New Haven Independent Report Uncovers Slumlord Section 8 Scam

A recent New Haven Independent report has taken the concept of the “slum landlord” to a new level. The Independent found that landlords Janet Dawson and Michael Steinbach were letting their low-income properties fall into disrepair and foreclosure for nonpayment while they continued to collect Section 8 federal rent subsidy dollars from the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH).  In October alone, almost $80,000 was paid to the pair’s various corporate entities for 73 of their properties.

The Independent focused on five of the hundreds of properties owned by Dawson and Steinbach. Visits to the properties and a close examination of public records by an Independent reporter revealed that in each case, Dawson and Steinbach had taken out mortgages 10 or more times the property’s worth, never paid on those mortgages to lenders, and continued to collect rent from tenants – most of which was paid by the federal government under the Section 8 program.

The landlords previously operated under Apple Management, LLC – now defunct – and have since transferred titles for the properties between dozens of their LLCs, a common practice of landlords dealing with foreclosure.  Banks have issued summonses, but most of the foreclosure lawsuits are pending; Dawson and Steinbach are still able to collect rent until lenders take over the property.

In the meantime, properties occupied by tenants are deteriorating. One property was cited by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development for Section 8 properties for rotted sinks, broken glass, holes in the walls and ceilings, and entire floors in need of replacement.

All five of the properties examined by the Independent failed multiple Section 8 health and safety inspections.

Read the full story here.

The New Haven Independent is published in collaboration with the Online Journalism Project, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to hyper-local, quality journalism.