Tenants Fear For Safety At Harp Property

Melissa Bailey PhotoA broken front door led to corridors of black mold, urine, and crack bags. Is that the landlord’s fault? And does it matter in the mayor’s race?

Those questions emerged from a nighttime visit Tuesday to Robeson Elderly Housing, a low-income elderly complex at 91 Rosette St. in the Hill.

The visit took place soon after the completion of a heated mayoral debate earlier in the evening among the five Democratic candidates for mayor.

During that debate, one of the candidates, Hillhouse High School Principal Kermit Carolina, called the family of one of his opponents, state Sen. Toni Harp, one of the biggest “slumlords” in town. He challenged any disbelievers to follow him to Rosette Street after the debate so he could prove his point. The Independent took him up on his offer.

The Rosette Street property Carolina visited is owned by a company run by Harp’s son, Matthew Harp.

Three tenants interviewed during Tuesday’s visit cited numerous concerns about drugs, mold, safety and sanitation.

In an interview Wednesday, Matthew Harp acknowledged the building has problems. He said those problems reflect the challenges of being an urban landlord, fighting drug-dealers and intruders. He outlined moves he has made to improve the building, including renovating four of the 22 apartments, and allowing cops to set up a mini-headquarters there. And he noted that Robeson scored an 89 out of 100 on its latest federal inspection.

“It’s not a slum property,” Matthew Harp said.

Toni Harp couldn’t be reached be reached for comment Wednesday. During Tuesday’s debate, she said, “All I can say is I didn’t have anything to do with my husband’s business or my son’s business.” She has sought to establish that distance throughout the campaign, in the face of news that Renaissance Management, the business her son inherited from her late husband, Wendell Harp, owes $1.1 million in delinquent sales tax, making it number one on the state’s list of 100 delinquent businesses.

“I think it’s a cheap shot,” Harp said. “I’m really ashamed of him,” meaning Carolina, for attacking her like this.

“I’ll take you to a number of those homes. I’ll let you speak to a number of residents of those streets. We’ll start with Rosette Street,” Carolina replied.

“What About Our Safety”?

Carolina pulled up to the Robeson Elderly Housing complex on Rosette around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday in his 2007 Lexus SUV, accompanied by Percy Pell (pictured at the top of this story), a former tenant there. Pell, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and emphysema, showed up with a small oxygen tank in tow.

As they got out of the car, they encountered three people sitting on the steps of the complex who appeared to be drunk or high. Pell, a former tenant who stays in touch with tenants in the building, called out a cheerful hello.

The three-story, 22-unit building is a former elementary school dating back to 1888. A rock propped open the outermost door, which had a large crack across the glass. The three people, who looked like they were in their 40s, don’t live there; they were just hanging out, according to Pell.

A man at the building let them inside to see the conditions—conditions that Pell said forced him to flee the home in 2009.

To get inside, you didn’t need a key: The security system was down, and the door opened with an easy tug.

The basement, where Pell used to live, had black mold on the ceiling.

A half-dozen dime bags, of the kind typically used for crack cocaine, were scattered on the floor.

The two apartments in the basement are currently vacant.

“They have sex down here. I’m getting out of here!” said the tenant who had led the visitors to the basement. The tour continued upstairs.

One stairwell reeked of urine. The smell appeared to be emanating from the floor, as well as from a vodka bottle, which had been emptied and replenished with yellow liquid.

Carolina and Penn met with two elderly tenants, veterans of the Korean War and World War II.

One tenant, who declined to give his name for fear of eviction, said the front door has been broken for two weeks. “It don’t lock,” he said. “You can shake it and come in.”

“What about our safety here, when the door is wide open?” he said. He said “outside people” roam the halls.

“People sleep in the hallway” and “pee in the elevator,” he said. They do drugs and sell drugs, too, he said.

The tenant said there is no management on-premises. The laundry in the basement is broken, so tenants have to go to a laundromat. “The light in the back is bad,” he added, referring to a dark parking lot in the rear of the building.

The tenants interviewed said they did not feel comfortable having their names published.

After hearing the tenants’ pleas, Carolina (pictured) vowed to “keep the pressure up” on the landlord.

“I’m running because I want to fight for folks like you,” he told them.

Lt. Joe Witkowski, the neighborhood’s top cop, later confirmed there has been “low-key but chronic” criminal behavior at 91 Rosette.

“All it takes is one or two building who are letting somebody else in. That creates issues of drug use, prostitution,” Witkowski said. “That’s what we’re dealing with.”

Witkowski said police “have an assigned patrol just to stop in there and be a presence” at the complex. “Our officers do stop in there a lot.”

