Peppertree Apartments owner asked for answers on resort conditions
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Residents of Peppertree Apartments in Whitehaven have been crying foul for years, and now several families are homeless after an arson attack on Tuesday.
Shelby County District Attorney Amy Weirich heard those screams as loud as anyone. She says she and the Memphis Police are frustrated.
As a district attorney, she can silence neighborhood nuisances that become a haven for crime. She already did.
But Weirich says closing Peppertree Apartments is easier said than done, with some 1,000 residents living there.
“Ninety-seven percent of tenants are women and children,” Weirich said. “To shut them down and kick everyone out is a pretty extreme measure. “
But she says her office is putting together a case to take to the environmental court and ordering them changes.
“We’re looking at all the tools we have, not only in the prosecutor’s office toolbox, but I know MPD is looking at what they can do,” Weirich said.
Peppertree’s management company, TESCO, was brought to justice in 2006 for violence and crime. It was not closed, but they were unable to bring in new tenants.
They agreed to things like posting signs and installing fences, so the order was turned down later that year. But it is clear that the problems are still there.
“There is always a responsibility of the owner and management of the properties to provide safe housing,” Weirich said.
For years, WREG tried to get a response from TESCO about Peppertree. No one would even return our calls. So we went to their office in Germantown.
After a few minutes of knocking, a woman appeared and said no one was speaking to the media.
“We’ve all called you about problems at Peppertree’s house, but no one has ever called us back,” we told her.
“I cannot answer that question,” replied the woman.
Another worker came out, saw our camera, and quickly spun back and forth behind closed doors.
We asked the woman who this person was. “It’s none of your business,” she replied before closing the door.
After years of frustration from their tenants, TESCO had nothing to say. But Weirich says his desk is on it.
“Our hearts break for the people who live there and feel trapped literally and figuratively,” Weirich said. “We’re listening.”
Frustrated residents hope so.
“We don’t deserve this. We don’t deserve this and they don’t want to do anything, ”resident Anderlyn Hunter told us in tears.
Peppertree is also subsidized housing. They get federal assistance to provide housing for low-income residents.
We are told that this could be an avenue, to see if they comply with federal housing guidelines.
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