By Leisa Zigman I-Team Reporter
ST. LOUIS COUNTY (KSDK) - Don't mess with Emma Jean! That is the message for owners of a senior housing complex that Emma Jean Perry claims is taking advantage of disabled seniors. So, she reached out to the I-Team's Leisa Zigman who got results for all the residents.
This is not the first time Raintree Senior Apartments in north St. Louis County has been in the news. Two years ago a fire gutted one of the complexes. The burnt-out shell still remains. Some residents said that shell is a hazard to residents and their guests.
"Every single person in that property is a senior citizen, disabled with multiple ailments," said Emma Jean Perry.
Within the first two minutes of interviewing Emma Jean, management of the 612 unit complex showed up and kicked us off the property. We explained we were guests of a tenant, but that did not matter. We were told we had to leave.
When we couldn't use our camera's to take pictures, Emma Jean stepped in. She took pictures of stagnant water in what is supposed to be the community pool.
She showed us the broken elevators and steep steps disabled seniors have to navigate, as a result.
She also sent us a picture of what looks like a small sinkhole, a picture of mold, and rotting debris that litters parts of the complex.
"The management and owners do what they want, which is nothing but collect rent," she said.
The building is owned by Mary Wolf, who filed for bankruptcy protection last year at the Eagleton Federal Courthouse.
Since some seniors at Raintree get federal rental assistance, we called the St. Louis County Housing Authority. They sent out an inspector and he agreed there was a safety concern and immediate repairs were needed. The agency is giving Raintree until the end of the month to repair the elevators and fill in the large hole in the ground.
The problem is, whatever money is left, is tied up in bankruptcy court. Unless the judge agrees to release funds, the disabled seniors at Raintree may have to continue to use the stairs.
"I've had it hard, I've worked all my life, worked hard all my life and now I'm a senior citizen and the benefits that I'm supposed to get because I worked hard all my life. These people are taking it from me," said Emma Jean.
U.S. Bank is foreclosing on the property. A trustee with U.S. Bankruptcy Court is offering to help if tenants have immediate safety concerns. You can contact Paul Randolph at 314-539-2984. Or Paul.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do you have a story Leisa should investigate and possibly expose? Contact her by email email@example.com, Twitter @leisazigman, or phone 314-444-5295. We are always looking for your tips and feedback.