INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of Hoosiers are unsure if they'll have running water in their homes in a matter of weeks.
Citizens Energy sent a notice to the property owner of Lakeside Pointe and Fox Club Apartment complexes in Indianapolis, telling them about a large unpaid balance that could result in disconnected water services come August.
An original flyer claimed the residents had until July 5, but Citizens Energy clarified that’s not true and that they didn’t prepare or distribute the notice.
"First and foremost, we want to keep both apartments complexes active, but we have financial responsibilities to all our customers to make sure we collect a payment for our services," said Citizens Energy Group spokesperson Dan Considine. “This is something that has been going on for some time and needs to be resolved.”
Citizens Energy said it is working with the apartment complex owners to come up with a payment plan to avoid disconnecting water services.
They could not disclose how much is owed, but an advocate from Patchwork Indy said it’s around $1.2 million.
In the meantime, it’s leaving residents like John Brent with a tough decision, move or wait it out.
“It’s almost like you are walking in wet concrete. I feel like I am almost paralyzed on what to do,” he said.
Brent has lived at Lakeside Pointe in the Nora neighborhood for nine-and-a-half years. He’s debated leaving, but said it’s not that easy.
“I keep having hope that something is going to change. That is can’t get any worse,” Brent said.
But on Monday morning, he woke to find the letter in his door.
“I opened the door and it fell on the ground. I was expecting it to say they are turning the water off for two or three hours or whatever. When I read it, my stomach sunk,” he said.
The utilities are bundled with the rent, making residents wonder where the money is going.
“I have paid over $60,000 in rent and it’s like 'Where is the money going?'” Brent said.
The leasing office posted a correction of the notice on their door, but at the time, no one was inside to comment.
Aloft Management, who manages Lakeside Pointe, provided the following statement to 13News:
“Our company is currently working close with Citizens to come to a good resolution to continue to give our residents the utilities they need.
In the last couple years we have done everything in our power to repair several exteriors on the property as well as several interiors and will continue to do as many repairs as possible to make sure our residents are taken care of.
Pre-Covid our property had certain services such as translation Saturdays and a food pantry out front. We had also been working to add additional classes.
Once Covid came we were unable to hold the classes and different programs due to the pandemic. This is during the same times our city was shut down.
This last year has been extremely difficult for our country let alone many properties.
In regards to the fires we have done everything possible to work with the IFD as well as IMPD. We have shared as much information as possible to help catch who has been causing these fires on the property and will continue to do so. We really feel it is very unfortunate that certain people feel the need to damage or destroy our property and risk other individuals lives. We have also spoken with local police and offered to set up a substation on property to help combat some of the problems in the area. We are currently awaiting response from them.”
State lawmakers are also getting involved, asking Attorney General Todd Rokita to expedite their investigation.
Representatives Fady Qaddoura and Carey Hamilton sent a letter requesting the state shift ownership of the property to a different private group.
"Our ultimate goal is not state ownership of this property, rather the shifting of ownership from one private owner to another private owner with the reputation and credentials to keep the property operational and our constituents safe," the legislators wrote.