Jack D’Aurora: State budget should support legal aid

Is access to legal assistance for low-income Americans important? President Donald Trump doesn’t think so. His 2018 budget proposed eliminating the Legal Services Corporation, an independent nonprofit established during the Nixon administration that provides civil legal aid to low-income Americans.

Trump apparently forgot about his campaign theme — “to bring hope to every forgotten stretch of this country.” According to Martha Bergmark, former LSC president, the majority of the states with the lowest ranking for access to legal assistance for low-income citizens supported Trump.

Fortunately, most of Congress didn’t listen to the president. In fact, Congress went a different direction and increased LSC funding in March from $385 million to $410 million.

Across the country, legal-aid offices serve the needs of those whose incomes are below 125 percent of the federal poverty level. For a family of four, that’s $30,740 a year. Roughly 1.5 million Ohioans fall in this category. In 2016, the 28 lawyers and staff members at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, along with several hundred pro bono attorneys and non-lawyer volunteers, served 6,609 low-income individuals and families.

It’s probably difficult to imagine why those with low incomes would need a lawyer, but low income, in and of itself, generates problems. Seventy-one percent of low-income households have experienced a legal problem in the past year. For households with disabled persons, the percentage jumps to 80 percent; for households with survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault, it jumps to 97 percent. One in four low-income households has experienced six or more legal problems in the past year.

“When living on the edge, one problem begets another,” explains Tom Weeks, executive director of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus. “Get injured on the job without health insurance or workers compensation, and suddenly you’re faced with hospital bills. Because you’re unable to work, you can’t afford to repay the auto title loan you took out for repair work, and you don’t have money for next month’s rent.

“You can afford to pay the lender or the landlord but not both. Eventually, the hospital files suit to collect on its unpaid bills. The lender and landlord will be next. It can be overwhelming.”

What’s staggering is that intimate-partner violence among people with family income at or below the FPL is about four times the rate for those with incomes at or above 400 percent of the FPL. “Twenty-two percent of legal aid work is family law,” says Angie Lloyd, executive director of the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation. “But it’s actually all domestic-violence-related, so we’re only meeting part of the domestic legal need.”

Legal aid isn’t just about providing assistance. “It’s transformative work,” says Lloyd, “that allows low-income and vulnerable Ohioans to be gainfully employed, financially secure, stably housed, healthy and safe from domestic violence.”

The Access to Justice Task Force formed by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court concluded there is a 115-percent return for every dollar invested in legal aid. Studies consistently show that investing in civil legal-aid programs has a positive economic impact.

Even if LSC funding continues in the future, it’s not enough. LSC provides only about 30 percent of the budget for Ohio’s legal-aid offices. Another 40 percent comes from a surcharge on court filing fees and the interest earned on lawyer trust accounts, and that money has been decreasing. With interest rates dropping over the years, revenues from trust accounts fell from $22 million in 2007 to $4 million today.

Remarkably, the state of Ohio contributes nothing to legal aid. The Ohio Supreme Court’s Task Force recommended in 2015 that the Ohio General Assembly fund the cost of the 120 legal-aid attorneys and support staff who were laid off because of declining funds.

Three years later, we’re still waiting for the General Assembly to respond.

Jack D’Aurora is a partner with the Behal Law Group.

Read this article at the Columbus Dispatch

Ohio Seeks to Impose New Medicaid Work Requirements, Tempting Lawsuits

On Monday night, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) officially submitted a request to the Department of Health and Human Services for permission to force the roughly 700,000 people enrolled in the state’s Medicaid expansion to prove they’re working at least 80 hours per month. If the waiver is approved, Ohioans unable to find work would have to get placed with an organization in their county and work without pay to earn the value of their health care benefits.

Ohio’s non-profit Center for Health Affairs estimates that 18,000 people could lose  coverage due to the requirement, though advocacy groups say that number could be much higher if eligible people are deterred by the bureaucratic hoops they have to jump through to document their employment status or prove they’re exempt due to a disability.

“We believe they’re vastly underestimating,” Katie McGarvey with the Legal Aid Society of Ohio told TPM. “There’s not an automatic way to do those exemptions, so each county will have to contact each individual, get documentation, and do an assessment. What if the person doesn’t get the mail or doesn’t have transportation to the appointment? It’s a huge administrative barrier and a lot of people who need the exemption and are eligible will fall through the cracks.”

