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City, state leaders announce lawsuit against Indianapolis apartment complexes

The property owners of Berkley Commons and Capital Place Apartments owe Citizens Energy more than $1.3 million in past due utility bills.

INDIANAPOLIS — City and state leaders are coming together to hold the property owners of two south side apartment complexes accountable after Citizens Energy threatened to shut off water service in February.

The City of Indianapolis, the Indiana Attorney General's Office and Citizens Energy claim Berkley Commons LLC and JPC Affordable Housing — the owners of Berkley Commons and Capital Place Apartments — owe more than $1.3 million in past due utility bills. The three entities are filing three separate lawsuits against the property owners.

"A lot of this comes down to simple, honest leadership—bringing parties together to forge a solution—and our team has done a great job with that multiple times in situations like this," Attorney General Todd Rokita said in a press release.

In March, another troubled Indianapolis apartment complex, Lakeside Pointe at Nora, got a new owner after continued unsafe living conditions. Rokita's office sued the complex's owner in July 2021. He announced $7.5 million in relief for residents last month.

RELATED: Lakeside Pointe's new owner says 'rapid improvements' coming to troubled apartment complex

In addition to the money Citizens is seeking in its lawsuit, the company is asking for the creation of a trust to hold tenants' money for water, sewer and natural gas service. To this point, a portion of tenants' rent was reserved for utility payments, but the apartment complex has not used that money to pay Citizens.

"I pay my water, my gas and the rent to them and my bills are not being paid? I mean, where's the money going? I mean, if you look around out here, this place is really falling apart and they're not doing anything," said Kim Wren, Capital Place Apartments tenant.

RELATED: Citizens Energy Group shuts off water at 2 Indianapolis apartment complexes

"We are hopeful this legal action against Berkley Commons LLC and JPC Affordable Housing will result in the repayment of past-due bills and payment of future bills, so residents of the apartment complexes have continued access to utility service without our remaining customers having to bear the cost of the apartment owners’ unpaid utility bills," said Jeffrey Harrison, president and CEO of Citizens.

Hogsett said the city joined the state and Citizens in filing the lawsuit in an effort to keep thousands of residents in their homes.

"With today's partnership, we are stepping in to block what could otherwise end up as a mass eviction for hundreds of Indianapolis families," Hogsett said.

It was the city's $850,000 payment to Citizens Energy Group in February that kept the water on for residents.

Hogsett said the united front shown with the state and Citizens Energy will "maximize legal leverage" against the property owners.

MORE: Tenants livid after water shut off at 2 Indy apartment complexes

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