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Central Park Towers employee leaves job after expressing concern about living conditions

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Posted at 5:27 PM, Aug 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-20 11:59:35-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan.  — Poor conditions at a Kansas City, Kansas, apartment building has left one man without a job.

Imani Ruffin worked at Central Park Towers, located 15 North 10th Street, for one day before leaving the job Wednesday after Ruffin said he was involved in a contentious exchange about the building's condition.

“The regional manager came in yesterday and I expressed all of these concerns to him," Ruffin said. "I had the little mask on my face and he said, 'You can’t do that,' and I said, 'I don’t feel comfortable with the air quality.'"

Ruffin said he told the regional manager that he didn't have a complete picture of the property's condition, having just arrived in town.

"He was like, 'Oh, I don’t feel like you fit the company values with our company, and I think it’s just time for you to leave,'" Ruffin said.

He said he obliged and quit.

Ruffin said he would wear a mask because of mold and said he was concerned for his health.

“I’m scared that there could be something wrong with my health from the time I was there breathing in that low quality air," Ruffin said.

While still working for the company, Ruffin snapped photos of the living conditions. Those photos show flooded floors, holes in walls and missing ceiling tiles, along with mold.

Central Park Holdings LLC, which is based out of Atlanta, is listed as the property owner. Despite several attempts to reach the company, Central Park Holdings did not immediately return any messages.

Abe Derhy of Treetop Developments told 41 Action News that Central Park Towers is now under their management, though Central Park Towers was not listed on their website.

In a statement, Derhy said Ruffin was not an employee of the apartment building.

Derhy said, "He was brought on site through a temp agency that same day, and was asked to leave after 4 hours due to poor work habits."

KCK city officials confirmed that they've had issues with the apartment building for several years.

Due to a state law change in 2016, the city said they cannot inspect privately owned rental properties for city or county code violations without consent from the occupant.

The city also said the building most recently was inspected July 23 and several follow-up visits have taken place to assess conditions at Central Park Towers.

“I got in there and I really saw how they’re treating these low-income people," Ruffin said. "They treat them just because they have low income or it’s HUD, they treat them like it’s a low priority."

Central Park Towers receives money from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which the city of KCK claims is responsible for enforcing the living conditions at the complex.

“Over the last 10 years, they’ve got numerous citations, but nothing ever changes," Ruffin said.

Derhy told 41 Action News the building is undergoing several improvement projects. He said, "The property is currently undergoing significant capital improvements, including plumbing upgrades, that will benefit the residents and property."