Tenants of troubled Aberdeen area apartment complex targeted when they complain, activist says

There has been a "breakdown in communication" regarding various issues at Perrywood Gardens Apartments in Perryman, according to a member of the Bush River Community Council, who said Monday that residents who complained were targeted by management.

JoWanda Strickland-Lucas, a member of the community council and a member of the Aberdeen Community Action Coalition, brought up the issue during the community council's monthly meeting at the Anita C. Leight Estuary Center in Abingdon.

Strickland-Lucas, who advocates for the apartment's residents, said that the community council's prior actions regarding problems with the apartments had a negative effect on the residents after the council's chairman, Larry Carmichael, toured the apartments in September and prepared a report for the group.

"Residents were harmed by the actions [of the council]," Strickland-Lucas said, saying that the apartments' management, Tryko Partners, had taken retaliatory actions against the apartment's residents.

"There were residents having issues," Strickland-Lucas said. "If they go and raise the concerns with management, there are certain consequences."

Periodically plagued by issues relating to drug dealing and the associated violence, the low-income apartment complex was purchased in March by New Jersey-based Tryco Partners for about $10 million. At the time, the new owners committed to making major improvements to the 184-unit, eight-building complex.

Strickland-Lucas also read a letter on behalf of her coalition ending its ties with the community council regarding the Perrywood Garden Apartments.

"I can't be responsible for letting the residents be targeted," Strickland-Lucas said.

Carmichael proposed that the community council restrict itself to issues with the apartments that affect the county at large and refrain from involvement with issues confined to individual apartments and residents.

Specifically, Carmichael said, these issues are swimming pool leaks, the presence of bats and a sewer pipe leak. The rest of the council, including Strickland-Lucas, agreed.

Council members also discussed inviting a speaker to the next meeting familiar with power outage procedures, citing difficulty with restoring electricity to certain areas in the aftermath of the Sandy storm. They also discussed ways to increase the council's membership.

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