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Slumlord housed mentally disabled clients in squalid group homes despite numerous violations

Investigations
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Several investigations are underway after two St. Petersburg group homes were shut down last week.

The homes, which housed people with mental disabilities, had no power or running water and were filthy inside.  

RELATED: St. Pete assisted living facilities shut down after residents found in deplorable conditions
RELATED:
enant insists DCF ignored warning about St. Pete group homes
RELATED: Operator of group homes ‘unfit for human habitation’ in St. Pete has
history of state violations

Thus far, the state has not taken any action against the owner, Marcus Anderson, who was already the target of several investigations.  Although his homes were deemed by the city as “unfit for human habitation,” Anderson has never been convicted of any crimes related to his operations, our 8 On Your Side investigation revealed.  

Police arrested Anderson in September for exploiting an “incompetent” former tenant by taking more than $23,000 from his bank accounts, but Pinellas prosecutors later dropped the charge.

Since November, the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) says it has conducted seven investigations into Anderson’s business practices, six of which occurred after Anderson surrendered his license to operate assisted living facilities to the Agency For Health Care Administration (AHCA).  

The results of those investigations are confidential but none of them has resulted in criminal charges against Anderson. DCF did notify the city about squalid living conditions earlier this year after determining the state had no jurisdiction..

After responding to a number of complaints in February, Code Compliance inspectors in St. Petersburg found a number of violations, including holes in walls, lack of electricity and outside doors that didn’t lock according to city records and St. Pete Code Compliance Director James Corbett.

“At that point, the violations weren’t to the severity where we needed to shut them down,” Corbett said.

All of that changed on April 20 when police found nine people living in squalor in two former ALF’s, seven of whom were considered by DCF as vulnerable adults.

Police notified Code Compliance and the Fire Marshall and the city condemned both homes. The city is now considering demolition of one of them.

Anderson, who once operated five assisted living facilities, has a history of AHCA violations that go back years resulting in the surrender of his state license.

Anderson had no comment Tuesday when 8 On Your Side tracked him down to City Hall where he was appealing code violations related to a nightclub called Sugarland that he also owns.

Last week, Anderson tried to move some of his tenants to two other homes owned by his father, Curtis Anderson. But there was no running water or power there either and the city condemned those two homes.

Curtis Anderson works for Boley Centers, a nonprofit that provides housing and other services to people with mental disabilities. Boley’s COO told 8 On Your Side Monday that Curtis Anderson is now on administrative leave until questions about his condemned homes are all sorted out.

Marcus Anderson refused to answer any of our questions about the squalor of his properties as he left City Hall and climbed into his late model black Mercedes S550 and drove away.

Follow Mark Douglas on Facebook

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