FAIRFIELD — Absentee landlords and a dysfunctional homeowners association board are primary causes of crime and other problems at Parkway Gardens, says the man appointed to oversee the association for the condominium development.
Ben McGrew, appointed by the Solano County Superior Court as receiver after a Parkway Gardens resident’s legal challenge to the homeowners association, said that about 170 of the 240 units are rented and that crimes and other problems almost always involve rentals.
“It is these units and the inaction of irresponsible owners that have caused or significantly contributed to the problems,” McGrew wrote in a court filing earlier this month.
Fairfield City Councilwoman Catherine Moy agrees with McGrew about the condominium complex, where a Dec. 9 shooting left a man wounded about 15 feet from the pool and a Jan. 3 homicide on El Verano Court killed Terrell Brumfield, 21, of Fairfield.
Moy said condo owners who rent units don’t screen tenants well.
“Some people who are bad actors will be evicted from one condo and another owner will let them rent,” she said. “These people hop from one condo to another,” Moy said.
Much of the crime at the complex involves marijuana sales, she said.
Parkway Gardens ends up with people who are magnets for “other bad actors from throughout the city and throughout the Bay Area,” she said.
The situation spurred the City Council’s approval Tuesday of an urgency ordinance to expand municipal powers for tenant screening and other goals, Moy said.
“We are not going to tolerate this behavior by the people who are absentee landlords,” the councilwoman said.
She said the city is pouring many police resources into the condominium complex when Fairfield doesn’t have enough officers to handle everything taking place in the community.
“We need these resources” to police elsewhere in Fairfield, Moy said, “instead of inside Parkway Gardens all the time.”
The Solano County Superior Court appointed McGrew as receiver after Janice Eaton, who lives at Parkway Gardens, filed a 2013 legal challenge to the homeowners association. The association, on which Eaton once served as a director, failed to maintain the required five-member board, and the city of Fairfield in a later filing stated that the lack of a board affects the ability to police crime and enforce city codes at the development built in the 1970s.
McGrew in his court filing this month stated that he has informed the company hired to provide armed security guards that their contract is ending. McGrew is seeking other security companies with more specific experience about the situation Parkway Gardens faces.
McGrew also wrote that nearly $300,000 in outstanding homeowner association dues are uncollected and some date back more than eight years. Some condo units have unpaid dues of more than $40,000, he stated.
The court receiver also said he’s engaged a certified public accountant to review financial statements of the homeowners association and to prepare state and federal tax returns. Efforts to attract candidates to serve on the association board, McGrew noted, have produced only a few applicants for the five-member panel.
Before he began his receivership work, four condo units along Del Sur Court burned and the association board didn’t remedy the problem, McGrew said. He has worked with insurers and contractors for $207,100 in contracts for work at the sites, the receiver said.
Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or [email protected]