LAKEWOOD, Ohio — The portable fans have been furiously blowing for the last two weeks inside the Center North apartment building on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood. Yet still, the thermostat on the wall inside one resident's apartment read 86 degrees on Friday.
Since July 14, there has been no air conditioning, and because the converted former high-rise office building mostly has windows that cannot open, people and pets are suffering.
"We're not able to cook," one resident, who did not want to be identified, explained to 3News. "One of the big things is not being able to use the dryer because it just heats everything up."
Many tenants we spoke to, feared talking to us on camera, but resident Tony Prusac, who spoke out to 3News earlier this week, said that the media attention has helped.
"I think the media spotlight has definitely made it [have] a sense of urgency," said Prusac.
In an email to residents that was shared with 3News, the apartment management claims that the critical computer circuit board needed to fix the air conditioning system is now in Canada, and that "as soon as the board is ready, we have a chartered a private plane to fly our maintenance personnel to Canada to personally retrieve the board and bring it back to town," the email states.
The email continues with, "We have arranged for a smoothie truck to be at the building today 4 PM, so please enjoy."
The property managers for Center North is Premiere Property Management, which is owned by commercial real estate company, Kowit & Company Real Estate Group, headquartered in Mayfield Heights.
3News visited the offices of Kowit & Company located on Landerhaven Drive, and the firm's partner, Brad Kowit, was nowhere to be found.
Property manager, Christine Kreckal, would not confirm the emails about plans to charter a private plane to help speed up repairs, but promised that a company leader would respond.
"I promise," said Kreckal. "We will get back to you."
3News did not receive a response on Friday.
Past financial troubles for company
According to court records, Kowit & Company Real Estate has had previous financial troubles, including a history of not paying taxes.
Records show that the Ohio Department of Taxation has sued the company seven times in the last six years, winning judgments against Kowit & Company totaling $147,422.
Earlier this week, the property management sent a statement to 3News, that reads in part, "The vast majority of the tenants of Center North we have spoken to, see our nonstop commitment to get the air up and running. We have not dodged the issue nor our tenants, and we have indicated that we will always do right by them. Rest assured that our main priority and focus is to get these units working."
Meanwhile, a sign for Kowit & Company on the outside of the Center North building indicates that the company is currently leasing.
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