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Board suspends north side apartment complex’s tax exemption amid efforts to force cleanup

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A county board voted Friday to suspend a property tax exemption at Lakeside Pointe at Nora, a north side apartment complex recently targeted by health inspectors and community leaders.

Marion County records show that the complex's owners, Farh-Fox Lake Affordable Housing, received a tax exemption in 2006 for running a charitable affordable housing agency. The exemption means the owners have not paid property taxes in more than 10 years.

"I just think it’s unbelievable. Obviously if you’re not providing humane living conditions, you should not be exempt from paying property taxes," city-county council member Colleen Fanning, a Republican, said.

Fanning and other leaders in the Nora area have been working to get the complex to clean up. Last month, health inspectors performed a sweep of the complex that led to 200 repair orders and multiple emergency orders. Residents have told CBS4 that they went weeks without hot water, in addition to other potentially dangerous problems.

"They always say that they’re going to do something, but they never do," one resident said in June.

CBS4 Problem Solvers discovered in county records that five liens have been placed on the property since the beginning of the year by companies that say they performed services and were never paid, despite additional records that show the complex's owners paid off their mortgage loan in October of last year.

The Marion County Assessor sent a letter to the complex in early July asking for documentation and warning owners that their tax exemption could be suspended. They did not receive a response.

No representative of the complex showed up to Friday's Property Tax Assessment Board of Appeals meeting, where board members discussed the complex's exemption and ultimately voted to suspend it.

Neil Cox, a concerned community member who attends a church near the complex, did speak to board members, saying he is concerned about the conditions of the complex and lack of response from its owners.

"I think it would be great if they responded and they say, 'Hey, we’re so sorry, we’re anxious to do well in the Nora community,'" Cox said.

CBS4 Problem Solvers reached out to employees in the complex office for comment, who took a message and said someone would call back. As of Friday, no one had returned the call.

The county assessor's office will send certified letters to the complex and its last recorded attorney on file. If documentation is provided, the board could take up the exemption at a future meeting and potentially reinstate it.

Health inspectors also re-inspected the complex on Wednesday to see if repairs had been made. The results of that re-inspection are expected to be released next week.

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