Read the rest of this story at Talking Points Memo

Franklin County Struggles To Overcome High Number Of Evictions

Jerry Smith wanders through a home on the west side of Columbus with his hands clasped behind his back. His hat says “bailiff” in big block letters, and he’s guiding researcher Stephanie Pierce from room to room. They pass an overturned couch and old clothes strewn on the floor.

“Wow, so there’s a lot of stuff here,” Pierce says, looking around the dining room. “It definitely looks like it’s been a pretty hasty departure.”

“Probably about 50 percent are left in this condition, about 50 percent,” Smith tells her. “You rarely ever get one that’s cleaned out and pristine or anything. Occasionally—but rarely.”

If the eviction process cannot be resolved, this is where it winds up: a set out. Under the supervision of a bailiff, the landlord clears out a tenant’s remaining belongings and retakes possession of the home.

No one wants to end up here. Evictions are expensive for landlords, and they miss out on rent in the meantime. Tenants have to move on short notice, and a past eviction can make it hard to find a new place to stay.

Read or listen to the entire story at WOSU Radio.

Sent to the curb: Affordable housing advocates say evictions can have lasting effects on tenants, neighborhoods

There were nearly 18,000 in Franklin County filed last year, a number that continues to trouble affordable housing advocates and others who note that the poverty rate here continues to tick upward. In all, about 10,500 evictions were completed in 2017. In New York City, whose population is eight times as large, there were 22,000.

Read the full story at Business First


Melissa Linville Receives the 2018 Henry J. Sommer Scholarship

Krista D’Amelio | Latest News | March 14, 2018

The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) is honored to award the prestigious Henry J. Sommer Scholarship every year to an exceptional attorney who shows the same dedication of service to their clients that President Emeritus Henry J. Sommer (2005 to 2008 and Board of Directors member 1992 to 2011) gave to NACBA. This year NACBA is pleased to announce that Melissa Linville is the recipient for the 2018 Henry J. Somm er Scholarship.

Melissa LinvilleMelissa is a bankruptcy attorney at The Legal Aid Society of Columbus in Ohio and has been working in this role since 2012. She coordinates the Bankruptcy Pro Bono program and represents clients in-house. As the recipient of the scholarship, she will be attending #NACBADEN, NACBA’s Annual Convention held April 19-22, 2018 in Denver, CO. Melissa was chosen for her dedication to processing intake clients and recruiting and training pro bono attorneys for LASC cases, as well as her assistance to clients in filing Chapter 7 bankruptcies, foreclosure defense, debt collection defense, and other bankruptcy matters.

“This scholarship is one that NACBA is proud to award every year. We are pleased to select Melissa Linville for the 2018 Henry J. Sommer Scholarship. We look forward to providing her the opportunity to enhance her profession in the public sector and connect her to NACBA’s vast network of consumer bankruptcy attorneys,” says NACBA Executive Director Dan LaBert.

Melissa graduated from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law in 2011. She has always wanted to work in the public sector. After three and a half years of piecing together various legal fellowships while working on the implementation and maintenance of a bankruptcy pro bono program, Melissa became a staff attorney at Legal Aid in 2015. She enjoys working with the private bar and judiciary to continue to improve and grow the bankruptcy pro bono program.

We can look forward to reading about Melissa’s convention experience in the Summer 2018 edition of NACBA’s Consumer Bankruptcy Journal.

Read the original post at NACBA

Franklin County has the highest eviction rate in Ohio. Why? And what can be done about it?

When Stacy Dellibovi arrived at eviction court on a Friday morning in early February, she felt like a failure.

Everything had gone downhill so quickly. A few months earlier, the 40-year-old single mom had been employed as a phlebotomist and support technician at CompDrug, an addiction treatment center. Drawing blood and overseeing urine screenings was gritty, challenging work, but Dellibovi loved it. She relished being a positive presence in the lives of those struggling with addiction. For the first time in her life, she woke up every morning excited to go to work.

