Landlord sued by the city asks for proof of wrongdoing
Accused of knowing about ongoing drug activity
5:05 PM, Feb 15, 2017
6:23 PM, Feb 15, 2017
MILWAUKEE, Wis. - The city says 12 properties owned by Kenneth Churchill have been linked to drugs and prostitution, but Churchill says he doesn't understand why he was served.
He said that he doesn't allow illegal activity at his properties, and he certainly doesn't participate in them.
"All these allegations that are brought up on me, where is the proof? I'm definitely going to fight this. No I wouldn't allow that, I don't go for prostitution, anything that's illegal." Churchill said.
Churchill claims those who do illegal things get evicted. He says he thoroughly screens his tenants, and looks at background checks before leasing.
"The problem is people are renting it in their name and I'm finding out they're not the ones that are living there," he said.
He said that is a challenge for him, but he he's been working with police and the city over the past few months to stop the problem. He showed TODAY’S TMJ4 an email where he claims he told police about drugs being sold out of one his homes.
"As soon as I hear there are illegal activities, I get them out of my house as fast as I can," he said.
The lawsuit also said Churchill allowed drug activity to occur at the properties if tenants provided him with $1,000 monthly cash payments.
"I'll give my properties up if they got me on recordings saying that. That's what offended me the most, is that they said I would take $1,000 a month. It's an insult, that's a lie, that's a total lie. I would never accept bribery," Churchill said.
Churchill does not want to lose any of his properties. The city is currently filing an injunction forbidding Churchill from management. The preliminary hearing for that is in the beginning of March.
The lawsuit also alleges Churchill is facing several code violations. According to the city, 63 violations have been ordered on 11 of the 12 properties since 2015. Churchill still needs to correct 13 violations on seven of those properties.
The injunction would keep Churchill from managing the properties while the lawsuit is ongoing. We also spoke with a man who lives in one of the properties. He says he's concerned about not having a place to live if the city's injunction goes through.
"We're just worried about our house, that doesn't have anything to do with us. We're just worried about our family," said Agustin Santiago
If the injunction goes through, the city would take ownership of the properties. The city says it won't evict everyone but someone will be appointed to evaluate each tenant individually.
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