Owners abandon Natchez apartments

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2011

NATCHEZ — Managers and owners of the Brumfield School Apartments recently abandoned ship, leaving residents to wade in the mess left behind, some said.

At Monday’s Natchez Board of Aldermen meeting, Ward 4 Alderman Ernest “Tony” Fields said Brumfield School Apartments former management left the apartments in “deplorable” condition.

Former manager and owner of the apartments, Stafford Management Industry, slipped letters under residents doors Jan. 27 and in the mayor’s mailbox Jan. 25 saying they will no longer be running the building starting Feb. 1.

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Stafford Management also formerly owned and operated Oak Towers Apartments, which it has also abandoned.

Brumfield has approximately 30 apartments with approximately 12 of them being used, residents said.

The Brumfield complex’s garbage receptacle was taken away weeks ago when management failed to pay Waste Management, bills, Brumfield resident Doris Marvel said.

Marvel said she complained to Fields a few days ago about the garbage and the city made sure a bin was placed at the apartment complex. But that bin has since been removed.

Two house trashcans are now collecting trash for the entire complex in place of the receptacles, Marvel said.

Marvel said living conditions have been bad for at least a year.

“I wouldn’t call it living, existing,” Marvel said.

She said although her apartment is clean, she is worried about the lack of security in the building because anyone can walk in and break in the nearly 20 vacant apartments.

Her own apartment door was recently kicked in, she said.

Marvel said the hallways are also filled with terrible stenches at times because the vacant rooms were never cleared or cleaned.

She said someone would probably need a gas mask to enter some vacant apartments, which she suspects contain pet droppings.

Fields said the city has had problems with Brumfield Apartments Management in past for failing to pay their bills for trash, heating and cooling.

Marvel said she wants to move out, but she cannot find any vacancies in town.

“I can’t find anything, but if I found (a place) tonight I would leave this place,” she said.

She said residents were also locked out of the laundry room since management decided leave.

Resident Dan Gaddis said the letter he received from the former manager said the new management and owners would notify residents of its future plans.

“Let’s work together to make this (transition) as smooth as possible,” the letter said.

Fields said he was surprised to receive the letter at such short-notice.

“The letter about them giving up their two buildings up, that came out of nowhere,” Fields said.

“When it first opened it was a really nice and state-of-the-art, and it is just been completely run into the ground,” Fields said.

In the letter from the former manager to the mayor that Fields read at Monday’s meeting, a name and phone number were listed as a contact until new management takes over.

The contact information was not provided in the letters to the residents of Brumfield School apartments.

Calls to the contact number in the letter placed by The Democrat were not returned. Fields said he was also unable to reach anyone at the contact number provided.

City Clerk Donnie Holloway said the city has a second mortgage on the apartments. He said a local bank has the first mortgage.

City Attorney Everett Sanders said he cannot say for sure who is responsible for the upkeep of the apartment complex in the interim, but he plans to look into discovering more information about the new management, owners and their intentions with the building very soon.

“I will be working on that next week to provide concrete answers,” he said Friday.

Stanford Management, a private full-service property management firm, oversees 2,000 units located throughout Maine, Pennsylvania, Mississippi and Connecticut.

The firm formerly owned two properties in Natchez — Brumfield and Oak Tower Apartments.