Then, the day after Thanksgiving, she lost her job. Dellibovi scrambled to look for another job, spending day after day on the computer filling out applications and redoing her resume. But nothing came quickly. Pretty soon she couldn’t make her car payments, and she fell behind on the $1,395 rent for the Canal Winchester home she shared with her two youngest kids, 8 and 13. She lost her brand-new car, and now she was facing an eviction.

Read more at Columbus Alive


Human Trafficking: Ohio’s Current Landscape

By Tabitha Woodruff

 January has been designated National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month since former President Barack Obama first proclaimed it in 2010. In December 2017, President Donald Trump continued the tradition with his own proclamation making January 2018 a month dedicated to raising awareness of human trafficking.

In Ohio, grassroots efforts have grown into extensive government action addressing this issue. Here, I will discuss the legal landscape of human trafficking in Ohio, the challenges the state still faces and the legal resources available to trafficking survivors.


Human trafficking is the illegal ownership and sale of human beings; in modern times it takes many different forms.

Read more at Attorney At Law Magazine

Legal Aid Society of Columbus Featured in Columbus Bar’s Legal Connections

Click here to read the article in Legal Connections

Resources available for those homeless after an eviction

Franklin County processes nearly 19,000 evictions each year, making the Franklin County Municipal Court the highest volume eviction processor in the state.

Housing issues seem to be one of the more common complaints received by Better Call Jackson.

The high number of evictions has the attention of several local agencies and officeholders.

Columbus City Council member Jaiza Page is leading an effort to prioritize affording housing and keeping families in their homes. Page says an allocation from the city of Columbus and from Franklin County can be a big help.

“Unfortunately, once families are evicted, they do have to go through the homeless shelter system that is the process by which they can have their rent paid once they have found new placement and that rent can be up to three months”, says page.

Read more and watch the video at NBC4i.com

LASC Opposes the Medicaid Work Requirement

Do you have Medicaid?


COLUMBUS, March 16, 2018 – Today, the Legal Aid Society of Columbus (LASC) filed comments in response to the Kasich Administration’s Medicaid waiver application. LASC strongly opposes the Ohio Department of Medicaid’s (ODM) proposed work requirement for individuals on Medicaid, as a violation of the Medicaid Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. Legal Aid fears thousands of Ohioans could lose life-saving medical coverage if the waiver is approved. Any individual who is part of the Medicaid expansion and not exempt or working 80 hours a month would lose their healthcare under the proposed waiver.

Rent-To-Own, Then Left Without A Home

Angel Trosper lives in a concrete, one-story house on a street in Franklinton. It’s a new location for her: On New Year’s Eve, she was evicted from a house across town she dreamed of buying.

Angel Trosper was evicted on New Year's Eve from her house, which she leased on a "rent-to-own" agreement. Like many people in such contracts, she was kicked out before purchasing the house.“All I did was cry. That’s all you can do,” Trosper says. “I more or less lost $50,000 to $60,000 to this guy, when I thought we were purchasing this house.”

Trosper’s troubles started six years ago. She and her husband Ron lived in Texas at the time, but were looking to move home to Columbus. They wanted to bring along Ron’s parents and brother, so they would need a lot of space.

The couple found an upper and lower duplex house that needed some work. Trosper says the landlord gave them a bad feeling, but they went ahead and signed a “rent-to-own” agreement.

Read more or Listen at WOSU Public Media

Fresh Start Gala, Thank You for Your Support

A huge thank you to everyone who came out and supported LASC’s Fresh Start Gala to benefit the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program! On February 22nd, more than 120 people filled the beautiful atrium of Porter Wright Morris and Arthur to recognize the hard work of the pro bono attorneys as well as support Legal Aid’s mission. The event raised over $50,000 from sponsorships, ticket sales, individual donations, and silent auction proceeds. Many thanks to our Planning Committee: Brenda Bowers, Jennifer CaJacob, Lisa Eschleman, Stephanie Harris, Mina Khorrami, Melissa Linville, Liz Koehler, Vivian Opelt, Christy Prince, Lauren Prohaska, Myron Terlecky, and Debi Willet.

