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TEH Realty Troubles Spur City, Tenant Action In St. Louis

From left, Sunni Hutton, Ryan Krull and Jesse Bogan joined Monday's talk show.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Samuel Rodgers has been a tenant at TEH Realty’s Blue Fountain apartment complex in St. Louis’ Baden neighborhood for about 13 years. Early on, he had relatively few complaints about his living situation. But in recent years, maintenance of the property has plummeted dramatically.

“I’ve been about three or four years without heat in my apartment, so I have these space heaters to try to stay warm, my shower’s not working right,” Rodgers told St. Louis on the Air in a phone interview this week. “I need a whole new toilet — they still haven’t replaced that. My kitchen sink [is] jacked up; I have to take a bucket and get water from the tub to transfer the water from the tub into my kitchen sink to do my dishes.”

At another TEH complex in St. Louis, Southwest Crossing in Carondelet, the situation has deteriorated to the point that Mayor Lyda Krewson and mortgage loan corporation Freddie Mac last month each filed suit against TEH. Southwest Crossing residents began taking actions of their own, too.

The Crossing was then put in receivership, resulting in the court appointment of the commercial real estate firm Sansone Group taking over the property. Things have improved since the city began addressing the trash situation and Sansone Group started cleaning the place up, said tenant Lisa Jones.

“They’ve been trying really hard; they really, really have. They’ve been doing a really good job and everything,” she said. “But, you know, [these] things didn’t happen overnight, and they're not going to be fixed overnight.”

A newly published Riverfront Times piece by Ryan Krull delves deeper into the experiences of Rodgers and Hutton, among others. It details many similarly miserable living conditions, which has become an ongoing saga in the region.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Krull joined host Sarah Fenske to discuss his reporting. Joining the conversation were St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter Jesse Bogan, who has also been following the developments surrounding TEH Realty, and Sunni Hutton, a volunteer grassroots organizer with Homes for All St. Louis.

Take a listen:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.