Former employees: Developer is taking advantage of taxpayers - CBS46 News

Former employees: Developer is taking advantage of taxpayers' money

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DEKALB COUNTY, GA (CBS46) -

Mary Gantt said the odor of mold in her DeKalb County apartment was something she just could not take. 

"I didn't want to invite anyone over," said Gantt.  "It was horrible." 

She showed photos to CBS Atlanta investigative reporter Jeff Chirico that show what appears to be mold covering tiles, walls and her clothing. 

She said management at Thornberry Apartments responded to her complaints by painting over the mold a half dozen times or more.  

Anthony Hillman said he's also dealing with mold and unresponsive management at LakeShire Village in East Point.

Hillman points out what he said was mold on his shoes and he fears what it may be doing to his lungs.

"I actually sleep under the covers to keep from breathing the stuff in," said Hillman. 

Hillman and Gantt live at two of the 11 Atlanta-area apartment complexes owned by NuRock Companies in Alpharetta. Owner and CEO, Robert Hoskins and his wife live in a $1.3 million lake house, thanks in part to you, the taxpayer.

CBS Atlanta has learned that Hoskins' companies have benefited from more than $12 million in state and federal tax breaks for providing affordable housing to low-income residents.

Hoskins declined to be interviewed for the story but issued a statement defending his company.

Former employees of NuRock have told Chirico that the company allows residents to live in unsafe and unhealthy homes.

A former leasing agent at Thornberry, Jonathan Sams, said it was a constant fight to get what he needed to perform basic maintenance at the complex.

Sams said instead of cleaning or replacing carpets, NuRock management would instruct property managers to dye old carpet.

"They are slum lords and they are taking advantage of the system, my money, your money, everybody's money," said Maria Gutierrez, former property manager at LakeShire Village. 

CBS Atlanta filed an open records request and reviewed binders full of state inspection records in which NuRock properties were cited as "possible project failure."

As a condition of receiving tax credits through the Department of Community Affairs, companies, like NuRock must undergo inspections. 

In records, inspectors pointed to a high number of 'urgent violations,' including a rat infestation, mold, fire hazards and missing appliances.

State records indicated NuRock "self-verified" certain repairs had been made that subsequent inspections found had not been. 

Regional Manager Becky Lively also did not cooperate with the requests of inspectors, according to state documents. 

Gutierrez said she believes that was intentional.

"They hid the keys. I saw them the day of the inspection hide files," said Guttierez.

Lively would not speak to Chirico about the allegations. 

Based on NuRock's poor inspection reports and unpaid mortgage bills, the Department of Community Affairs rejected Hoskin's latest tax credit application.

CBS Atlanta News has found NuRock is expanding his business by obtaining tax credits in Texas and Florida. 

"It's all about the money," said Sams.

Sams said before leaving NuRock, he helped Gantt move into another unit at Thornberry although many of her belongings had to be trashed since they were covered in mold. 

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