City To Act Against Slumlord After NBC10 Gets Tenant Gripes

The city of Philadelphia said it plans to take legal action against one landlord after tenants complained to the NBC 10 Investigators. Lu Ann Cahn got things moving when tenants said they'd lost hope.

Many people complain about their landlord but two things got the Investigators' attention in this case -- a report that said a building was dangerous to human life and the owner of the building is a man who saves lives.

"OK, my bathroom door, it can't shut," Shreeta Medley, a tenant, said. "All the door handles are off. All my plugs, my plugs, all of them are off."

Medley lives in a Hunting Park apartment building on Old York Road.

"This smell is coming into my apartment," Medley said.

She said she wants out and her $2,000 deposit back.

Medley said she pays $675 a month to share a two-bedroom apartment with her sister. She said she found the apartment on a Web site that looked beautiful online.

"This is like a crack house, you might as well say. They climb through the windows come and spend the night," Medley said. "We had someone right here, having sex in my hallway."

Medley said she's called the owner.

"He tells you call management -- I'm only the owner," she said.

Medley said she was told he was out of the country.

"He's not locateable. I cannot find him," Medley said.

NBC 10 found him.

"I'm looking for Dr. Chukwunenye? Am I saying that right?" NBC 10's Lu Ann Cahn said into the phone.

Dr. Obasi Chukwunenye wasn't in another country, just in New Jersey at a medical center.

"You're a medical doctor and there are violations here that are very serious," Cahn said.

Chukwunenye is a graduate of Temple Medical School and was at the World Union Wound Healing Society Planning Committee. He didn't want to speak with NBC 10.

"You don't have time for that?" Cahn said.

Philadelphia License and Inspection has wanted to talk to him, too.

The L&L commissioner said the doctor has been sent numerous notices with a laundry list of violations. In May, his apartment building was called dangerous to human life because of an inoperable fire alarm system.

After NBC 10 calls, L&L said it appeared to be fixed but not inspected.

NBC 10 found problems with the emergency lighting system. There was evidence of rodents and insects and problems with the windows, drains and the doorframes.

Meanwhile, the city said Chukwunenye hasn't paid a single water bill since he bought the building two years ago and owes over $50,000. Tenants had their water turned off one day because of it.

Ambrose Chukwunenye, Obasi's brother, first agreed to speak with NBC 10 on camera but then changed his mind.

Ambrose Chukwunenye did say he renovated the building when his brother bought it two years ago and that the $50,000 water bill is a mistake and that Darryl Barksdale, the maintenance man, responds to tenant complaints.

He did fix a nasty drain NBC 10 saw but there were more problems and more tenants who said there were still problems.

"This door is wide open. That one there, the magnetism, I had to put a new magnet in this morning," one tenant said.

"Nobody comes, nobody cares," another tenant said.

"I was without hot water and I have a 2-year-old. Nobody got back to me about anything," another tenant said.

The tenants said they worry the water will be turned off again.

"Me and my sister would literally not have anywhere to go if this place, if the water gets shut off in here, nowhere. So it's like what are we supposed to do?" Medley said.

Chukwunenye told NBC 10 that Medley can move but wouldn't get her deposit back for a month. She said she couldn’t afford to do that.

L&L said it's moving forward to take legal action.

If you have complaints about a landlord contact:

  • Tenants Union Representative Network
  • Mayor's Action Center

  • Landlord & Tenant Court
    34 S. 11 Street
    Phila, PA 19107
    Room 490
    215 686 7990

    Contact Us