Unfinished business: A Capitol Heights neighborhood feels abandoned
For dozens of Addison Glen townhouse residents in Capitol Heights, the dream of living in an appealing neighborhood has been shattered. They say they feel abandoned by the developer, Michael Carnock and by Prince George's County officials.
"It more than hurts. It's very disappointing," said homeowner and father Dedrick Thomas. "It's disheartening."
Homeowner Johnette Walters said, "I don't want anyone to see where I live."
Families started moving into the townhouses in 2008. But Carnock never installed street lights. Residents said crime was rampant for months until the home builder, not the developer, installed lights.
"We made numerous complaints to the county and the developer and nobody did anything," said Thomas.
Residents say Carnock walked off the job more than a year ago. He never finished the roads. Huge concrete pipes litter the community. Sidewalks were never installed so school children have to navigate along a narrow curb being careful not to fall into deep storm water drains with no manhole covers.
"This is dangerous, unsafe and unsightly," Thomas said. "It's simply a dump."
In a phone interview, Carnock said he takes "full responsibility" for work not being completed in the Addison Glen subdivision. He said he's "the poster child for the credit crisis" and blames his missteps on lenders who went bust.
ABC7's "7 on Your Side" found two more troubled neighborhoods in Prince George's County developed by Carnock, one in Mitchellville and one in Bowie.
County official Aubrey Thagard said, "Now you have this cosmic slop so to speak, in terms of the mess that we have in some of our neighborhoods." Thagard, an assistant deputy chief administrative officer, added, "I mean, if I were a resident in one of these neighborhoods and this had been going on for more than a week I would feel concerned about it."
But, residents in Addison Glenn say they've been begging county officials for help for years, wanting them to either push Carnock to finish the job or do it themselves. But, the county didn't.
"As a last resort, the county would come in and complete the work," said Thagard.
The County has been threatening to take Carnock, and his company PDC, to court since 2008 but never has.
"I think we've been very aggressive here," said Thagard. "We're sending a strong message to PDC and others that we'll take you to court if we have to."
Meanwhile, families are falling deeper in debt due to plummeting home values.
"This could ruin us financially," said Walters. "It just makes you lose faith in mankind. How could you sleep at night knowing that you took someone's money and left them in this situation just to be here and rot?"
After "7 On Your Side" told county officials about the safety hazard of open drains, they said the manhole covers had been replaced. But, that was not true. All that had been done was to place a piece of plywood over the open drains.
Prince George's County Department of Public Works and Transportation spokeswoman Susan Hubbard said in an email:
"The County has performed maintenance as appropriate along the road frontage; worked with the surety company to ensure the work gets completed; and has met with the community numerous times to keep them abreast of what is going on."
Hubbard went on to say "the area is not unsafe, but inconvenient" and that there are "approximately 50 cases [like Addison Glen] in default throughout the County."
Carnock insists he'll finish Addison Glenn by the end of 2012.
Residents remain skeptical.
Last summer the Baltimore Business Journal interviewed Carnock about how he rebounded from the bad economy. Read the article here.
READ documents of the 7 On Your Side investigation.
DOC #1 - August 1, 2011 letter from Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation to property manager for Addison Glenn Homeowners Association informing them that developer Michael Carnock’s construction permits are in default and the county will not step in build the road in front of the subdivision that Carnock left an unfinished mess.
DOC #2 – January 26, 2010 email from home builder Ryan Homes to Addison Glenn Homeowners Association detailing the builder’s discussions of concern with Prince George’s County officials regarding developer Michael Carnock’s Addison Glenn subdivision.
DOC #3 – June 3, 2010 email from home builder Ryan Homes to Addison Glenn community regarding steps it has taken and money it has put up to complete aspects of the subdivision that developer Michael Carnock failed to complete.
DOC #4 – Online court documents detailing some of the liens and judgments in Maryland and Virginia against developer Michael Carnock.
DOC #5 – Email dispute between Addison Glenn Homeowners Association representative and developer Michael Carnock. Fall of 2010.
DOC #6 - 7 On Your Side’s investigation uncovered two more troubled neighborhoods developed by Michael Carnock. This is a neighborhood newsletter for Fairview Manor in( Bowie, MD??), that attributes rampant crime in the subdivision to Carnock’s failure to install the street lights he promised.
DOC #7 - 7 On Your Side’s investigation uncovered two more troubled neighborhoods developed by Michael Carnock, including the Adnell Woods subdivision. This is a letter from Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, dated July 11, 2008, announcing the county’s demand for payment in full on Carnock’s $493,300 performance bond that insures completion of the developer’s work.