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Letters to the Editor

The slumlord must go!

The article on Spiros Zorbalas was not only informative but eye-opening ("The Slumlord of South Minneapolis," 1/30/08). How can this lowlife continue to operate, even as a "slumlord," in our city? Surely something can be, and must be done about this no-good property owner raping the lives of some of the least fortunate people in our society. Is it possible for your readers to electronically sign a petition to bring "The Rat" in front of the licensing body that oversees rental properties in Minneapolis? Surely laws exist that would regulate and punish building owners for this kind of abuse to rental tenants. In a city that is so kind to less fortunates, there certainly has to be an avenue that can be pursued to eliminate such seedy characters as Zorbalas. The sad reality is that there are others like "The Rat" who feed off the inequalities of the poor, and we, as responsible citizens, must not let people like Zorbalas continue to operate their rundown rental properties. Your input into reaching the correct authorities would be appreciated. This man has to go!

Gary P. Minneapolis

No name comes up more often than Spiros

I was thrilled when I saw the cover of this week's issue! I have been in the tenant-screening industry for the past five years and have just about heard it all when it comes to bad tenants or bad landlords stories—but no name comes up more often than that of Spiros Zorbalas or his companies. UPi is impossible to do business with and I can only imagine (with the help of the many stories I hear) what it would be like to rent one of their units. Thank you for researching and writing such a great piece!

Robyn Kunz Crystal

A former (frigid) tenant

Thanks for your story on UPi/Spiros Zorbalas. I lived in one of UPi's "nicer" buildings, and was confronted with no heat when it was below zero, nonexistent maintenance (a guy showed up three months after I'd placed a call about having no power—luckily I was able to resolve it myself the next day), frequent building break-ins, and the most incompetent, uncaring front office staff ever. I urge those who live or have lived in UPi's buildings to prove Spiros wrong and take action against this awful company.

Steve Dallas Minneapolis

Overflowing garbage? Must be Zorbalas.

After we finished reading the recent slumlord article about Spiros Zorbalas, we thought about the building next door with the overflowing dumpster and then went to the website to look at the map of his properties. Surprise, surprise, he owns the building next door as well as five others on this block. We are wondering how to get involved in working against him, working to get him out of our neighborhoods and our communities. Could you, City Pages, give us a list of proper steps to take to get involved? Contacts?

Thanks for printing the article, and hopefully people in the cities will get more involved in this issue to make sure this article doesn't turn out to be useless, like Zorbalas predicted.

Rebecca and Kennedy Minneapolis

Where was the mayor?

The exposing of one of the biggest slumlords in the city was much appreciated, but also depressing. Mayor R.T. Rybak filled us with crap when he promised to address the affordable housing crisis and help low-income people have better access to safe, decent, affordable homes. Instead he's focused on Moneyed Minneapolis. He's got a new place for millionaires to play and tons of homes for them to live. Anyone making less than $30,000 has been sacrificed. It's disgusting that for all the talk so many of Minneapolis's elected officials give to helping those less fortunate, they continue to allow assholes like Zorbalas to continue their crap. Hopefully, the list of buildings will help renters know what they're moving into.

Karla Weigold Minneapolis

Making a difference

Great piece on Spiros Zorbalas! I think this piece is going to get a huge response from the Twin Cities. Perhaps you didn't intend to make a difference with the piece, but I sincerely hope you do!

Marie Martin Minneapolis

Less talk, more rockin' the boat

After reading Kaminsky's article on the new king of Minneapolis slumlords, Spiros Zorbalas, I found myself nearly as mad at the entire Minneapolis City Council as I was at that Greek piece of shit. The council's ability to debate the mistreatment of circus elephants while roofs fall on sweet, young music students' heads means that that entire body is not doing their job. "Well, ya see, regulations dictate that revocation of rental licenses can only occur when three or more infractions coincide with the summer solstice and..." Fuck your regulations. Make new ones, then. If this isn't the perfect example of local government screwin' the pooch, then what is? Councilman Schiff, less talky-talky, more do-y do-y, ya bum.

Joe Widmer Minneapolis

Rich get richer, the poor default on their mortgage

So let me get this right. If I am late on my house payment (or rent) I can get thrown out of my home and have my credit rating slashed, but a convicted felon can traipse into St. Paul's Housing and Redevelopment Authority and receive $3.99 million in loans? Did they do even a basic background check? Either the City Council is complicit, or they're incompetent. Either way they should be ashamed of themselves.

Betsy Spitzer Minneapolis

Spiros goes scot-free

As far as I can tell, the city can apparently do nothing about this guy—not even with everyone on my block calling the cops over and over for just about everything imaginable. Isn't there something we can do about landlords like this? Again, thanks for the article...it's a welcome sight.

Michelle Layland Minneapolis

Seize the initiative, and the properties!

I'm appalled at the conditions that the most vulnerable people are forced to endure. It's quite obvious that in most aspects of our society, the only way to right the wrongs is to have money for attorneys. In my opinion, the city of Minneapolis should seize the buildings, collect the rents for the landlord, and not release the monies to him until the conditions are acceptable on an ongoing basis. I can't believe this is happening in the state of Minnesota!

Kathie Wright Edina

Forget about getting a new fridge

Thank you so much for printing the article about Zorbalas.

One time I tried to help my brother-in-law get his fridge fixed/replaced in his 3700 Grand Ave. S. apartment (it had been a month since they complained and nothing was done about it). When I went down to the UPi office, I was told that the owner was in Florida.

They never did get their fridge so they moved out instead.

This man needs to be stopped! Too many people are busy living their lives and trying to get by without having to fight for a clean, usable space to live in. They are paying for the space, and he's abusing that!

Thanks again for bringing this to attention. Is there anything the average person can do to help this situation?

Jessica Chavez St. Paul


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