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Apartment owner says MSD won't pay enough for damage from 2016 sewer backup

Posted at 10:06 PM, Apr 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-03 07:29:58-04

CINCINNATI -- It didn't take long for Angela Brooks' apartment to flood during an August 2016 storm.

"I want to say probably three hours, and pretty much everything we had was gone," she said. 

More than 19 months after flooding led to major sewer backups in areas like Norwood and Paddock Hills, hopes of getting Brooks' apartment and her neighbors' back to normal are circling the drain. Multiple units at the apartment complex remain in disrepair. 

The property owner, Charles Tassell, bought Woodside Apartments 55 days before the sewer backup happened. He said he's been going back and forth with the Metropolitan Sewer District for more than a year. 

Tassell said he gave MSD three estimates for repair work from three contractors. MSD initially responded with an offer $250,000 less than his lowest estimate. They recently made a higher offer that included possible sale of the building. 

Tassell said neither option is acceptable. 

"Literally eight affordable units have been offline -- four three-bedrooms, four one-bedrooms -- for 20 months, that families have not been able to utilize, haven't been able to help anybody," he said.

Of those units, seven were occupied at the time of the flood, according to Tassell. Two of the tenants have relocated within the complex. The five others left.

MSD settled all of the tenants' damage claims. Brooks said she was able to replace most of her belongings, but she wishes she could put them back in the apartment that used to be her home.

"If you helped us and you said that you said that you were wrong, and you were able to help us, then you should have helped the people who owned the building," she said. 

A representative for MSD said Tassell's complaint is penidng in court, but didn't elaborate of the gap between what Tassell said he wants and what they're offering. 

Tassell said if he got the money, it owuld take 10-14 weeks to get the units repaired.

To report a sewer backup or file a claim with the Metropolian Sewer District you can call 513-352-4900 or submit a claim online.