Mayor Brian Arrigo is demanding action from the Connecticut-based landlords of the Water’s Edge Apartments on Ocean Avenue, site of a fire that displaced residents on June 21. The fire broke out on an outside deck on the 11th floor, and two residents were rescued by firefighters from a unit on that floor.
In a demand letter sent to The Carabetta Companies in Meriden, Conn., Arrigo encouraged someone from their office to provide support for the residents displaced by the fire. “Although we have been unsuccessful since Tuesday (June 21) to address these issues together, it is my wish that we work together to ensure that the tenants who are now homeless because of the fire find suitable and temporary shelter until such time that it will be safe for them to return to their residences at your property,” stated Arrigo.
The mayor stated that if Carabetta does not respond immediately, it will give him no choice but to use city resources to conduct a thorough investigation of all Carabetta properties in Revere to ensure compliance with all fire, building, sanitary and health and safety codes. Arrigo stated the city would also take steps to ensure that all uses are in compliance with the city’s zoning ordinances and confirm that all taxes and fees are paid to date.
“Please note that if the city is forced to provide shelter for your unfortunate tenants, the City will file a lawsuit in a court of competent jurisdiction to recover from you all costs incurred by the City, including legal costs, for providing shelter and assistance for your tenants,” stated Arrigo.
In addition, Arrigo stated that none of the tenants of the apartment complex have been contacted by the company to help guide them through the insurance process.
“Your inaction to date is highly irresponsible, unprofessional, and quite frankly, immoral,” stated Arrigo. “I prefer to avoid litigation, but as Mayor of the City of Revere I have a moral obligation to assist my constituents in a time of crisis in whatever way I can help.”
In an even bolder move at Monday night’s City Council meeting, Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo filed a late motion asking the mayor to investigate the feasibility of taking the Carabetta properties by eminent domain for the purpose of converting them to affordable housing.
“This is a great motion, believe it or not,” said Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky. “Carabetta Properties are the worst landlords in the city of Revere. They are totally irresponsible; they just had a fire at 370 Ocean Ave., and they have not done a thing to help the people – zero – and they should be ashamed of themselves.”
Councillor-at-Large Marc Silvestri agreed that the properties are not kept up at all. “When the city asks them to step up and take care of issues, they completely refuse,” he said. “They don’t put their elevators into standard and they are willing to pay fine after fine instead of keeping their properties to the standard that their residents deserve.”
Rotondo said any other property in the city that has had so many faults – from the fire to the elevators to other compliance issues – would have been shut down.
“Everybody I speak to regarding those properties say not nice things about the landlords,” said City Council President Gerry Visconti. “That’s disheartening: to hear that they have [been] in a fire and nothing is being done by the landlord.”