Written by The Business Journal Staff
Chris Henry, owner of the Summerset Village apartments in Fresno, must pay at least $174,400 in fines, plus costs incurred by the city, as part of a ruling today on Henry’s appeal of code violation citations.
Michael Flores with the office of the Independent Administrative Hearing Officer denied Henry’s request to waive all fines, and upheld 872 of the 1,450 violations issued by the city.
The ruling stems from November 2015, when city code enforcement officers were notified that tenants living at Summerset Village in Central Fresno were without heat. Tenants had no natural gas service for about ten days.
Henry reported that he has made a total of $1.6 million in repairs and renovations to the property.
Henry was originally on the hook for about $290,000 in fines when he appealed the city’s violations. He must also pay all costs incurred by the city in the matter, which could total more than $30,0000, according to a City of Fresno news release.
“The Administration is gratified by the hearing officer’s decision to uphold the majority of the fines and deny the request to waive all citations. The decision goes a long way to remedy the violations and bring some resolution to this tragic event,” said Mayor Ashley Swearengin in a statement. “Since the Summerset incident, the City has taken some major steps forward to hold negligent property owners responsible and prevent future ‘Summersets’ from happening in the first place.
Swearengin said there remains thousands of units of substandard housing in Fresno, “and we’ll never catch up with the decades of neglect if we are only reacting to complaints.
Swearwengin supports a systematic interior inspection program for rental housing in the city, and plans on forwarding a proposed policy before the end of the year.