Bankruptcy client Erica Booker, pictured here, spoke about the impact Legal Aid’s programming has had on her life. When her husband lost his job last summer, her family began falling behind on their regular living expenses and after her wages began being garnished, Erica knew she had to do something quickly or they would become homeless. Erica lives in the Near East neighborhood and is an instructional assistant in an elementary school where she works with children with special needs. Erica’s situation is similar to countless others who pick up the phone to call Legal Aid. One event such as a job loss or a medical condition can propel low-income families into crisis mode, and filing a bankruptcy can help bring them back from the edge.

Through the Bankruptcy Pro Bono Program, we help people keep their lights and heat on in the winter; we help people reinstate their drivers’ licenses so they can more easily access higher paid job opportunities; and we help stop wage garnishments so clients can better provide for their families.

Thank you for helping us provide a Fresh Start for so many!

Columbus Women’s Commission taking on issues of pay equity, evictions


When the Columbus Women’s Commission rolled out a pledge to deal with pay inequity between women and men, about 60 companies signed the document in November.

That has swelled to more than 90 companies, with more businesses considering it.

The commission, formed a little more than a year ago, has been taking small steps so far in tackling issues affecting women from the workplace to the homeless shelter. It started with the pay-equity pledge, and later this year it is to release recommendations to reduce evictions.

Read More

Columbus is welcoming, but has gender pay and rising homeless issues, panelists say


Mayor Andrew J. Ginther (right), speaks with a panel as part of the fourth State of Columbus Neighborhood Conversation on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. The panel from left: Nana Watson, President, NAACP Columbus Chapter; Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta, Executive Coach, LIGHTS (Leveraging Innovation Gateways and Hubs Toward Sustainability) at Ohio University; Professor Robert Solomon, Assistant Vice Provost, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, The Ohio State University; Gale King, Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer for Nationwide; Thomas Grote, Entrepreneur and Advocate; and Christie Angel, President and Chief Executive Officer, YWCA Columbus. [Jim Woods/Dispatch]


Columbus is a diverse and accepting community, but a high rate of evictions is creating a growing homelessness problem.

That was the picture presented by panelists at Mayor Andrew J. Ginther’s fourth State of Columbus Neighborhood Conversations on Thursday evening at The Kings Arts Complex on the Near East Side.

Not enough votes; Ohio child support bill on hold again

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) – State Senator John Eklund made a motion to send SB 125, a bill that would change how child support payments are calculated, to the rules committee so it could be assigned to the House floor for an eventual vote, something happened that was unexpected.

Trump officials propose again letting nursing homes force residents, families into arbitration


Ohio has about 1,000 nursing homes serving about 80,000 people. [AP file photo]

A lawsuit might seem like the obvious way to seek justice if a loved one is hurt, abused or neglected in a nursing home.

But many residents sign away that option on the day they move in — sometimes unknowingly, because the deal is tucked in stacks of admission contract papers.

The pre-dispute agreements waive residents’ right to sue, forcing them and their families to settle issues through a professional arbitrator instead of the court system.

Johnson joins Legal Aid Society’s Marion office

Demitri JohnsonThe Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Marion Branch office is excited to announce that Demitri P. Johnson joined the Marion office on March 31, 2017.

Johnson is a 2014 graduate of the Capital University Law School where she obtained a Juris Doctorate. During law school, Johnson was a recipient of the Ronald L. Friedman Memorial Award, a member of the 2013 Spring National Moot Court Team, and a member of the 2014 Criminal Law Moot Court Team. Prior to law school, she earned a B.A. in Political Science from Denison University.

While Johnson is originally from the Columbus area, she is looking forward to learning more about the area and becoming a member of the community. Johnson said she is excited to work together with The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, Marion Branch office and other local advocates to aid the residents of Marion County.

Read more at Marion Online

Better Call Jackson finds help for tenants whose landlords aren’t fixing major problems

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Two Columbus area residents have two completely different problems with their rented homes.

Janita Steele has lived with rodents since she moved into her rented house seven months ago. Mouse traps scattered throughout her home have trapped eight so far, but the rodents are still coming. Steel says holes in the foundation of the house are likely the possible entryway of the mice.

But her landlord has not addressed the problem.

On the other side of town, Kenya DoBose lives with a square cut into the ceiling of one of her bathrooms. A tenant who lives above Kenya had a water issue that caused the water to leak into the bathroom. A maintenance crew cut the hole to make repairs, but that was almost one year ago and it still has not been repaired.

