Eureka Garden Residents Call For Complex's Condemnation

Oct 22, 2015

Pastor Mark Griffin of Wayman Ministries, flanked by Eureka Garden residents, is calling on city officials to condemn all the complex's buildings until the property owner, Rev. Richard Hamlet, complies with repairs.
Credit Ryan Benk / WJCT News

A little more than a week after the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development voided a passing grade for languishing apartment complex Eureka Garden, residents say they want the complex condemned.

Tenants say their health has been affected by unsanitary conditions, including mold and a recent gas leak.

Pastor Mark Griffin of Wayman Ministries condemned fellow believer Rev. Richard Hamlet and his Global Ministries Foundation, which manages the troubled property Thursday.

Griffin says Jacksonville should apply more pressure to Hamlet by attacking his wallet.

“Perhaps the only way we’re going to get the attention of this owner is by impacting his revenue stream,” Griffin says. “Condemnation of one building at a time until we see some action should become a priority, and we know it is a priority of our mayor and his administration.”

Also included in Griffin’s series of demands was the assertion Hamlet should pay for residents’ health care after they were sickened by a gas leak, the revocation of Eureka’s property tax exemption status and Global Ministries Foundation’s abdication of management responsibility.

A few tenants at Eureka Garden found this notice on their front doors.
Credit Ryan Benk / WJCT News

Only some residents were vaguely warned by property managers their gas would be undergoing repairs, but most were unaware and as a result four were hospitalized for complications stemming from a leak. Property managers have since published a news release, “expressing its sincerest apologies for the inconvenience a recent gas leak has caused its residents.”

A recently completed city inspection of a single portion of the troubled complex revealed close to 200 code violations including crumbling stairs and painted over mold.

Since news broke about Eureka’s conditions, residents have also reported non-uniformed maintenance appearing in their apartments unannounced, fixing or covering up deficiencies.

Pastor Griffin is now calling on Jacksonville residents to attend a rally at his church in support of Eureka’s residents next Monday at 6 p.m.

“We need to show this owner, who does not live in our city, and the highest level of federal HUD in Washington, D.C. that we care about every resident in our city,” Griffin says.