LIEN ON ME - Unpaid Bills And Taxes Take Toll On Property Manager
Hartford Realty Management owners offer little insight into company’s collapse
By LAURA SCHREIER, Hartford Business Journal Staff Writer
August 06, 2007
Despite the disconnected phone, Greater Hartford Realty Management still manages Hartford-area apartments — albeit beneath the pressure of mounting liens and unpaid taxes, the clamor of employee demands for back pay, and the silence of co-owners whose roles and interest in the business remain indeterminate.
Until a few years ago, the company, which is officially still owned by Richard Weaver-Bey, managed 2,500 units in the Hartford area. In 2005, Greater Hartford Realty employed 59 people and had $8 million in revenue, a number that had climbed 15 percent from the year before.
Since then, however, it’s fallen off the radar, with its properties under management dwindling to 150.
With nearly $200,000 in unpaid state taxes, Greater Hartford Realty Management was recently named by state Department of Revenue Services as one of the top 100 delinquent taxpayers in the state.
That list, published online, “is a method we use to try to shame them into coming in and paying,” said Sarah Kaufman, a department spokeswoman.
It’s not the only unpaid debt amassed by the company. The Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. has recently filed two liens totaling $131,000 against Greater Hartford Realty for unpaid utility bills at 15-21 Allen Place, part of the 300 block of Washington Street and 29 and 31 Annawan St.
Additionally, the business may also have to contend with employee complaints. At least two employees have filed grievances with the Department of Labor alleging unpaid wages and overtime, said spokesman Paul Oates.
Weaver-Bey, a renowned local businessman and former owner of three area AM radio stations, said his role in the company diminished significantly after local real estate developer John Reveruzzi bought an interest in Greater Hartford Realty in late 2004. Reveruzzi owns both of the buildings liened by the gas company.
Questions about the company’s recent past, Weaver-Bey said, should be directed to him.
Reveruzzi, for his part, said he had no knowledge of Greater Hartford Realty Management’s business dealings. Weaver-Bey, Reveruzzi said, “has the information on what properties he manages.”
Off The Radar
Local renters’ advocacy agencies say they haven’t heard much concerning Greater Hartford Realty Management, for good or ill.
“They’ve been pretty dormant,” said Karin Nigol, assistant director for the Housing Education Resource Center, a non-profit that mediates between landlords and residents. She and a lawyer for Greater Hartford Legal Aid said they hadn’t heard any recent complaints from renters involving the company. Both said Greater Hartford Realty had a decent reputation for managing properties, especially given the large number of units once under its care.
Greater Hartford Realty Management once managed several federal Housing and Urban Development residences in the area. Local HUD spokeswomen said those properties had been turned over to other managers. One of them is David Mesite, who is listed as manager for Sovereign Asset Management – based at Reveruzzi’s business address.
Weaver-Bey, who said he currently manages the company’s remaining properties, offered little explanation for his business’s rapid collapse. Although he did say it’s common for developers to buy up large numbers of units and displace the previous owner-manager agreements, he did not say whether that had occurred with Greater Hartford Realty.
As for the company’s future, Weaver-Bey said it’s too soon to give a game plan, or even to tell what role he will play.
“Things are still in a state of flux,” he said, adding that he is unsure of the company’s direction, and how large a role he will play in it.
One thing he did make clear: “I’m not prepared to get involved in a management basis,” Weaver-Bey said.