According to the legal aid society of Columbus, both tenants have options.

Watch the video at NBC4i.com

What renters need to know when the AC stops working

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSYX/WTTE) — The summer months are typically the hottest of the year and air conditioners are on full blast, unless yours is on the fritz.

If you’re paying rent, it can be tempting to lose your cool.

In Ohio, a landlord has a duty to keep all fixtures and appliances in good working order.

Benjamin Horne, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Columbus, says there are certain steps you need to take to get the landlord’s attention.

“The tenant should request repairs in writing,” said Horne. “Keep a copy of the written request. After 30 days, if the problem hasn’t been remedied, then the tenant can start a rent escrow account over at the municipal court,” he said.

He said you should never stop paying rent.

Read more or watch the video at WSYX 6.


Columbus poor struggle with evictions, high housing costs

If she can find a place, Danielle Bailey said, she’ll probably have to spend more than half her monthly income on rent. That’s a best-case scenario. She and her children have been stuck since March in a worse one.

“Homelessness is not just not having a house,” Bailey said.

 The 32-year-old is trying to land a new job, find a house or apartment, get her cellphone fixed, care for four children and keep depression at bay — all while living in an emergency shelter. “I need to get a foot in the door,” Bailey said. “And I need my own door.”

Housing loss has long been considered a condition of poverty in America. Matthew Desmond says it’s time to flip that view and see eviction as a cause.

“If we want more family stability and more community stability, we need fewer evictions,” said Desmond, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author who spoke Wednesday during the Community Shelter Board’s annual gathering at the Southern Theatre, Downtown. “Without housing, everything falls apart.”

Read more at The Columbus Dispatch

Women living in poverty play a high-stakes game

By Kathleen McGavey

In Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” women are told: “We hold ourselves back in ways both big and small, by lacking self-confidence, by not raising our hands and by pulling back when we should be leaning in.”

As director of The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, I’ve thought repeatedly about how Sandberg’s idea applies in my own professional life. But despite the fact that I work with low-income women and their families, it wasn’t until I read “Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City,” by Matthew Desmond, that I thought about how this idea effects poor women.

Using real-world examples from Desmond’s book, “leaning in” can bring about harm and negative consequences that are unique to women living in poverty.

Gender perspective on eviction

While living in a Wisconsin trailer park, Desmond follows the lives of individuals, many of whom fall behind on their rent, on the verge of eviction. He notices a gender difference.

Men, he states, are more likely to talk to the landlord, explain the circumstances, try to get an extension and offer to do odd jobs around the rental complex to make up some of the difference. Women, however, are observed hiding in their units, closing the blinds and hoping no one notices them. That, you might think, explains the difference in eviction rates by gender.

Desmond reports that three of every four African Americans who were evicted in Milwaukee were female. The Community Shelter Board, a nonprofit that oversees Columbus’ response to homelessness, reports that nationally 78 percent of families with children in the shelter system have a female adult in the household, while only 22 percent have a male adult.

With these statistics, the solution seems easy. Poor women, like more highly educated, affluent professional women, need only to “lean in.” They need to be assertive, talk to the landlord and see what they might do to avoid eviction.

But low-income women have learned the perils of such an approach much more painfully than those of us with professional careers.

Read the rest of the article at Smart Business

Legal services offered at TCC

It took five years to create and fund the first known partnership in the United States between a legal aid law firm and a drug/alcohol addiction treatment center. The partnership has begun in Portsmouth.

Ohio State Legal Services Association (also known locally as SEOLS or Southeastern Ohio Legal Services) and The Counseling Center (TCC) initiated a partnership in December, with the help of a grant from the Ohio State Bar Foundation (OSBF). Mark J. Cardosi, Managing Attorney of SEOLS in Portsmouth, said enhancing the likelihood of long-term addiction recovery is the goal driving the collaboration between the legal aid law office and the treatment center.

The new project places a SEOLS lawyer inside TCC offices in Portsmouth and West Union. Although the legal assistance to TCC clients will not be different from that generally available from SEOLS, the partnership focus is on the civil legal problems most often impacting those people in drug/alcohol addiction treatment. Those legal problems are more often associated with employment barriers, access to subsidized housing, and costs related to past criminal court actions.

