dunn slammed the racism of Lewiston residents who complain about the city’s immigrant population. In addition, he said, the city’s stricter enforcement “has been devastating to city residents, especially immigrants.” `

Additionally, Dunn is the most famous landlord in the area, but he owns almost none of the buildings he and others say he owns: The Sullivan Companies are the legal owners of nearly all the properties he manages. Sullivan declined to comment.

However, in recent years, Dunn & Sullivan has been shrinking its portfolio. At their peak, they managed 1,000 units downtown. Dunn said they now have between 200 and 300 aircraft and acknowledged that some of his problems can be attributed to the fact that his operation has become “too big” for his crew.

City tax records show the assessed value of their properties has dropped from nearly $9 million in 2013 to just over $6 million this year.

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And Dunne and Sullivan affiliates collected just $52,000 in public contributions last fiscal year, down from $153,000 in fiscal 2015. As of this summer, city records show that number has dropped to zero.

Whether these changes represent the gradual erosion of the slum empire or the evaporation of affordable housing for marginal tenants, or both, depends on who you talk to.

But Dunn said he has no plans to get out of the landlord game anytime soon, despite claiming he hasn’t made a profit in years. He said he would continue to work to keep his workers busy. And she values ​​the flexibility of the job, which has long allowed her to spend time with her 20-year-old daughter, who has special needs.

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

Dunn’s drive through downtown Lewiston was punctuated by waves and horns and people looking to talk. A man wearing a bright red t-shirt that read “Donald Trump Kills Dick” in white block letters waved down Dunn to avoid confrontation with the new owners of the building that Dunn and Sullivan recently sold. Tenants complain.

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Later, as Don got out of his dented truck, which contained what appeared to be a Lowe’s final sale’s worth of home maintenance tools, a shirtless young man with headphones around his neck slowly rode his bike in a lazy loop. did

“Do you have anything else I can do for drywall?” he requested. Don told him no. Dressed in black-striped sneakers splashed with white paint, the landlord shepherded his crew members from property to property all day. The young man kept pedaling.

Although the city has filed complaints since the beginning of 2018 over health and safety issues at 18 properties owned by Dunn & Sullivan — through a process called for “really difficult enforcement issues and really uncooperative violators” — the city shouldn’t collect much in fines. because they usually do the repairs. (The city said it wants to force landlords to put money down on properties, not fines.)

Dunn and Sullivan have paid $31,494 in attorney fees and just $3,250 in fines since November 2017, according to city code enforcement director David Hediger. Other owners with smaller buildings are asked to pay much more.

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Dunn has been critical of code enforcement under Hediger, who took over the department in early 2018, calling staff there “aggressive thugs.”

“Rams men are terrible right now,” Dunn said. Should I buy another apartment building in Lewiston? Probably not.”

Code

Sullivan Property Management Lewiston

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Elia Marlina Smith

Halo, Saya adalah penulis artikel dengan judul Sullivan Property Management Lewiston yang dipublish pada September 30, 2022 di website Smallcave

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