"This morning on NPR, Harry Belafonte noted that his mother said, "Never let an injustice pass unchallenged." Let's say there is an apartment complex containing about 120 units of elderly and disabled renters. The average rent (utilities included) is at least $600/month, heavily subsidized by the State and HUD. If the complex is 90% full, it grosses about $64,800 a month. It has only three full time employees, some part time employees and a number of sporadic contractors. Then let's say the out-of-state owner hires a new manager, firing the old one literally at her husband's death bed. I have some questions about that.
Is it right for this new manager to stop answering the emergency medical bell pulls after hours, leaving them to an answering machine or service? Particularly when this leads to a near death for one elderly and disabled resident who got sick.
Is it right for this manager and her maintenance man to tell residents repeatedly that broken plumbing will be taken care of "tomorrow", then leave it broken for up to a month?
Is it right for this manager to make only superficial cosmetic changes, and then call the complex "resort style living",? Especially when the amenities the manager takes credit for are some coin-operated laundry machines, an independent beauty contractor, and a number of things that the residents have provided or died and left behind, like computers, books, and often broken exercise equipment that the manager does not maintain.
After the previous manager took care of regularly testing and refurbishing the apartment fire detectors, usually about seven feet above the floor, is it right for this manager to demand that residents should be responsible for them, also demanding that the residents, even those too crippled to walk, test them "at least once a month".
Is if right for the manager to threaten or take away shopping carts, donated by Walmart, that the residents use to move furniture and heavy shopping bags, or just to use as a walker, just because it doesn't fit the manager's image of "resort style living"?
Is it right for the manager to make many of the residents so terrified of eviction that they fear to criticize or challenge the management openly, and in one case, even to report part of a ceiling fallen in.
Is it right, when the vast majority of residents are elderly, or disabled, or require oxygen and other special medical help, or are just waiting to die of a terminal disease, for the manager to proclaim in disgust that "this isn't a rest home", that it is a retirement resort. And then advertise online on a site that promotes assisted living.
Is it right for this manager to proclaim to a resident, subject to previous drug theft and worried about master keys unchanged for for over five years, that anyone in the management can come into the resident's apartment at any time, for any reason, without prior notice?
Is it right for this manager to verbally abuse another retired resident, trying to get that one to move when no reason can be found to evict?
Is it right, when long term, long-suffering residents move out the manager's control, for this manager to call ordinary wear and tear on carpets and paint "damage" and charge hundreds of dollars for "repairs"? Especially when the management's web ads make one resident's ornate living quarters look like the norm, and takes credit for it.
When a resident cannot be around to supervise a move, is it right for this manager to harass moving company personnel, demanding that they get things packed immediately, or else the property will be thrown in the trash the next day? Particularly when over a thousand dollars of property comes up missing, and the most of the rest is packed like pick-up sticks in boxes too large for the resident to move by hand.
Is it right that the out-of-state owner thinks that this is the ethical and proper way to treat residents?
When ambulances appear at least once a month at this complex, and at least one resident fears that this manager's actions could drive vulnerable seniors over the brink into the hospital and even death, is it right for the TPD to dismiss such concerns as not their problem, unless a resident turns up dead of violence?
When a resident becomes concerned about these issues, is it right for Adult Protective Services to ignore repeated e-mail complaints?
When a resident is both concerned about these issues and ready to defend against home invasion from any quarter, is it right for the District Attorney's Office to call this resident a "terrorist"? Especially without bothering to check with the resident's neighbors to determine the truth?
Has it come down to the point that a business person in Tulsa can make any false and misleading advertisement, commit any abuse and make any accusation with the willing support of the TPD, the Sheriff's Office, District Attorney's Office and the local Courts, merely because the opposing party is not a business person, or just has some unpopular disability?
The manager in question no longer works for the apartment complex. But reportedly, the out-of-state owner regretting losing the manager to a better job, and the residents are still too frightened of eviction to openly discuss or testify about what happened. Is this the way that Tulsa proudly expects its elderly, sick and disabled to live out their last years?"