Spiros Zorbalas update: Are notorious properties getting cleaned up?

Minneapolis slumlord still reigning over ramshackle homes

Operators at the city's Housing Services help line, citing city policy, declined to say whether the number of phoned-in complaints has decreased, increased, or remained constant. Neither Zorbalas nor UPI representatives returned messages to say what, if any, policy changes the company has undertaken. But back in her apartment, Anna isn't convinced the decline in complaints is due to improvements made by UPI.

When she notified her new building's management in January that she was preparing to bring a complaint—management was once again dragging its feet on a maintenance request despite receiving notice from a city inspector—Anna was met not with accommodation but intimidation. On several occasions, she says, the building manager banged on her door threatening to hit her with late fees on rent she had already paid.

"The management was absolutely cuckoo," says Anna, who had saved the receipts proving she paid the rent.

A blast from the past
Will Staehle
A blast from the past

She subsequently went to Housing Court and successfully filed for a rent escrow. UPI was ordered to fix up the place before collecting rent.

"It was unreal. They were harassing me, yelling at me, accusing me of not paying rent despite the receipts," she says. "They bully people into not complaining. But nothing has changed. Nothing's changed at all." 

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