Water service disconnected to entire apartment complex after non - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Water service disconnected to entire apartment complex after non-payment by owner

Current owner Frank Morrison (left) and former owner Lester Payne (right) of Coronado Project Apartment Complex (Source: KCBD) Current owner Frank Morrison (left) and former owner Lester Payne (right) of Coronado Project Apartment Complex (Source: KCBD)
Residents are outraged over not having water (Source: KCBD) Residents are outraged over not having water (Source: KCBD)

More than 100 people in Lubbock are without water.

On Friday, October 7th, the City of Lubbock disconnected water service to The Coronado Project apartment complex in 1000 block of East 28th Street due to non-payment.

The president of the complex, Frank Morrison, says he asked the city for a 40 day extension, but that did not happen. 

The City of Lubbock released the following statement:

The City of Lubbock has made several efforts to work with the property owner, but following several extensions, the bill remains unpaid.

The city regrets the inconvenience this disruption of service will cause for those living at the complex. The City of Lubbock Community Development Department and Lubbock Housing Authority have been able to relocate some residents to other homes. Leaders are also looking into additional programs that may be available to assist those affected.

The Coronado Project apartment complex was once Coronado Village, and before that it was Spanish Oaks Apartments. 

Former city councilman and one of Tent City's founding fathers, Frank Morrison, bought Coronado Village and turned it into The Coronado Project in 2013.

He arrived at the complex to find the former owner on site with a few questions and accusations.

"That is wrong, wrong, wrong for little kids to not have water because you won't pay," the former property owner said. 

"I remember when you told me your handshake was as a good as anything. That was a lie," he said to Morrison.

Morrison said he is providing non-profit housing and support for homeless and low income families. 

Morrison said the rent is based on the income of the tenant. 

"I have invested this money in order to help people. I am not expecting to get a great reward or a lot of profit out of this," Morrison said. 

Morrison said paying the bills can be tough.

It is something resident Leander Williams knows first-hand.

"For me personally, I was homeless and he gave me a job and a place to stay," Williams said.

Williams said people are working together to raise the funds needed.

"They have been doing fundraisers. This is the closest I have seen the property in a long time, not throwing out faults at everybody else," Williams said. 

Morrison said it will take $10,000 to pay the water bill and the former property owner said Morrison owes more than that.

"We sold it to him, he made a down payment, he made four payments and started getting in arrears from the very beginning. We sued him one time, we worked out another deal for new payments, he made about three or four more payments," the former owner said. 

Morrison said the apartments were not in good shape when he purchased them.

"I bought the apartment complex in August of 2013 and since then I believe that I have spent close to two and half million dollars getting it back into habitable shape and paying the expenses," Morrison said.

Meanwhile, Williams wants to make sure the man who gave him a job and place to stay is not taking all of the blame.

"To keep it comfortable, we have to pull in and do our part, it's not just on our part," Williams said.

Morrison said he is working to sell property to get the money to pay the water bill, but he will not have the money for about 40 days. 

In the meantime, he hopes people will make donations so the 100 plus people in the complex will have water.

Morrison left the following statement on Friday:

The City of Lubbock is planning to turn off the water to the Coronado Village Apartments because we are behind on our water bill. I understand that and I accept my responsibility. (I do wish the city would be more charitable in the rate structure since we are a non-profit providing housing and support services for homeless and very low income citizens.)

I have given the city an option which will insure payment. I have sold a lot on west 4th St. The sale will close on, or before, November 18, 2016. The city can place a lien on the property or judgment against Franklynn Enterprises, which owns the apartments and the lot. At the closing, the city will be paid before I am paid. This will bring our account current and will provide me the necessary resources to continue in operation.

... We have also been contacted by representatives of The Dream Center and Children's Protective Service expressing support. In the last two weeks we have had to turn away referrals from CPS that would have brought 6 children home from the foster care system if we had more space. The average direct payment to foster parents is $10,000 per year. Our work is to bring children home or keep them out of the foster care system in the last 3 years is estimated to have saved close to $500,000.

We do what we do to change people's lives, not make a profit. And we are changing lives. I'm not asking the city to forgive my obligation; I'm asking for another 40 days to make good on my obligation so we can continue to help these most in need families. 

Lubbock Mayor Dan Pope released the following statement about the situation:

Lubbock Power & Light and the City of Lubbock have made every effort to work with the property owner in this situation. We can say no more than that. 

We are very sympathetic to the plight and needs of the residents of this apartment complex.

We will do everything we can to work with them within the constraints of the ordinances and policies of the city of Lubbock and of the state of Texas.

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