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AG James threatens action against Skyline owner if problems continue

ag skyline.jpg
Scott Willis
/
WAER News
NYS Attorney General Letitia James stops in Syracuse to announce action against Green National, the company that owns the troubled Skyline Apartment complex and other properties.

Attorney General Letitia James is using the power of her office to hold the owner of the troubled Skyline apartment complex and other properties accountable for uninhabitable conditions. In a visit to Syracuse, James says Green National has agreed to address the problems in 60 days or pay a $300,000 fine. James says her decision comes after the Skyline was repeatedly cited for code violations, including human waste and drugs in hallways.

“This should be a notice to any and all landlords, and anyone who tries the same tactics, that the Office of the Attorney General in the State of New York will not tolerate landlords profiting from misery or profiting off of individuals whose lives and rights have been compromised”

There was cautious optimism from Katrina Weston. She's president of the Skyline Tenants Association.

"I don't know if this is going to work. I'm hopeful. It's a bigger issue than anyone can even imagine. It's personal to me. It's an emotional matter. I have a family member who needs to be taken care of, and then I realized I can't even bring them home with me. To this day, it's not safe."

ag skyline katrina.jpg
Scott Willis
/
WAER News
Skyline Tenants Assoc. President Katrina Weston expresses cautious optimism about AG James' action.

Larry Fuller has been a Skyline tenant for nine years, and is suing Green National. He remembers when 12-story complex was "safe and desirable." He says every time he witnessed violence, was threatened, or saw garbage and human waste, he wondered if it would be enough for the Greens to act. He says even the murder of Connie Tuori last year by a non-resident wasn't enough.

With today’s announcement, hopefully all of us have our answer. Enough is enough. The Greens have treated their tenants as something less than human for far too long in this city. No person should ever be expected to live like this."

Mayor Ben Walsh says AG James intervention is welcome news. He says the city has tried every tool it has to hold Green National accountable.

“For the first time in quite a while, I am hopeful that the nightmare that all the tenants and residents of the green national properties have been living may finally be close to an end.

Walsh says he went along on an inspection of Skyline Tuesday, and declared the common areas unfit for human occupancy after finding many of the same problems that have plagued the complex for at least two years. The Office of the Attorney General has been investigating Green National for almost a year in response to reports of poor living conditions at its Skyline, Chestnut, James, and Vincent properties. All of them comprise more than 1,200 units. AG James says she hopes the Greens sell the properties to a more responsible owner.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at srwillis@syr.edu.
Gabriel is a graduate student at the Newhouse School at Syracuse, with an M.S. expected in the summer of 2022. Gabriel is a writer for Syracuse on SI and a proud member of the NLGJA. Follow him on Twitter at @gabe_julien.