ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — For eight years, Terrence Gordon has called the Paradise Apartments home, but last month, he received a notice that he was being evicted.
The paperwork indicated he owed $259.00.
“I am going to catch up with whatever I owe, which you know, I’m two or three hundred bucks behind,” Gordon said. “I’m on a set income. Like I said, the money, it’s not about the money, it’s about the way you’re treating people. “
Gordon was one of three tenants in the building who received notices. Councilman and mayoral candidate Robert Blackmon purchased the property in April.
When the St. Petersburg Tenants Union heard about what happened, it stepped in to stop the evictions. William Kilgore said the evictions were voluntarily dismissed last week.
“He made a serious error by ever filing these evictions in the first place,” said Kilgore. “We consider this a major victory that is a testament to the strength and power of tenant organizing.”
Blackmon issued a statement saying his company recently acquired the property, and renovations were already in the works.
I am proud to be a provider of quality affordable housing in St. Petersburg. My family business manages affordable apartments throughout the city. We have worked to increase the supply of affordable housing options in our community. When we acquired Paradise Apartments on April 30th of this year, we immediately began preparations for extensive upgrades to the property. However, a number of residents were both non-communicative and non-paying, hindering the ability to make the necessary repairs and upgrades.
We are moving forward with a six-figure repair and renovation of Paradise Apartments. We are not currently seeking eviction of any resident of Paradise Apartments, and are committed to making this property something the residents of Paradise and the community can be proud of.Robert Blackmon, councilman and mayoral candidate
The councilman reached out to 8 On Your Side and provided photos below of properties he has already renovated.
Gordon said the place is already looking better now that Blackmon has taken possession, and he hopes to stay there until he can buy a place of his own.
“I’m up-to-date on my payments and everything,” Gordon said. “Just waiting on next month to pay my rent again, you know? “