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Judge orders Latitude Five25 owners to prove it has funds to repair towers or possibly lose bankruptcy claim

The city claims Paxe Latitude is attempting to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying a $4.3 million judgement.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The City of Columbus says a New Jersey judge is giving the owners of an eastside apartment complex a week to prove they have the funds necessary to repair the towers or possibly have their bankruptcy claim dismissed.

The city claims Paxe Latitude, the owners of Latitude Five25 on Sawyer Boulevard, are attempting to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying a $4.3 million judgement and transferring the towers to a receivership group.

On Thursday, Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein said the city respects the court’s decision and ultimately wants to see a swift resolution to the case.

“Paxe Latitude was happy to cash rent checks every month, but now when it’s time for them to pay up, they’re trying to do everything they can to get out of it,” Klein said. “The City tracked them down to New Jersey and will continue to use every legal tool we have to ensure this judgement is paid, tenants are made whole, and management of the towers is transferred to a receiver.”

Latitude Five25 was evacuated on Christmas Day last year when some pipes burst due to the freezing temperatures, causing electrical damage.

The city condemned the complex after the buildings were found to be without potable water, heat and a working fire suppression system. Additionally, only one of four elevators are working.

On Feb. 16, the city announced Paxe Latitude was fined more than $4 million for violating provisions of a court order from January. The fines stem from ongoing litigation involving unsafe, unsanitary living conditions at the complex.

The owners filed for relief under chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in New Jersey four days later on Feb. 20.

Last week, Klein announced the city filed a motion in response to Paxe Latitude’s bankruptcy claim.

In the motion, the city asked the court to dismiss the filing because it was made in bad faith, arguing it was made in order to evade the fines and appointment of a receiver to take over the property.

If the case were to continue, the city asked the court to allow the transfer to the receivership group to allow for continued maintenance, remediation of code violations and asbestos contamination at the complex.

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