Innocent, rent-paying tenants were evicted through no fault of their own because landlord was running the building into the ground, which forced the city to condemn the property.
Last year, many thought this issue was over when Anthony Cammariere signed his properties in Bristol over to another person. But, Eyewitness News exclusively learned, nothing has changed with this land lord.
One of the building’s owned by Cammariere sits on Willis Street. However, the inside of the building is toxic with black mold, rat droppings, spider webs, large mushrooms, raw sewage and exposed electrical wires. The porch is breaking away from the building.
“Call him for something, yeah,” Adam Delaney, who was evicted from Cammariere’s property, said. “I’ll have someone over there in a couple of days, never happens.”
For the last year, Delaney watched stories by Eyewitness News on his landlord Cammariere. He was living on the first floor with a hole in his ceiling and wondering if his home would be next.
“I never thought it was going to happen to me,” Delaney said.
But as of last week, it did happen to him. Cammariere said he was forced out of his apartment when the building was condemned.
Most of the residents in the buildings Cammariere owned thought the nightmare was over. That’s because last year, he was arrested and charged with multiple counts of reckless endangerment from building code violations.
After that, Cammariere turned his properties over to Jesus Soto. But, Delaney said it was still Cammariere, who came every month to collect his $825 rent.
Delaney said he wrote his rent checks out to two initials capital A.C and did not make them out to Soto, a company or Cammariere.
Cammariere admitted he still owned the buildings. But, insisted that Soto runs the day-to-day operations and that things are changing. Eyewitness News caught up with Soto at this Bradley Street office. It’s the same one listed on Cammariere’s condemnation order.
“The reason he uses this address is because of the water bills, the insurance, the mortgage,” Soto said.
Soto admitted that he never had ownership of the properties, but hoped to one day have them legally transferred.
In his role as property manager, he touted his renovation of 267 Main St. He added he evicted nine out of 15 residents to curb crime and installed security cameras. He’s hoped to show he’s different from his predecessor.
“$200,000 has been invested into these properties. Exterior painting, new decks, fire escapes,” Soto said.
But, convincing the city’s Mayor Ken Cockayne and some of his tenant that he’s nothing more than Cammariere’s frontman hasn’t been easy especially when it’s evident that in some cases, such as Willis Street nothing’s changed.
“When you have tenants saying to me, ‘I’m paying rent to Anthony, how is Jesus owning the building,’ I take it at face value,” Cockayne said.
“It’s basically like a puppet on a string. It’s a puppet company for him, but he still rakes in the money,” Delaney said.
As for Cammariere, he’s still facing charges that now include identity theft and larceny.
Eyewitness News asked Soto if he talked to Cammariere and asked him why he left him in a bad spot.
“Every day, you wouldn’t even imagine,” Soto said. “Sometimes I ask myself why did I even get myself into this position.”
Soto insists that Cammariere is not pulling the strings in this operation. Cockayne said he would like him to prove it.
As the city continues to crackdown on blight, Cockayne said they have programs for struggling landlords and Soto can always apply for it.
As for the tenants on Willis Street, some were re-located with the city’s assistance. Delaney, however, didn’t qualify because he was behind on rent. He’s now staying with friends.
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