CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The federal government has filed a complaint to seize an apartment complex on the edge of Charlotte’s developing SouthEnd neighborhood.
The fed’s complaint, filed in September, says Brookhill Village Apartments harbors ongoing drug activity, citing numerous police reports where drugs were seized or were allegedly being sold at apartments on property.
Reports of criminal activity included in the complaint date back to 2011 and span until August of this year. The report says during that time, drugs such as marijuana, crack cocaine and heroin were all seized and on multiple occasions, there were also reports where police seized loaded guns.
According to the complaint, between April 25, 2011, and June 16, 2016, CMPD sent at least 53 certified letters to the owners of the property to notify them of the controlled substance violations and other crimes being committed on their property. The complaint says CMPD even made suggestions for reducing such crime, but they say the owners failed to act.
And after years of neglect the federal government is stepping in, something Pastor Ray McKinnon, with South Tryon Community Methodist Church, says was too big of a challenge for city officials.
“They are aware of it but there are certain things that I think their hands are tied by because of the ownership, but they trying,” said McKinnon.
His church sits beside the apartment complex and he says what he sees out his church window is disturbing, as many of the many of the apartments are in disrepair.
“It reminded me of like something you’d see in a documentary in a third world country.”
Brookhill Village spans 36 acres and lines the intersection of South Tryon Street and Remount Road. The apartments were first built in 1951 as affordable housing, but the complex has now found itself in the middle of one of Charlotte’s fastest growing corridors, SouthEnd.
Its owners are two wealthy high-profile real estate investors. According to the complaint, a company called Brookhill Land, affiliated with C.D. Spangler, who has a Forbes-estimated net worth of $3.3 billion, owns the land, while the apartment units themselves are owned by a separate company, Brookhill Village Two, LLC, which is managed by Greg Pappanastos.
We have kids, and if they do seize it and take it, like what are they going to do with the people? That’s a big concern,” says Laquonia Brown, who lives in Brookhill Village with her kids.
She says management is denying the claim the property could be seized, but she says she’s not taking any chances and is now looking for a new place to live.
“I’m not okay with them pushing us farther and farther out, but sometimes you know you got to do what you got to do I guess, and that’s what they’re doing,” says Brown.
There is no word on how long the process to seize the property could take. The federal complaint says all interested parties will have the chance “to appear and answer this complaint and show cause why the forfeiture of the Defendant Properties should not be decreed and granted.”
There is also no word on whether the two companies which own the property would help relocate current residents; Pastor McKinnon says it would be a shame not to.
“These are incredible people that want the same you want for your family, that I want for my family, but we have to make sure we’re not forgetting them,” he says, adding that, “These types of things are what contributes to a lot of unrest – all of these things contribute to a lot of what saw over the last two weeks here.”