City: No punishment for apartment landlord

SANDUSKY The city won't throw the book at a local landlord who is accused of pressuring his tenants
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

The city won't throw the book at a local landlord who is accused of pressuring his tenants to vote against the school levy.

A letter dated Oct. 31 and signed by Robert Waldock informed residents a $4 increase in rent was coming if the levy passed. School officials were enraged by what they considered election blackmail.

At Monday night's Sandusky City Commission meeting, Commissioner Brett Fuqua wanted to teach bullying landlords a lesson.

"Is there anything we could do as a city that could protect thosecitizens' rights?" Fuqua asked.

Law Director Don Icsman offered to call Waldock to discuss the situation.

Other commissioners, however, said they would rather leave the issue untouched.

"The levy passed, and it's just time to move on to other things," Commissioner Dennis Murray said.

But at an October commission meeting, Murray shared a strikingly different opinion when he expressed concern over landlords who were threatening tenants with increased rent if the school levy passed.

"Anybody that's doing that is committing election fraud," Murray said Oct. 9 when he issued a public warning to such landlords.

Now, he said, rather than pointing fingers, it's time to move on.

Ex officio Mayor Dan Kaman said the letter and its implications are more of a school board issue than a city commission issue.

It's definitely an issue for tenants who received the letter.

The letter stated, "If the school levy passes, the taxes on your apartment will increase by $41-48 per year. This means you will pay an additional $4 per month just for the school levy on top of the normal $10-15 increase we normally budget ... Your vote matters!"

The letters were sent to properties managed by W-T Realty. W-T Realty manages 628 units Waldock owns in Sandusky, including the apartment complexes of Foxborough Commons, Arbor Arms, Lake Point, Monticello Arms, Country Set and Clinton Square.

With his apartment properties' taxable value listed at more than $3.2 million, Waldock now pays about $123,604 in school taxes annually and will pay $17,057 more when the levy goes into effect in January.

With a $4 increase per apartment, Waldock would bring in $30,144, almost double what he needs to break even on taxes.