Some tenants at a local apartment complex are crying foul, with complaints including claims of mold, concerns over the buildings’ structural integrity, as well as licenses and permits pulled for construction work.
One of the owners of the Bay City Flats apartment complex in Ingleside is now speaking out.
During a city council meeting Monday night, tenant Cynthia Torres expressed her concerns over mold and other issues in front of the council. Then, owner Garrett Jacobs fired back.
“Ms. Torres continues to pick a fight with Bay City Flats and City Hall with a campaign of misinformation that is objectively false,” Jacobs said over Zoom. Later going on to tell the council that Torres is not only trying extort his property but she’s also trying to create a smear campaign to make his complex look bad.
"We would never jeopardize health and safety from money as Miss Torres has alleged,” Jacobs said about mold in the complex that would put residents at risk.
The toxic mold allegations come from Torres, Norma Pena, and other residents who say they’re afraid to go on camera.
Among one of his many question, Councilman Steve Diehl asked Jacobs if he had any suspicions that there was mold in the building?
Jacobs responded by saying, "not being a microbiologist, I do believe that there's microbial growth. There are thousands of different types of microbial growth so I can't say I didn't have underlying suspicion that this was in fact mold.”
On the other hand, Torres, Pena and others claim there’s mold and lots of it.
"It was black from the bottom to the top like completely black,” Torres said about a wall in her living room that was so flimsy she was able to open it and make the discovery.
"What the problem is is the toxic mold because if I got sick, somebody else is going to get sick,” Torres told us. “If this is Hurricane Harvey stuff, then this has been here for four years. This whole apartment complex should be torn down and rebuilt.”
Councilman Diehl proposed the owners work with Ingleside code enforcement to resolve the issue.
"Have y'all considered just doing an inspection of your whole building and get it certified” Diehl asked.
Jacobs responded, “absolutely. absolutely. There's no reason we wouldn't do it.”
Also coming into question at the meeting was the complex’s certificate of occupancy dated June 10, 2021. Torres and some others say they moved in before that date. Diehl said that will now be looked into.
But when it comes to mold, the council voted unanimously that all the parties in question need to take that issue elsewhere.
"Have the apartments checked for mold and find out what type of mold, if there's any mold in there, and anything above and beyond that is all civil,” Mayor Ronnie Parker said. "The city of Ingleside has no business being involved in that.”
As for Torres, she says she plans on suing the owners telling us that it’s not about the money but instead, the health and safety of the people living at the complex.