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Tenant insists DCF ignored warning about St. Pete group homes

Investigations
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A former tenant tells 8 On Your Side she warned DCF a month ago about squalor and inhumane conditions that resulted in the shutdown of two group homes in St. Petersburg last Thursday.

Police say the homes were filthy, had no running water or electricity and had missing outside doors.

Stephany Jorgensen says she was a former tenant of Marcus Anderson at another location and knew his tenants living at 3434 and 3418 2nd Avenue South in St. Petersburg had no power or running water back in March.

“Me and three friends spent a whole entire day dedicated to calling them,” Jorgensen said. “Over and over we told them these people need help, they’re not even being treated right, they’re not having mental health programs and therapy sessions.”

Jorgensen said DCF’s failure to take action last month left her frustrated and angry.

“They told us it was no longer an ALF, it was a boarding home and there wasn’t much they could do,” Jorgensen said. “That’s it, and we kept calling them over and over again persistently.”

DCF Spokesman David Frady tells 8 On Your Side that “details related to adult protective investigations are confidential” under Florida Statutes but promised to find whatever information he could reveal related to Jorgensen’s complaints. DCF and the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) are now investigating Anderson following St.Petersburg’s decision to shutter Anderson’s group homes as “unfit for human habitation.”

Anderson formerly ran five different state-licensed “residential treatment centers” but surrendered his state license last November. AHCA listed the homes as “closed” and said an inspection of the two properties now in question did not reveal any licensing violations in January.

An AHCA spokeswoman Shelisha Coleman has not revealed whether inspectors found people living at the two squalid group homes at the time of that January inspection.

St. Petersburg police arrested Anderson in September on an exploitation charge after determining he had taken more than $23,000 from the bank accounts of a man living at a different St. Petersburg location who was ruled as “incompetent.” In October, the Pinellas State Attorney’s Office dropped that charge without explanation, “after hearing testimony.”

8 On Your Side is investigating a number of allegations regarding Anderson’s treatment of mentally disabled clients and the response of state regulators. We’ll share our findings tonight on News Channel 8 at 6.

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