“Dangerous To Human Life”

Penn said the poor conditions in the building are just like the ones he fled in 2009, when he lived in a basement apartment at Robeson. In a lawsuit filed in state court, Penn alleges that on Oct. 11, 2009, the furnace in the basement leaked noxious chemicals into the building because the ventilation pipe wasn’t properly connected. Penn and another tenant both suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the lawsuit. Penn said he spent five days in the hospital as a result of the leak. His suit seeks over $15,000 in damages.

The suit charges the landlord with negligence for creating a situation that was “dangerous to human life.” At the time of the alleged incident, the building was owned by Toni Harp’s husband, Wendell Harp. Matthew Harp inherited the business from his father in December 2011 after his father died.

The case is set to go to trial this fall in state Superior Court.

Matthew Harp declined to comment on the pending litigation. In a memo filed in court, lawyers for his dad’s company, WCH Limited Partnership, wrote that if the furnace was defective, as charged, the tenants “failed to pay attention and to observe and avoid the defect.” The plaintiffs’ own actions contributed to their injuries because they “failed to mitigate the damages,” the landlord argued.

Landlord v. Drug Dealer

In an interview Wednesday, Matthew Harp acknowledged the building’s current problems.

“It’s a very tough building in a very tough neighborhood, and we are doing the best that we can to manage it,” he said.

Harp said the problems reflect the challenges facing landlords across the city who rent to low-income tenants. The Robeson apartments are subsidized by the federal Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Section 8 program, for low-income elderly and disabled tenants. Harp is the managing partner of ROB WH LLC, the company that owns the building. He said he’s doing his part to keep on top of the property.

“The building is cleaned on a weekly basis—every week or two weeks,” depending on staffing availability, he said.

He acknowledged the front door is broken. But he said that’s not due to landlord negligence.

“There is a tenant there whose son is dealing drugs,” he said. “The door is broken because every time that we fix it,” the “tenant’s son continues to bust out the lock so that his customers can have ready access.”

Harp said he is trying to evict the drug-dealer’s family. But “the courts are friendly to tenants, especially” when the person causing problems is not on the lease: It’s hard to evict a father for his son’s behavior.

“It’s very hard to find a court who is going to move these people on,” Harp said.

“Drugs in urban areas, especially in Section 8 areas, are a huge issue,” he added. Even when everyone knows who’s dealing drugs, it can be hard to build a case because tenants don’t want to testify against them.

Harp said he plans to add more lights to the back of the building, as the 84-year-old Korean War vet suggested.

Cops Move In

Harp said he has been working closely with cops to monitor the situation. He recently gave Lt. Witkowski the keys to the building, as well as keys to an office on the 3rd floor, to be used as a mini-substation.

Keeping a building safe and clean “requires tenant buy-in,” Harp added. “That means that tenants have to be responsible for trash. If they see something, they need to say something. If they see a bottle of urine or a dime bag, it’s not unreasonable to expect that they would pick it up, rather than wait” for a weekly cleaning.

Asked about people sleeping in the hallway, Harp said, “I’m not there when people are sleeping, but that’s the reason why we’ve giving police access to the building. It’s the tenants’ job to call the cops when they see people sleeping in the hallway.”

Harp said since he took over his dad’s business, all of his properties have scored over 85 on a 100-point scale on federal Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) inspections.

91 Rosette is “not a slum property,” Harp said. “It’s not on the same level as a Church Street South. There’s a huge difference.” A HUD spokeswoman Wednesday confirmed Robeson earned an 89 on its most recent inspection. Anything above 60 is a passing grade.

Harp said he’s also making moves to improve the conditions inside the apartments, most of which are one-bedrooms or efficiencies. “As people move out, we’re renovating each apartment,” putting in new floors and new cabinets. He started doing that when he took over the business in December 2011, he said.

“There has not been a lot of tenant turnover, so we have not had the opportunity to do that as much as we would like,” Harp said. But he said he is making the renovations at Robeson and at other properties “at great personal cost to the business,” because he believes it’s right.

Separate Lives

As he drove away from the Hill around 10 p.m., candidate Carolina said the visit proved the point he was trying to make: That Harp’s family is “one of the biggest slumlords in the city.”

“None of our elderly residents should be forced to live like that,” especially not those who risked their lives for their country in war. “My heart goes out to them for having to live in those conditions.”

Matthew Harp later replied that his business, Renaissance Management, runs seven apartment complexes in New Haven and one in Ansonia.

“If [91 Rosette St.] were the only building that we own,” Harp argued, “I would say perhaps Kermit has a point and we can do better. But this is not the only building that we own.”

Harp said Renaissance is doing much better at other properties.

