HUD takes over Cardinal Pointe complaint investigation

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has assumed responsibility for investigating a Cardinal Pointe resident’s complaint of unfair treatment.

Amy Bass, who has lived in the Shallotte apartment complex for three years, originally complained to the N.C. Human Relations Commission, which has waived its jurisdiction and “referred the case to HUD for processing and investigation,” according to a letter from HUD to U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre concerning the case.

Bass said this week she is happy about the decision to pass the investigation on to HUD.

“I approve of the wisdom of this decision, because HUD’s impact will be far-reaching beyond our state to states where NRP is being funded by state and federal funds,” she said.

Cardinal Pointe is part of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which is run by the IRS and allows companies to invest in low-income housing, while receiving 10 years of tax credits.

The program works with state housing finance agencies to administer the program on a state level. Housing credit units are privately owned by developers and are run at a profit.

Last year, Bass submitted written complaints to several agencies stating the managers charged her more rent and fees than they were allowed and denied her the first-floor apartment she was originally promised.

“My new rental rate is at $640,” her letter states. “My disability income is approximately $19,000 per year, and all government agencies advise not to have house payments or rent over one-third of your income. My new rate constitutes 42.3 percent of my gross—and this is a low-income housing development?”

In her complaint to the attorney general, Bass, who receives Social Security benefits because of a spinal disability, claims she was denied the first-floor apartment she was originally promised and charged additional rent.

According to the N.C. Fair Housing Act, it is against the law to “refuse to permit, at the expense of a handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by the person if the modifications are necessary to the handicapped person’s full enjoyment of the premises.”

During her time in the second-floor apartment, Bass says she developed bone spurs and had to undergo more treatment. She soon learned downstairs units were available, but to have access to one, she had to have a doctor’s note, the manager told her.

Once she provided the note, a manager called her and said she could have the unit right below where she was living, but she would have to put up a $530 deposit on a new unit, “and if I did not do it that day, they would not guarantee that I would have an apartment,” she wrote. Bass says she borrowed the money from a credit card.

Several months ago, a manager at NRP Management LLC, Cardinal Pointe’s property management firm, said she wanted to meet with Bass next week to discuss the problems and find a resolution.

Bass did not agree to a meeting.

“I had considered speaking with her, but she kept telling me ‘this is not an investigation.’ I got to thinking ‘how can three years of abuses not be an investigation?’ so I contacted Mike McIntyre eeand I am pleased to announce that this is an investigation.”

Lori Sharp, who requested the meeting, did not return calls seeking comment.

sarah shew wilson is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or swilson@brunswickbeacon.com.