The Lansing City Council voted 5-2 to pass a resolution of ‘no confidence’ regarding the Lansing Housing Commission Board of Commissioners. Councilmember At-Large Kathie Dunbar voted no on the resolution as did 4th Ward Councilman Brian Jackson. Councilmembers Carol Wood, Adam Hussain, Jody Washington, Jeremy Garza and Patricia Spitzley all voted in favor of the resolution, while Councilmember At-Large Peter Spadafore was absent.
The move is symbolic, as the council has no authority over the body. But the Council has been pushing the agency for years on transparency related to the care and upkeep in its 800 plus properties in the city. Of special concern has been the property at 3200 South Washington. The property has been referred to as “the tower of terror” because of violence, harassment, guns, drugs and human fecal matter in common areas residents have said. But the issue really went into overdrive when a 43-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son perished in a fire at the LaRoy Froh housing complex.
Fire investigators have determined that fire was accidental, and caused, most likely, by wiring inside the wall in the kitchen. However, city officials learned shortly after the fire in June that the unit in question had been inspecting in 2016 and numerous issues had been found. City officials have not found any evidence that the “honor code” which allows landlords to certify they have completed necessary work was ever followed for that property.
Nearly a hundred pages of inspection reports from three multi-unit facilities owned by the agency and released by the city show significant code violations related to fire safety and things like mold. Those facilities include 3200 South Washington, Hildebrandt on Turner St., and Mt. Vernon on Waverly Rd.
Commission Chair Tony Baltimore confirmed exclusively to Lansing’s Online News at the end of June that he was not seeking to be reappointed to the position, which expired last year. City Council President Carol Wood called on Baltimore to resign immediately rather than wait for Lansing Mayor Andy Schor to identify and appoint his replacement. Baltimore has made it clear he will not resign until that replacement is found.
“It’s not time to cut and run,” he said.