City inspectors issue citations for seven violations in one unit at Woodbridge apartment complex

PHOENIX - ABC15 Investigators have learned City of Phoenix inspectors paid another visit to the Woodbridge apartment complex last week.

The inspectors, armed with cameras, were out at the only city-designated slum property after our exclusive stories exposed air conditioning failures and other potential health and safety hazards at Woodbridge.

Sources say the inspectors cited seven violations in just one unit.

The city has spent years trying to get the owner of Woodbridge to make repairs and improve living conditions at the complex of over 300 units located at 6635 N. 19th Avenue in Phoenix.

Court records show city officials say the owner has jeopardized the health and safety of the residents by failing to make necessary repairs or maintain the property properly.

Two years ago the city took the owner to court and won a civil judgment that included a $47,000 fine.

City officials told ABC15 investigators that the owner of Woodbridge has refused to make repairs despite being cited for numerous violations and fined.

Last November, the city filed 406 criminal charges against the owner. The charges are misdemeanors but they could result in fines of up to $10mil. That would be the largest fine assessed to any property owner in the history of the state of Arizona. The case is currently in the hands of Municipal Court Judge Lori Metcalf and her verdict could come any day now .

Two inspectors went to Woodbridge again last week.

Chris Bettger lived in the unit the inspectors visited. He told ABC15 Investigators that he has lived at Woodbridge for about 45 days but had to endure some of the hottest days of the year without air conditioning.

"In the 45 days of living here--I went 16 days without air. They tell us sorry, we live here too. You need to deal with it. Water? It was seven days without water," Bettger said.

Bettger says when he moved in he pointed out health and safety hazards to property managers that included bugs, bird droppings, exposed electrical wiring, plumbing problems and a hole in his bedroom window the size of a softball.

Bettger showed ABC15 Investigators how the pipes under his kitchen sink are not properly attached or secured. When he wants to drain the sink he has to hold the pipes together with his hands or the water will drain onto his kitchen floor.

"When you fill the sink up with water and you go to drain it, it just pours all over the floor because they won't fix the plumbing," Bettger said.

He told us, "The pipe's not properly attached. They won't glue it. They won't put new fasteners on it. They just come and tell you to hold it while you drain."

He pointed out there is a large hole in the concrete landing outside his door that is covered by a piece of plywood. And Bettger says that when July temperatures outside got to 110 degrees or more--he had temps of 121 degrees in his apartment because the air conditioning was broken. 

"It was miserable. I had to actually sleep in my bathtub for three days with the water running to stay cool because I couldn't afford to go to a motel."

Bettger says he gave the property manager notice and he moved out.

City officials tell ABC15 News the inspectors gave property managers a notice of their own.

They cited 7 violations in Bettger's apartment and deemed it unfit for occupancy.

The citation requires the owner of Woodbridge to make repairs in the unit and then they are required to get it re-inspected before they can put another tenant in that apartment.

Bettger told ABC15 Investigators, "I think this place should be condemned. You know, with the rats and the birds--and they don't want to fix anything. They're slumlords. And it's exactly what they are." 

The verdict in the criminal case against Woodbridge could come any day now so stay tuned to ABC15 News and abc15.com for the latest developments on this story.

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