FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) — Dozens of apartments were without water for most of the morning in a southeast Fresno apartment.Fresno city leaders say the property owner owed the city more than $16,000 for unpaid water bills and penalties, so city crews were forced to turn it off.Resident Anthony Smith says, "You don't expect to be taken advantage of or to be treated as less than. That is what I see and feel this company has done to the people here."For years, the Air Force veteran has lived at the complex.Smith says he's had to deal with broken appliances, plywood as windows, and a pool that looks like a swamp.But when he woke up without running water, he says enough was enough, especially for $610 a month.Smith says, "Whatever my portion is I've paid and it's always been on time and it's never late. Housing Authority has never been late with their portion."He is not the only one who feels this way.Joe Ortiz says, "They haven't done nothing and now my water is turned off, and I don't appreciate that."City of Fresno staff says the owner of the property, Central Valley Real Estate Management Asset Resolution owes thousands in penalties and unpaid water bills.Because several of the tenants receive help from Fresno Housing Authority, KMPH Fox 26 News Investigative Reporter Erik Rosales gave them a call.Within an hour Fresno Housing Authority staff was there.Tracewell Hanranhan, the Housing Authority Deputy Director says, "What we can do is start filing the appropriate noticed to the landlord that allows us to start taking some action."Actions like inspections which could determine the complex qualifies anymore for the government program.After Rosales' visit, city staff notified KMPH Fox 26 News, "A representative of the property owners made a cash payment of $9,700 for three months of unpaid bills to the utility department and the city is restoring water service to the tenants."However, because of Rosales' investigation, city staff says code enforcement officers will also "be inspecting the site immediately and if the code violations are significant, the owners could face penalties up to and including closing down the property."Rosales tried to get a comment from the property owner.However a man who told city staff he was the property owner's brother told Rosales to get out of his face.
KMPH Fox 26 is the Central Valley's news leader, covering Fresno, California and the surrounding area, including Clovis, Madera, Hanford, Visalia, Biola, Kerman, Tranquillity, San Joaquin, Reedley, Coalinga, Avenal, Lemoore, Tulare, Selma, Caruthers, Tollhouse, Three Rivers, Porterville, and Merced.