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Nikki Fried calls Silver Oaks living conditions still unbearable

"Putting paint over mold is not a solution."
Nikki Fried calls Silver Oaks living conditions still unbearable
Posted at 5:59 PM, May 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-10 17:59:45-04

TAMPA, Fla. — Frustrations continue at the Silver Oaks apartments in Tampa. For a month, ABC Action News has followed the poor living conditions at the property which is owned by Cambridge Management.

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried visited the property in April and was back at the complex Tuesday. She entered a resident's unit and heard stories of what have been living with for years.

"Someone has got to be responsible for making sure that these residents are having habitable conditions to live in and that is not what is happening here," AG Fried said.

Mickesha Leggatt said she's one of the lucky ones at the complex. She moved in about two years ago and said she has had some drainage issues but nothing like what has been reported at other units within the complex.

"I have know people who stay over there so they always had mold problems, plumbing problems. I'm just thankful that I got a newer model apartment," Leggatt said.

After our stories aired and attention on Silver Oaks apartments, workers were seen on-site addressing the issues.


Leggatt said they're still there.

"Change is coming. They have been here seven days a week trying to get it together so hoping for a better outcome than we have been seeing," Leggatt said. "They have been coming to fix the AC vents with the mold. They have been coming to fill-in like people who have like damaged walls they come fix those. They came in with mold fighters around the AC."

However, the one thing that remains is the confusion as to who's responsibility the problems fall on.

Commissioner Fried said she and her team are having trouble themselves pinpointing who needs to take responsibility and where and who government funding is going to. Cambridge Management receives funding from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD).

"There is money coming in from the federal government," she said. "We know that they're still getting money from HUD and so where is that money going. Who's pockets are getting lined by all of this."

After Tuesday's visit to the complex, Fried said the living conditions still haven't improved and legal action may need to be taken moving forward. She also said her team is digging through state statutes and whether they need to be amended to address the issues.

In the meantime, Fried is waiting to hear back from U.S. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge. Fried's office sent the secretary a letter demanding action be taken to remedy the living conditions at Silver Oaks.

"At the end of the day we need a solution and putting paint over mold is not a solution," AG Fried said.That is a Band-Aid that is worse than I have ever seen before."