Wall of Shame

Landlords love to watch our records, so we watch them back. Here’s the worst of the worst.

Sam Cacia

Landlord Sam Cacia rented Tenant HR and her fiancée an apartment located at 1526 W. Ritner St., 3rd floor, above Cacia’s Bakery in South Philadelphia.  It was listed online by PA Realtyworks. An agent showed them the unit and handled the lease. The apartment had multiple code violations and needs for immediate repairs. The landlord, Sam Cacia, refused to repair anything aside from the defective front door. The bathroom sink had no running water and the spiral stairs to the front door were dangerous and probably illegal due to improper egress.

The landlord refused to return any portion of their security deposit of $1,000 after they moved out and did not provide any documentation or receipts.  He also kept the last month’s rent of $1,000. The tenants informed Donna Destefano of PA Realtyworks and she claimed the tenants were still responsible for several additional months of rent because the lease “rolled over” to another year. The tenants were not informed of this provision when they signed the lease.

The tenants researched the apartment and found that the landlord, Sam Cacia, had not obtained a rental license for their third floor apartment or the second floor apartment below it at the time of move in. Additionally, the tenants were not provided a Certificate of Rental Suitability upon move in. The landlord, Sam Cacia, only obtained proper licenses after being reported to Licensing and Inspections by the tenants. The tenants paid PA Realtyworks $100 for their services. Sam Cacia has refused to return any portion of their security deposit despite the tenants’ repeated contact attempts to resolve the matter.

The representative of PA Realtyworks defended Cacia in emails to tenants and insisted that they were bound to an illegal lease. The tenants consider the agency responsible for the loss of their security deposit because they never would have rented this apartment if they had known they would be dealing with an unethical landlord that provides illegally substandard housing. The tenants have since moved out of state and have followed the appropriate channels for reporting the misdoings of all parties involved.

Watch out folx, Sam Cacia is not to be trusted as a landlord.

SBG Management

Late October, a unit in the Dorset Court Apartments in West Philly burst into flames. The faulty smoke alarms didn’t make a sound, and the fire spread quickly before being noticed. Residents were unsurprised. For some time now the building — housing over 100 people — has been the host of roaches, rodents, mold and mushrooms growing out of the floor. Dorset Court Apartments have been hit with fire violations for years.

SBG Management (which describes itself as “reliable and warmhearted”) has been routinely lax about making timely repairs. The building was cited for broken fire alarms back in the summer — had they made the needed repairs, this fire might have been prevented.  Residents are still recovering after having their lives put at risk by the neglect of SBG Management Services.

Ingerman Management Group

Tenants of the group’s properties report multiple issues of neglect (mice infestation, holes in walls going unrepaired, carbon monoxide leaks). These issues have been reported and gone unrepaired.

Marty Josephs, President
Marty Josephs, President

Ingerman Management was sued in 2017 after the company’s (at that time) only black female member of the leadership objected to “discriminatory comments and conducts, including sexist and racist comments that were made by the company’s highest-level executives.” The lawsuit includes claims of inappropriate and sexist comments and pictures. She was fired shortly after the complaints.

Brad Ingerman, after receiving $18 millions in loans for rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy, said he never thought he would be “so thankful for a hurricane or superstorm.”

Marty Ingerman noted that seniors “were instructed to purchase renters insurance” when asked about burst pipes that caused damage to many low-income senior housing units. Ingerman management groups owns the Elkton Senior Apartments in Maryland. He said the company had no obligation to offer financial assistance to seniors forced to live out of hotels while waiting weeks for repairs.

Michael Davis

Davis is a landlord who makes a habit of preying on people in homeless shelters, moving them into properties and evicting them in short order. He barges into people’s homes unannounced. He’s pressured tenants into doing repair work for him. Without pay. He’s crammed tenants into properties against code and rented out Housing Authority property he didn’t own, both of which led to sudden evictions. The Tenants Union has had more than one interaction with slumlord Davis while defending the tenant rights of our now-VP, Barry.

He was in trouble in 2013 after some of his tenants rented a property from Davis that Davis did not actually own. The tenants were evicted with 24 hours notice after this was discovered, and had to pack up and get out.

Powelton Properties

Powelton Properties (owned by Sheldon Schwartz) is a management company with a long list of tenant complaints. Those brought to PTU include complaints of illegally jury rigged breakers and related potentially dangerous electrical problems. Other complaints include misleading tenants, pest infestations, refusal to make necessary repairs, raising rent after lease renewal, heating problems, and fire safety issues. Tenants are repeatedly called liars when making complaints and asking for assistance. Their Yelp and Better Business Bureau pages are telling.

Gitau Kaggia

Gitau Kaggia

Kaggia came on our radar after this landlord tried to evict Joan, a single mother living with her pregnant daughter, over what he claimed was a $60 unpaid bill. After he admitted the bill to be untrue (she had paid all her bills and rent) he went ahead to evict her anyway without cause, while her daughter was still pregnant. Due to the city’s lack of Just Cause protections for renters, he is likely to get away with it.

Emmanuel Freeman

Emmanuel Freeman is infamous for mismanaging funds of the Philadelphia Settlement House nonprofit he ran, complete with poor record keeping and missing funds which ended in bankruptcy.  Residents at the Hamill Mill Apartments complained they had been without heat for months. Emmanuel Freeman apparently owed almost $60,000 in unpaid PGW bills for that property, leaving residents out in the cold. The only solution they provided for the freezing residents was electric space heaters.

At another residence, Elder’s Place, air conditioners were broken in the housing complex that catered to low income seniors, a dangerous situation for the elderly. Inspectors also recorded a broken fire alarm system, mold, illegal wiring and water leaks.

A city inspector quoted in a Philly Magazine article described Freeman’s nonprofit as:

“able only to provide minimal social services to the families. They are deficient in most of the required standards, many of which are safety-driven. There were months and months of contacts notes missing. The agency blamed this problem on workers who were no longer employed with the agency. It appeared to this evaluator that many of the problems were systemic; meaning that the agency had no real or concrete understanding of what was required of them.”

While the nonprofit was shut down long ago, the city appears willing to forgive some of Freeman’s debts on the property he still owns, despite a clear record of mismanagement. Hopefully the city will come to its senses and not enable slumlords further.

Cross Properties

Cross Properties Management was brought to our attention when they bought Penn Wynn apartments, and subsequently attempted to mass evict the primarily low income residents.

Left to right: David Blumenfeld, David Rice, Bobby Fijan, Ajay Raju, Kevin Michals

The plan was to convert the largely low income housing into student housing complete with a pool and rooftop deck.

Hundreds of people, many of whom were on housing vouchers or disability payments, were given little time to relocate. Many had been living there for decades. Many more were disabled or elderly and had little money and ability to relocate. Cross Properties didn’t even guarantee security deposits back, despite their plans to completely renovate the whole building. The tenants of Penn Wynn were up against rich developers, one of whom was known for wearing $12,000 shoes.

Through the work of the PTU, tenants were able to get an extension to their move out dates and their security deposits back. But Cross Properties Management is still redeveloping other buildings the same way. They’ve been last seen in the news applying for historical tax credits to save money on their Penn Wynn luxury redevelopment, to be called “The Dane.”