Units condemned & hearing scheduled after action taken against Downtown West condo board members

Five board members, who are also STL CityWide execs, are heading to court.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2022 at 12:03 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - It’s been several days since another outburst of crime took place in downtown St. Louis. This past weekend, several shootings left property damaged and people injured. Now, St. Louis City leaders are taking action against a Downtown West problem property, Ely Walker Lofts.

That legal action comes after St. Louis Metropolitan Police said the condominium’s board members failed time and time again to keep residents safe. News 4 was at Ely Walker on Sunday talking with residents. Shortly after the story aired at 10 p.m., more chaos ensued.

“Residents here do not feel in any way, shape, or form safe,” Madelyn Munsell said.

Munsell, a resident of Ely Walker Lofts, said non-residents gained access to the building and threw parties with hundreds of people on more than one occasion. They’ve also seen car break-ins, shootings and even a murder in their lobby. On Sunday, it was like clock work.

“We started seeing a large group of people standing outside the building and trying to make their way inside. It wasn’t just through the front door. It was the back door, through the side doors. It was well over 100 people,” Munsell described.

Several residents said they called 911. They also said the on-site manager attempted to handle the outsiders with his own shot gun before the police arrived.

“It’s chaos,” Munsell added.

St. Louis Police say the city attorney’s office gave Ely Walker’s five condominium board members, Anshul Sathyan, Poppy Cao, Bill Richmond, Kyle Hennessey, and Sid Chakraverty, a cease and desist order months ago. However, after residents called 911 for help more than 60 times in 60 days, board members now have a summons for failure to abate. That means they failed to improve measures and now have to report to city attorneys.

“It’s about, you know, cameras, lighting, and stuff like that they need to provide for their residents, and obviously from the calls of service from residents, they’re not doing their part,” SLMPD Capt. Pierre Benoist said.

Documents obtained from residents show condo board members budgeted more than $1,600 for a security system contract in 2021. For 2022, that number was slashed to $0.

“That says that they’re not really concerned about their tenants,” Benoist said.

Residents said they had no idea legal action had been taken against their own board members.

More than 50 percent of Ely Walker’s units are owned by STL CityWide. The condo’s board members are all CityWide employees. The Secretary of State’s website lists all of them.

“None of those board members live in the building,” Munsell explained.

Other residents who own units inside Ely Walker also confirmed to News 4 none of the five board members live inside the building.

You may recognize STL CityWide. They have dozens of properties across St. Louis. Their other LLC is Lux Living. Lux Living has been building luxury apartments across St. Louis for years now. Currently, they’re building SoHo in Soulard.

News 4 reached out to an attorney who represents the five board members. In an email, he said he didn’t have any information at this time regarding legal action taken from the city. The attorney also said he had to ask his clients to inform him of what they know.

“It is their responsibility to maintain the safety of this building whether it’s the structure, the maintenance, the security, and without that we’re being neglected,” Munsell said.

Ely Walker’s board members are expected to see city attorneys on September 12 at 10 a.m.

Thursday morning, News 4 learned a Public Nuisance Abatement Hearing would be held on Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. at 1520 Market Street, Room 278. The same the notice was posted outside of the building, five units were condemned.