“Kermit unfortunately attempted to cherry-pick something,” Harp said.

Melissa Bailey File PhotoCarolina cast the blame on Toni Harp. As the “matriarch” of the family, she should “hold people in her own home accountable,” he argued.

“For her to allow the properties that her family owns to exist like that is a crime,” he said.

Matthew Harp said the responsibility lies with him, not with his mom.

“At the end of the day, what I do is not at all reflective of my mom and/or her position in this campaign,” he said.

“When it comes to this business, it’s not her job, it’s mine,” Harp said. “We are two separate people. We do two separate things.”

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posted by: anonymous on July 17, 2013  3:02pm

Assuming any one of these allegations are true, this is absolutely beyond revolting.  People are LITERALLY dying by being forced to live in these conditions.  And Mr. Harp has not a shred of honesty in him.

For Senator Harp to claim she has no interest, when she lives for free in a 9,700 square foot mansion overlooking the Yale Golf Course, is simply beyond the limits of acceptability in New Haven.

Let’s hope Harp drops out of this race, and focuses on some more frequent conversations with her family.

posted by: SaveOurCity on July 17, 2013  3:21pm

Shameful.  Section 8 money (our tax dollars) are being funneled through this property to a landlord who obviously does not use the profits to keep the property clean and safe.  Meanwhile, the profits do obviously help to pay for the mansion in which Toni lives.

How is this allowed to continue?

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on July 17, 2013  3:25pm

It could be worse, and some of those East Rock Illegal rentals are probably worse. Let’s see a story about the conditions of Elicker’s apartments!

posted by: Webblog1 on July 17, 2013  3:31pm

During the debate on Tuesday the question arose:

6:50 Question: What are you going to do to deal with absentee landlords, mortgage fraud, and slumlording that have plagued Newhallville?

Carolina response:

Carolina: “Harp’s family “was the biggest slumlord in New Haven.” Her supporters boo. Carolina says LCI should hold slumlords accountable. And make sure they don’t “abuse Section 8—like certain family businesses are doing in the city.”

Carolina should have answered.. if elected Mayor, my first task would be to restructure the LCI department to insure full enforcement of all the anti blight housing code violations. he did not say this.

Instead, Carolina took the matter in his own hand as a private citizen, and made visit to the property, press in tow, without notifing the landlord and did not file a complaint with LCI, who is responsible for local section 8 inspections.
LCI has no record of complaints. It is not unusual for a property to pass a Hud inspection one day and be out of compliance the next day. Thats tenant neglect.

The task of removing recalcitrant tenants through the housing court could take up to six months or longer, with no rent being collected.

But to the question at hand.. does Carolina prove a political point by by- passing the code inspection system and taking matters into his own hands, then tying the resultant findings to Toni Harp, who is not the owner of the property.

I think not.. it’s an embarrassing political stunt.

posted by: Curious on July 17, 2013  3:32pm

How is Matthew Harp allowed to be NUMBER ONE on the state’s list of 100 delinquent businesses for unpaid taxes when he owns a $500,000 in Woodbridge and a $600,000 house by the Yale Golf Course in New Haven that are supposedly assets of his father’s business, now his business?

Why aren’t those properties being repossessed to cover his 1.1 million dollar tax bill?

posted by: Morris Cove Mom on July 17, 2013  3:47pm

So she owed back taxes and had a tax lien placed on her property AND her son owes back taxes to the tune of $1.1M? I’m sorry to say that stuff like that says a lot, whether they are in business together or not.

I don’t like people who cheat, steal, or use and abuse others (in this case, the poor) to benefit themselves. Section 8 vouchers should not be allowed to be used on any property in this condition.

Ms. Harp and her son are trying to defend themselves while distancing themselves from one another. They are only blaming Mr. Carolina for pointing it out. They say that it would be different if this was the only building they owned. I say it would not be. Hire staff, fix the door, and do better. Pay yourself less. It can be done.

posted by: Wooster Squared on July 17, 2013  3:49pm

Shame on Toni Harp and her family. Those conditions are truly appalling.

If Harp can’t even keep tabs on what’s going on with her own family’s questionable business dealings, how can she be trusted to oversee the operations of a city of 130,000 people and a budget of almost half a billion dollars?

She’s shown time and again that she’s willing to ignore legally questionable behavior, first with her husband and now with her son, when it suits her needs.

