Troubled Apartments' Owners Told To Return Welfare Payments

Housing Authority Wants $300,000 In Payments Returned

The Indianapolis Housing Authority has asked owners of the crime-ridden Phoenix apartment complex to return more than $300,000 in federal welfare payments.

A spotlight has shone on the complex in the days since TaJanay Bailey, 3, was killed there in late November.

Officials said the complex failed to disclose required information to qualify for the payments.

The area around the complex, near 38th Street and North Sherman Drive, is one of the most prolific crime zones in the city.

According to police, there is more crime on the street that runs through the apartment complex than on any other block in the city, 6News' Cheryl Jackson reported.

Police said the apartment in which TaJanay died was overrun with roaches, mice and trash. The girl's mother, Charity Bailey, and her boyfriend, Lawrence Green, both 20, were charged with murder. Police said the girl was repeatedly beaten.

"What happens is somebody comes in and rents an apartment and then a boyfriend moves in or somebody else not on the lease and is the problem," said Indianapolis Metro police Sgt. Paul Thompson.

Bud Myers, of the Indianapolis Housing Authority, said RCM Phoenix Partners, which owns the Phoenix apartments, supplied incorrect information to the agency to get federal aid. Myers also said there are other problems.

"They have had problems with real estate transactions … They have had charges of lead-based paint in some of their other units," Myers said.

Police have made moves in hopes of making the apartment complex safer.

"We've opened up a satellite site there," Thompson said. "We have had probation sweeps. We've had our neighborhood resources people go through with managers to identify people trespassing," Thompson said.

"Landlords have a responsibility to do background checks on their tenants," Myers said.

Federal rules require welfare landlords to disclose troubled business deals and legal problems. RCM was given until Dec. 14 to repay the money or challenge the order.

6News attempted to contact the Connecticut-based property managers Saturday, but calls were not returned.

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