For more than two frustrating years, a neighborhood group charged with tackling eyesore buildings has monitored alleged prostitution and drug use at a four-story apartment house in Egleston Square.
The property, at 3116-3122 Washington St. and 87 School St., is a perennial source of consternation at the Problem Properties Committee. The group is chaired by Michael Reiskind and Liana Poston, the latter on the staff of Rep. Liz Malia, D-Jamaica Plain. Representatives from Boston Police District E13 and Inspectional Services also attend.
Police Officer Carlos Lara reported that in October an arrest was made after police were called for a domestic violence dispute with dangerous weapon at Apt #2. There was evidence that Apt. 2 was being used as a rooming house in which each room is rented out by the leaseholder. This has been a frequent complaint by residents for years. Complaints of prostitution and drug use out of that building began to be common in mid-2012.
In April 2013 Inspectional Services met with the property owner George Stamatos and informed him that police suspected that the leaseholder of Apt. 5 was renting out individual rooms.
Stamatos did not return a Jamaica Plain News call for comment on this story.
After an inspection by ISD in May 2013, a violation was issued against the property owner when it was discovered that five unrelated people not on the lease were living at that apartment.
This building — one of the largest in the heart of Egleston Square — was designated a Problem Property in December 2013 based on the large number of 911 calls to that address. It's opposite the YMCA and Greater Egleston High School.
The 911 calls haven't solved the problem. The owner remains uncooperative; despite requests from Problem Properties that a full inspection be conducted of the multi family building, it wasn't until July that ISD was able to enter the building.
Since then, Inspectional Services issued a complaint that is winding its way through housing court.
Meantime, Stamatos continues to collect rents and police continue to respond to calls for common street walking, loud music, public drinking and domestic violence; and these are only the calls that have been reported by residents; unreported problems are also suspected.
At the January Problem Properties meeting, police said they check the building three or four times a day.
Police Sgt. Beth Leary told the News that problem buildings like these are very frustrating to the police because they fall between Inspectional Services and the Police Department.
"We all have to wait on the [housing] court," Leary said.