SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Three tenants have filed a class action lawsuit against Skyline Apartments and building owners Tim and Troy Green for their alleged “pattern of exploitation” of low-income tenants.
“The Greens have failed in every aspect of building management except collecting rent,” the lawsuit states.
In an interview with NewsChannel 9, one of the named tenants, Larry Fuller says, “We are humans. We have the right to live here in peace and safety. We’re not getting that.”
The lawsuit was filed with the professional support of Legal Services of Central New York, a non-profit group of lawyers who are grant-funded instead of paid by client fees.
The lead attorney, Joseph Maslak, tells NewsChannel 9: “Under New York law, every lease includes a promise by the landlord to maintain the property in a safe, clean, habitable condition. The Greens have not.”
The 18-page lawsuit reemphasize similar complaints that have been revealed through the intense scrutiny of the building since the murder of 93-year-old Connie Tuori and the City of Syracuse’s legal action against the property.
On March 17, Tuori’s body was found in her 12th floor unit three weeks after police say 23-year-old Victoria Afet tortured her to death.
Tuori’s surviving neighbors have since advocated for security and cleanliness improvements to the building.
A class action lawsuit means current tenants, and people who lived in the building at anytime since the Greens purchased it in December of 2016, might be entitled to compensation in return for their living conditions.
The lawsuit lists numerous complaints about the building, its management and the Green Family ownership:
- Firing full-time security hired by previous owners, replacing them with building staff
- Failure to install security cameras in stairwells
- Trespassers getting into the building, resulting in drug use, drug sales, robberies and assaults
- Trash, used drug needles, feces and urine littering stairwells and common areas
- Failure to maintain functioning elevators
The lawsuit lays out evidence arguing that the ownership and management knew about the living conditions, but failed to take action.
Since Tuori’s murder and pressure from the City of Syracuse to clean up the property, the Green Family has touted improvements.
Asked if he’s seen the improvements, tenant Larry Fuller answers, “in some ways, yes. In some ways, no.”
Fuller says he and other tenants hope to one day feel comfortable enough to invite friends and family members over to their units. Some tenants with partial custody of children aren’t allowed to host them.
“I hope the lawsuit wakes Troy Green up,” says Fuller. “He needs to take responsibility.”
Responding to NewsChannel 9’s request for comment, Troy Green says he has to review the entire lawsuit first.
The attorney says it’s too early to know how much money each tenant could get.
People invited to the class will be contacted by mail or can call Legal Services of Central New York at (315) 703-6500.