LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a lawsuit Wednesday against the parent company of the Little Rock apartment complex Big Country Chateau.
Rutledge said the suit was filed against the Apex Equity Group for violations of the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act. The attorney general explained that the act was violated because the owners of the apartment complex failed to use the tenants’ payments for water and electric bills.
Rutledge also added that the company will face a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. She noted that there are 151 units in the complex, meaning the company could face a $1.5 million lawsuit if there is at least one violation per apartment unit.
A Working 4 You investigation brought attention to the living conditions at the apartment complex. In July, the Central Arkansas Water company posted flyers in the complex informing residents that their water services would be discontinued September 1.
Complaints prompted Little Rock city officials to inspect the complex, finding more than 1,000 violations. On the same day of the inspection, Entergy Arkansas posted flyers saying that the complex’s electricity would be discontinued on September 1. However, a spokesperson said that the decision was reversed.
Pictures from Rutledge seemed to confirm what tenants say they’ve experienced: unhealthy living conditions. A group of tenants penned a letter in July to Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and the city Board of Directors, writing:
“We live in apartments that are substandard and a danger to our health with mold, roaches, water and sewage leaks, and other problems.”PENNED LETTER FROM TENANTS TO MAYOR
In addition to the lawsuit, Rutledge said that the complaint asked the court to prohibit the apartment complex from renting out new tenants as health violations exist.