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Residents went three days without running water at unlicensed ALFs

The living room at an assisted living facility at 3418 Second Ave S that was one of two shut down by the authorities on April 19. Both were run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health. Officers discovered deplorable conditions in the homes, including no running water, no power, and broken windows. Records show residents at both facilities went without water for three days. [CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times]
The living room at an assisted living facility at 3418 Second Ave S that was one of two shut down by the authorities on April 19. Both were run by Tampa Bay Behavioral Health. Officers discovered deplorable conditions in the homes, including no running water, no power, and broken windows. Records show residents at both facilities went without water for three days. [CHERIE DIEZ | Times]
Published Apr. 30, 2018

ST. PETERSBURG — Three days.

That's how long residents of two unlicensed assisted living facilities went without running water before authorities shut the facilities down last month.

And once those buildings were shuttered, St. Petersburg police said, the company that couldn't pay its water bills took residents to another location that also didn't have running water.

That company was Tampa Bay Behavioral Health. It ran the unlicensed facilities at 3418 and 3434 Second Ave. S. The city's Public Works Department said it turned off the water at those addresses on April 16 after the company's checks repeatedly bounced.

Police and the Department of Children and Families closed the facilities on April 19, three days later. Together, both properties owe almost $4,000 to the city.

Lack of water was just one of the "deplorable conditions" police cited when they shut down the facilities, located inside adjacent houses just west of 34th Street S.

One of the houses was stealing power using a dangerous homemade mechanism that bypassed the building's power meter, city officials said, which is a major fire hazard. The other didn't have power at all. One hardly had any edible food in it and the floor was falling apart.

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Both properties were cited for several code infractions, and code compliance officers ruled the buildings uninhabitable.

The DCF took the displaced adults into its custody and found them other places to stay.

Tampa Bay Behavioral Health and the company that owns the properties, Marcus Real Estate Trust LLC, are both owned by Marcus Anderson, according to state business records. He's also a principal in Blue Oasis LLC, which owns an unlicensed adult entertainment venue on Fourth Street S.

The venue, called the Sugar Room, was the site of an April 2 shooting that left a 33-year-old man dead and another man injured, police said. Three people have been arrested in connection to that shooting.

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According to city officials, the two unlicensed assisted living facilities paid their water bills using the same account name: Tampa Bay Behavioral Real Estate. State business records do not list such an entity.

A check for $1,852.28 to pay the water bill at the 3418 Second Ave. S property was rejected by a bank for insufficient funds on Feb. 15, the city said. And water service there was previously turned off in October.

In all, Tampa Bay Behavioral Real Estate owes the city more than $2,700 in unpaid water bills for that address.

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Likewise, a check of $862.03 to pay the bill at the 3434 Second Ave. S property bounced in March, public works officials said. That property has an outstanding water bill of $1,217.32.

After the two Second Avenue S properties were ruled uninhabitable, police said, a Tampa Bay Behavioral Health van hauled off residents to 345 and 351 15th St. N, which are owned by Anderson's father. But those addresses also didn't have running water, said police spokeswoman Yolanda Fernandez, so the state stepped in and took those residents into its care.

DCF officials said they relocated seven "vulnerable adults" from the two uninhabitable Second Avenue S properties, but would not confirm if they provided aid to people at the 15th Street locations. The department opened an institutional adult protection investigation, officials said.

St. Petersburg police said they, too, have a detective investigating this matter to determine if criminal charges are warranted.

Property records show the 345 and 351 15th St. N addresses are owned by Curtis and Velyn Anderson. City officials confirmed Curtis Anderson has outstanding water bills at both addresses, and water service was shut off to those homes on April 19 — the very same day police said that Marcus Anderson relocated residents there.

There's also a water bill due for another property owned by Marcus Real Estate Trust LLC at 4930 Fourth Ave. S. The city said a woman named Chantal, who identified herself to staff as an assistant with Tampa Bay Behavioral Health, requested on Feb. 15 the water be turned off at that address after a $751.97 check bounced the week before.

The Fourth Avenue S property appeared unoccupied last week. It was unclear if that property was administered by Tampa Bay Behavorial Health.

Public works officials said accounts that are 30 days past-due can be shut off, but officials always make numerous attempts to reach the customer before it comes to that.

When the Tampa Bay Times reached Marcus Anderson by phone this week, he hung up.

Contact Josh Solomon at (813) 909-4613 or jsolomon@tampabay.com. Follow @ByJoshSolomon.