Tenants Tricked Into Paying Rent To Homeless Man, Fake Property Manager

Friday, August 17th 2012, 10:21 pm
By: News 9

Tenants of a southwest Oklahoma City apartment complex are fighting mad after learning they have been paying rent to an imposter, someone who the Oklahoma City-County Health Department believes is a homeless man posing as a property manager.

The health department says all of this happened after the owners of the complex abandoned the property more than a month ago. Tenants say the fake property manager actually "hired" a maintenance man to illegally turn on water for the complex after the city turned it off for lack of payment.

"Right now, I just want to kick his a**," tenant Kelly Bernam said.

Residents of the abandoned Melrose Terrace Apartments are looking for fake property manager Ocie Reed. The problem is, he hasn't been around lately. Late Friday, News 9 attempted to reach Reed at the apartment complex and on the phone, but there was no response.

The owners of the property are based in California. They've neglected the complex, located at 7301 Melrose Lane in Oklahoma City. After the neglect, the city says then property manager Reed stuck around to make some extra cash. The City-County Health Department believes Reed to be homeless and says he was not supposed to be running the property after it was abandoned.

"He's been letting people stay here and taking their money, and I don't know what he's doing with it," said tenant April Plunkett. "He brings women over here into the office, and he's made sexual advances to almost all of us who live here."

On July 17, Oklahoma City turned off the water supply at Melrose Terrace after receiving no money for the bill. Somehow, the water was illegally turned back on.

At the same time, the health department started investigating the mess. Officials immediately realized the property needed to be condemned. That means all the residents who currently live in the complex have three days to move.

"Everything we own is in there, and we've got the weekend to get out," said tenant Kelly Bernam. "We have no money. We don't know what to do."

Five families are left living in buildings that the government says are unfit for humans.

"Where [are] we going to go," asked Bernam. "We don't have anywhere to go because we've already paid our rent to this guy."

If the remaining residents do not leave by Monday, August 20, they could be arrested for trespassing. Fake property manager Ocie Reed has not yet been arrested.