A South Florida apartment complex received federal funds to make their complex safer, but residents say things have only gotten worse, and they feel forgotten. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin with this 7 Investigates.
In late May, the entire Glorieta Gardens apartment complex in Opa-Locka was flooded and underwater.
Brian Entin: “Are you all stuck over here?”
We were on Facebook Live when management spotted us.
Brian Entin: “You want me to leave?”
Brian Entin: “These people want to tell their stories, sir. They’re in flooded homes. We are just trying to show the situation they are in.”
Security: “I know, but we can’t have you on property.”
The video went viral with more than a quarter of a million views, and residents asked us to investigate Glorieta Gardens, so we did, and the problems here go much deeper than just flooding.
Brian Entin: “Is it scary to live here?”
Patricia Sims, resident: “Some tenants are afraid to the point where some of the tenants don’t even allow their children to come outside and play because they never know when the next shooting is going to take place.”
Patricia Sims’ 27-year-old son Jarie was shot and killed last year right outside their apartment.
Patricia Sims: “It’s a hurtful situation. He was my baby boy. I love him so dearly. Words can’t even express it. I have never felt pain like this.”
Tamika Knight’s 15-year-old son Reginald was also shot as they were coming home from church. He is still recovering.
Tamika Knight, resident: “We all went to turn to run in the house. Reginald pushed me first, the door closed, thought Reginald was in the house, got up to look. Reginald was shot outside the front door.”
In December 2018, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio wrote this letter to Housing Secretary Ben Carson about Glorieta Gardens.
He said he had “great concern” after “an extensive rehabilitation that reportedly cost more than $16 million … partially financed with federal tax credits … tenants were assured by management that a ‘state of the art security camera system’ would be installed. However, no such security system is believed to be present on the property, while violent crime and drive-by shootings remain prevalent.”
We did notice security cameras at Glorieta Gardens, and they also have a guard gate, but residents say people are still able to come in and out.
When we went to interview Patricia and Tamika, we were able to drive right through an open gate.
Brian Entin: “Do you think if there was more security, your son would have still have been shot?”
Tamika Knight: “No, he would not have.”
According to Opa-Locka Police records, in the last 18 months, there have been four homicides and 75 assault and batteries at Glorieta Gardens.
Michael Haggard, attorney: “Thirteen different people have lost their lives because of the gunfire that has continued to go on out there.”
Attorney Michael Haggard has sued Glorieta Gardens 10 times.
He has now filed two new lawsuits on behalf of Patricia and Tamika, claiming the complex is “a dangerous and hazardous area for its tenants.”
Michael Haggard: “It’s truly a social injustice. To have people like that, in our community, in America, living like this when the government is paying for it. I mean, it’s outrageous.”
I went into the office to ask about the ongoing problems, but they said they were not allowed to comment.
A lawyer’s office listed on the corporate records never called me back.
Residents say they have been ignored for far too long and feel stuck with nowhere else to go.
Brian Entin: “Do you still hear gunshots here?”
Tamika Knight: “All the time.”
Brian Entin: “When you say ‘all the time,’ weekly, monthly?”
Tamika Knight: “Every other day.”
A representative with New Vision Glorieta, a company associated with the property, told 7News, “We have increased the amount we spend on 24-hour security from $28,000 a month to $56,000 a month in the past year. There is a surveillance system, and we continue to work on securing the gates into the property.”