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Mohawk Hills dispute headed for jury trial

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By Pete Smith

A dispute over maintenance issues at the Mohawk Hills apartment complex at the intersection of Keystone Parkway and 126th Street is likely headed to court. When code enforcement officers with the city of Carmel issued nine citations in March to the company that manages the complex, Mohawk Associates, the company decided to seek a jury trial instead of paying the fines associated with the tickets, according to court records.

City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit, but Current in Carmel was able to obtain copies of the citations, court records and photographs of the violations through public records requests.

The nine citations involved in the lawsuit were for multiple fire code violations related to electrical hazards and fire walls, accumulation of junk/rubbish and maintaining a public nuisance.

Forty one photographs of the violations show instances of:

  • Old trash bags left outside that had been chewed up by animals
  • Dirty diapers and piles of dog waste left in grass on the property
  • Fallen screen doors and shutters that were left against the sides of buildings
  • Rotted wood on balconies
  • Old or rusted railings on interiors stairs and exterior balconies
  • Broken windows and doors
  • Repeated instances of damaged roofing
  • Jagged metal hazards left exposed in a parking lot
  • Rusty metal and mold in mechanical rooms
  • Exterior wall issues, such as missing masonry
  • Interior corridors that need new paint and carpet
  • Failures with interior and exterior plumbing
  • Exposed and damaged electrical wiring

City records show the pool at the apartment complex was closed for two days in May because duct tape was found covering wires in the electrical box by the pool.

The city also maintains a file of more than 200 hundred photographs of other code violations taken in 2013 that weren’t cited.

That’s because city code enforcement procedures don’t require immediate citation.

The city usually follows a procedure that begins with a phone call notifying an owner of a violation. If it is neglected, inspectors use meetings, emails and inspections to try and resolve the violation before finally issuing a ticket. At that point the owner has the right to request a jury trial.

The lawyer for Mohawk Associates, Zeff Weiss, declined to comment for this story.

Mohawk Associates is a subsidiary of Buckingham Co., the Indianapolis-based development company which purchased the apartment complex in 2004 with plans to redevelop the complex and adjoining golf course into a new community with high-rise apartments known as Gramercy.

The project was shelved during the economic downturn but recently revived. The city council approved a scaled-down version of the Gramercy project in August 2012 that would have maintained the existing Mohawk Hills buildings as part of the new development.

But no construction has begun on the site.

Buckingham spokesperson Tim Coxey declined to comment about the status of the project saying in a November email, “There are no new updates to report regarding the project.”

The case will likely go a jury trial sometime in 2014 in Hamilton Superior Court 5.


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