Read more at the Portsmouth Daily Times


Columbus Ice Miller Partner Recognized for Pro Bono Service

Columbus Ice Miller Partner Recognized for Pro Bono Service

John Gilligan Receives Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service

Ice Miller LLP congratulates partner John Gilligan, who was presented with the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation (OLAF) Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service. The award is presented annually by the president of the OLAF Board of Trustees to an individual, firm or organization that has provided outstanding leadership in the delivery of pro bono legal services in the state of Ohio.

“John is deeply dedicated to serving his clients in both private practice as well as those he serves pro bono, via the Legal Aid Society and other similar organizations,” said Richard Barnhart, managing partner in Ice Miller’s Columbus office. “John has served in numerous leadership roles to promote access to justice and legal services, and his efforts have made a tremendous impact both nationally and locally. The OLAF Presidential Award for Pro Bono Service could not have been presented to a more deserving individual.”

The award was presented at the OSBA Council of Delegates meeting on Friday, April 28.

John is the vice chair of the Ohio State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Committee, whose goal is to promote and encourage the funding of programs, services and entities that provide access to justice, especially for those who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.

John also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Society of Columbus and was chair of that board for three years. There, he is active in recruiting pro bono volunteers, handling pro bono matters and assisting with fundraising.

In addition, he served as co-chair of the Access to Justice and Legal Services Committee of the American College of Trial Lawyers and now is immediate past co-chair.

John began his legal career working for four years as a public defender. Although he entered private practice, John, along with his co-counsel in the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, successfully set aside the murder conviction and death penalty sentence of Derrick Jamison in a habeas corpus action. Today, Jamison is living in Middletown, Ohio as a free man.

In his practice at Ice Miller, John focuses on resolving or trying difficult business disputes, often involving financial services companies or governmental entities. During his 40 years of trial experience, John has tried more than 70 cases to decision, the majority by jury verdict. He has represented clients in federal and state courts, the Ohio Court of Claims and before arbitration panels.

About Ice Miller LLP

Ice Miller LLP is a full service law firm dedicated to helping our clients stay ahead of a changing world. With over 340 legal professionals in seven offices, we advise clients on all aspects of complex business issues across more than 20 practice areas. Our clients include emerging growth companies, FORTUNE 500 corporations, municipal entities and nonprofits. Learn more about Ice Miller and our client commitments.

This press release is intended for general information purposes only and does not and is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Know your rights: Getting your security deposit back when apartment plans fall through

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Imagine finding a new place to live, putting down a deposit, and then when you’re ready to move in, it’s no longer yours.

When Ms. E. found an apartment complex she wanted to live in, she filled out an application, took a tour and paid the security deposit. So, imagine her surprise when she was told the unit she wanted was no longer available.

“First it was, oh, I never made my deposit, then his own paperwork shows I made my deposit, then secondly, it was, oh there’s some confusion with the names being similar,” Loving said. “Well, even with that name case, I’m here for a two bedroom, never had an interest in a one bedroom. It’s not the same address, then it became, oh well, somebody came and made a deposit before you, well at this point, if that’s the case I want proof, nobody called me.”

Please note that our intake phone number is 614-241-2001

Watch the video and read the rest of the story at BetterCallJackson.com

LASC seeks relief for immigrant tenants living in apartments with extensive housing code violations

LASC seeks relief for immigrant tenants living in apartments with extensive housing code violations

The LASC Housing Unit has joined a lawsuit filed by City of Columbus against the Whispering Oaks Apartment Complex on the city’s northeast side that seeks relief for mostly immigrant tenants living in apartments with extensive housing code violations.  LASC became involved with eighteen of the tenant families in August of 2016, first helping the tenants write letters to the owners of the complex, requesting repairs, and then coordinating with Columbus City Code officers to make sure each of the properties was inspected.  Over 200 individual code violations were found, and the eighteen families began escrowing their rent in December.  In February, the City of Columbus filed a lawsuit in Environmental Court seeking court-ordered repairs.  LASC filed an Answer and Cross-claim on behalf of the eighteen families, asking that the complex be turned over to a receiver who would make the repairs, and asking for compensatory damages.  The litigation is ongoing. The tenants have now escrowed over $40,000 in rent money.

Whispering Oaks

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