COLUMBUS, Ohio — Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein announced his office intends to file a motion for contempt against Paxe Latitude, the property owner of the Latitude Five25 apartment complex.
The announcement could set into motion the transfer of the property to a receivership group to take over the property, facilitate repairs and begin to prepare the property for sale.
The motion comes two days after residents at the apartment complex were forced to evacuate due to pipes bursting and electrical issues.
This past week, central Ohio was hit with low temperatures and subzero wind chills brought on by a weather system that passed through.
The cold started to freeze some pipes, causing some of them to burst and flood some apartments.
Residents were offered shelter at the Dodge Park Recreation Center and others stayed with friends or family. The American Red Cross also offered a 24-hour shelter for residents and provided food and a warm place to sleep.
Additionally, Columbus Public Health provided their nursing teams who were conducting screenings and working with individuals who may have medical-related questions.
Earlier this year, the City of Columbus filed multiple motions against the property owners for code violations and lack of security.
At the time, the city said residents had gone without electricity, hot water, elevator service and flooding throughout the property.
Additionally, the city said police have received more than 1,000 service calls between January 2020 and January 2022, including calls for shots fired, shootings, overdoses, narcotics complaints, reports of domestic violence and fights on the property.
In October, Klein said the owners were near a deal to sell the complex within the next three months.
“From the start, the City has maintained it will do whatever it takes to provide better, safer living conditions for residents, and with recent system failures making these apartments unlivable, the City is stepping in to urge the court to appoint a receiver to take over the property and get it back in working order,” said City Attorney Klein. “With the 90-day window running out and residents and families forced from their homes, we need to act with urgency to get the right team in place to manage this property and meet the needs of residents.”
Klein added that the future property owner would be under the terms of the city’s nuisance order as long as it remains open.