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Rubio Surprises Global Ministries Slumlords, Visits Residents Forced to Live in Deplorable Conditions at Stonybrook Apartments
Riviera Beach, FL – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) made an unannounced visit today to Stonybrook Apartments in Riviera Beach and visited with residents. Global Ministries Foundation (GMF), which owns the complex and similar residential properties across Florida, receives taxpayer dollars through U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and faces numerous code violations for deplorable living conditions.
In May, Rubio met with Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo to discuss the neglected state of the federally-subsidized apartment complex. Present today were Riviera Beach Mayor Thomas Masters, Councilwoman Dawn Pardo, Fire Chief Reginald Duren, and Police Major Josh Lewis and other officers.
Following his visit, Rubio condemned the inhumane conditions and demanded answers regarding the federal funding received by Global Ministries Foundation. A partial transcript of Rubio’s remarks is below.
Friday, September 9, 2016
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Riviera Beach, FL
Senator Marco Rubio: “This is the way Global Ministries Foundation buildings look like all over the state of Florida and all over the country. We have been to Global Ministries buildings at Eureka Garden in Jacksonville – same conditions. Senator Nelson and I did a surprise visit to a facility in Orlando – same conditions. This building here is actually, believe or not, a little bit worse than the ones we’ve seen in other places. It hasn’t received as much attention other than from local officials. So I have been on this issue now for a number of months, and one of the things I asked for is an investigation of Global Ministries, the slumlords who run these facilities.
“I don’t think they should be in this business at all to begin with. And finally, about a month and a half ago, they announced numerous investigations including the Justice Department and here’s why. They take HUD money. They have federal money from the taxpayer to maintain these units, and they’re not maintaining it. So where’d that money go? Where did the money go that they’re getting to maintain these units? If they’re not spending it on maintenance that means they are keeping it. And that’s how the individual, whoever runs this facility, runs this company, makes half a million dollars a year. And he’s got four or five relatives working for him as well. So I am glad they are under investigation. They should be out of this business. And quite frankly if they have stolen that money, they should be in jail. They’re slumlords. They should never again be allowed to operate any buildings in this country.”
“Well up until now no one was doing anything about it. I mean people knew that it was isolated. They got run out of one building and they move into another. But I think now finally you’ve got people pointing fingers at it and looking at it. And part of the thing we have to do is we have to show up by surprise because if they knew we were coming here today, they would do what they did in Jacksonville. If they knew we were coming they’d put up a bunch of banners, they’d have a hundred people come out pretending to be a work crew, they’ll do cosmetic fixes. But, in the end, when you need the improvements they don’t happen. So they’ve been getting away with it for a while. And they’ve been run out of different communities, but this is the first time they are getting national attention. And my hope is not only that they are out of this business and that a new company, new operator come in here and does a better job. But we need to find out where that money went because they didn’t use it to fix up this building.”
“Actually let me tell you something. You see the conditions here? They’re similar to the conditions in Jacksonville. In Jacksonville, they were passing HUD inspections. HUD was certifying these buildings as passing inspection. So HUD has got to change the inspection process because the current inspection process didn’t take into account for bedbugs, mold. They’re only looking at whether the building is going to fall down or not. And they know that they have to fix the inspection process. So that’s what one the things we did in the bill we passed this year too.”
Background On Rubio’s Efforts To Hold Global Ministries Foundation Accountable:
- October 9, 2015 – In a letter, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry first informs Rubio and his staff about the conditions he had just seen at Eureka Garden Apartments.
- October 16, 2015 – Rubio’s staff met with HUD officials in Jacksonville, called Eureka Garden’s state “alarming”
- January 21, 2016 – Rubio demanded action from HUD for Eureka Garden Residents after allegations of lead poisoning
- April 27, 2016 – Rubio discussed the ongoing problems at Eureka Garden with Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry and Councilman Garrett Dennis
- May 12, 2016 – A day before visiting, Rubio discussed problems at HUD’s Eureka Garden in Jacksonville
- May 13, 2016 – Rubio tells slumlords at HUD Apartments in Jacksonville: “You Guys Are Disgusting”
- May 13, 2016 – After shaming slumlords, Rubio calls for criminal investigation
- May 18, 2016 – Rubio spoke on the Senate floor blasting Global Ministries Foundation
- May 19, 2016 – The Senate passed legislation that included three Rubio amendments to improve the U.S. Department of Urban Development’s oversight of public housing projects
- May 24, 2016 – Rubio urged the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to open an investigation into Global Ministries Foundation
- May 25, 2016 – Rubio met with Riviera Beach Councilwoman Dawn Pardo regarding the deplorable conditions of GMF’s Stonybrook apartment complex
- June 6, 2016 – Rubio again called on DOJ to investigate GMF after touring an Orlando housing complex with Senator Nelson
- June 7, 2016 – Senator Rubio’s staff visited Stonybrook with Councilwoman Dawn Pardo and Police Major Josh Lewis and talked with residents
- July 14, 2016 – Senators Bill Nelson and Rubio filed a bill to hold slumlords accountable for poor conditions
- August 3, 2016 – Rubio commented on the federal raid of slumlords at Global Ministries Foundation, which he called for earlier in the year
- August 11, 2016 – Rubio welcomed report that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Global Ministries Foundation