Towne Gardens violations 'being addressed' but more pending

May 11, 2015

An attorney representing the out-of-town owners of the federally-subsidized Towne Gardens apartment complex in Buffalo suggested five housing complaints against the owners have been or are being addressed. More than 90 additional violations, however, are pending.

Back in March, New York City-based Platinum Management Group was cited for five violations at the apartment complex, located on Clinton near Jefferson in Buffalo's Ellicott District. Monday morning in Buffalo Housing Court, attorney Scott Duquin appeared before Judge Patrick Carney with photos and work orders to show that progress has been made.

"The majority of those original five have been resolved," he said outside the courtroom. "There were some broken windows, there were some door locks. Those have been addressed."

Still pending from the original five complaints is the issue of parking lot and other external lighting, which is said to be not entirely functional. Duquin was asked about when the lights may be fixed.

"In fairness to Towne Gardens, the notice from the city is just very general. It doesn't describe... it just says parking lot lights out," he said. "We're in the process of addressing those but as to the other four (violations), I believe all of those have been addressed."

The city, meanwhile, contends not all the work orders presented have been signed by residents. Buffalo Common Councilmember Rev. Darius Pridgen, who represents the Towne Gardens neighborhood, says city inspectors need to come out and verify that reported work has actually been finished.

"A piece of paper doesn't show that the work has been completed," Pridgen said. "Anybody can sign off on a piece of paper. It needs to be inspected by city inspectors in order to show that those have been completed."

In addition to the five violations addressed in court, at least 90 more are expected to be added to the case. Duquin said his client has put in an "aggressive" program to address new violations and work to ensure those do not end up in court.

"Most of that work is actually a problem that's throughout the Western New York area. We had a bad winter. It's roof work. It's gutter work. It's eave work," Duquin said.

Rev. Pridgen said outside the courtroom he is satisfied that some work has been done but added more needs to be done.

"Some of the residents are complaining that the repairs that have been done are on empty apartments and not on the ones occupied," he said.

Speaking in court was one woman who claimed her apartment remains in a state of semi-repair and complained that her requests to be relocated have been ignored. Her address, though, was not among the original five citations before Judge Carney.

Both sides will be back in court on July 2.

"I am encouraged that the attorney (for Towne Gardens) is talking back to the city attorney, but I think there is some breakdown when it comes to management and the owners in really getting this fixed," Pridgen said.