Current owner Sam Perelman began his remarks by citing "a lot of misinformation" at the town meeting called by three City Council members. He echoed the timeline Sanchez had explained, the property being built in 1982 with a 50-year "payment in lieu of taxes" agreement. There was also a 30-year management plan with the Housing Authority of Plainfield. In 2009, the senior partner died and Perelman said he met with HAP staff, but was not allowed in the complex.
Perelman said he "knocked on nine doors" and took pictures and statements.
"I saw things I was disgusted by,' he said.
His investigation led to a lawsuit that was settled by not having HAP manage the complex any more, and the owner sought the "biggest and best" management company, which he identified as Interstate. He said for 78 of the 96 units, improvements included 105 refrigerators and stoves, 38 cabinets, 25 new hot water heaters, new roofs on all buildings, re-tiled bathrooms and window bars.
"We did everything," he said.
He said his company "looked very hard" to find a new owner and settled on Tryko, which owns 6,000 units.
"We're at a crossroads now," he said.
The PILOT was brought to the council on April 8 and did not get moved to the agenda.
"We want Tryko to be the new owner," he said.
Regarding use of a community room, he said it was necessary to use it as a staging are for the repairs, which other speakers said resulted in the complex going from an unacceptable rating from HUD to a much higher one.
He asked the council members, all seven of whom attended the meeting, to please vote for the PILOT agreement.
In another revelation, a former manager at the complex told residents, "There are things in place to prevent the kind of things you were subject to."
She said the property was never registered with the state Department of Community Affairs and so was never inspected for 26 years. The state usually inspects multi-family dwellings every five years. However, HUD inspections revealed sub-par conditions that yielded unacceptable scores.A new manager was able to improve the Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) scores.
(David Rutherford's Plainfield View has video of most of this. See and hear for yourself.)
4/22 correction from Bridget Rivers
1st I would like to say thanks for coming out last night. I just want to make one correction I did say I would not push to have a special meeting until I have everything that was mentioned in WRITING.
The residents were promised many things in the past which were not delivered, and there is nothing in writing from the owners to substantiate that. I do not want the same thing to happen again.
I was not there when the now owners took over management from the housing authority so I have nothing to do with what was done in the past, but I can speak up for the residents now.
I will have a special meeting to make sure the deadlines are meet.
I also would like for the new potential owners to meet with the residents. You must know no matter what I have the residents best interest at heart.
Guys I cannot allow the residents to get burnt on this one. Please understand. As always your I appreciate constructive criticism.