I hope at the very least, this article will shame Matthew Harp into making those properties livable.

posted by: FairHavenRes on July 17, 2013  3:50pm

I’m disappointed in Kermit Carolina and I think this was a cheap political shot.  Unless Toni Harp is involved in the day-to-day decision making and the management of Renaissance, the tenant living conditions in those properties do not have anything to do with her!  I haven’t seen anything indicating that she’s at all involved with Renaissance; someone correct me if I’m wrong.  Tenants can be a tough lot, and yes, your property can pass inspection with flying colors one week and the next week there can be an absolute mess for you to have to clean up.  It’s not easy being a landlord.  While Matthew Harp may need to work more diligently on some of the problem properties, it’s pretty ridiculous for Carolina to take up voters time during a debate and try to tie these two things together.  Shape up, Carolina!

posted by: Curious on July 17, 2013  3:51pm

Righteous Cyclist, thank you for the laughs, that made my day :)

Webblog1, the tenants don’t make complaints because they don’t want to be evicted, it says that in the article.

Clearly Toni Harp was willfully, purposefully ignorant of her husband’s business dealings so that she could give dodgy answers when pressed on things like this.

Whatever else, this cat is out of the bag.  So now that Toni Harp DOES know about it, what does she intend to do about it?

posted by: robn on July 17, 2013  3:52pm

After most of us have seen our property taxes (and rent) double and triple in recent years, I find it profoundly disturbing that Sen Harp is the recipient of great largess from her family business, and that that business is in arrears of taxes to the tune of 2,3,4,5 times the value of most taxpayers homes.

posted by: InformedOpinion123 on July 17, 2013  3:55pm

Webblog1 - Well said! Carolina went on the attack instead of stating what HE has done or what HE will do as mayor. And he completely attacked this situation like a private, angry citizen instead of from a broader, larger perspective like a mayor would. He showed that he is simply not ready to be the next mayor of New Haven.

posted by: Righteous Cyclist on July 17, 2013  4:10pm


You probably think Senator Harp should disavow her son’s business and her family trust. Do you think she should turn her back on them? You think it’s fair to ask her to find means to support herself, just for your high moral democracy-fund “ethical” values?

Senator Harp isn’t responsible. Stop the ugly attacks already, let those old bones lie.

posted by: Curious on July 17, 2013  4:28pm

@ FairHavenRes,

Toni Harp lives in a home owned by that same company, or one of the Harp family’s shell companies.  She lives there as a condition of her late husband’s will…pays no taxes on it….rent free, mortgage free.  So Toni Harps is 100% willing to benefit from her family’s business dealings, no question.  Yet she vehemently denies she is in any way responsible.  That’s a BIG moral gap.

@ robn,

I’m pretty sure Xavier is among us still, just having fun with a new name and a new candidate.

posted by: Babz Rawls Ivy on July 17, 2013  4:30pm

What is the point of this Geraldo Rivera tactics?  Too much reality show antics and not enough seeking solutions.  If you are concerned about the well being of folks then you handle it without bringing in the media. Was the goal to show that you are on it? Really?

This political pageantry is the reason voters are apathetic. I do not like the disrespect.  I do not like the tone and the desperation of wanting to win by any means.

I do think there are ways in which issues can be raised that focuses on the problem and solving the problem. This climate of GOTCHA! Is so tiresome and sad. Because if you can’t raise issues and address concerns without being pompous, disrespectful, and insulting,  then you cannot earn my vote.

I am looking for a different kind of leadership… not grown-up bullying and posturing. I want real dialogue and not soundbites. I want thoughtful and inclusive problem solving skills.  I want someone who will put people first ahead of personal bullshit and petty name-calling.

Come on already. Make your case, and sell your vision based on your ability not on anyone else’s failure or shortcomings.  We the people can see, and hear, and reason, and discern. Play me straight, come correct. Come with realness.


posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on July 17, 2013  4:34pm

Now that the New Haven Independent is doing investigative reporting on allegations made by one of the candidates, in the interest of being fair and balanced, the voters would hope that you would investigate ALL the allegations made at this very controversial debate. Do the community a service and fact check ALL the charges made against ALL the candidates. A whole lot of mud was slung that night and the people have a right to know the truth from fair, honest and balanced reporting from the New Haven Independent. You have opened this Pandora’s box and now you must do stories on all of the allegations made that night, lest you be accused once again of favoring one of the mayoral candidates. Set everything on the table and let the people decide who they want to vote for based on FACTS provided by the investigations of a free and unbiased press!

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 17, 2013  4:36pm

Ok what bothers me is her out right denial that she was so clueless. This is an intelligent women, playing the I knew nothing card. To me that is the most insulting part of all of this. Same thing with all the taxes. I am sorry but even the most dysfunctional family still talks about there day and its issues every so often. 


With section 8 housing this should not be happening at all. I hope that LCI is going to these units right now…because if it was anyone else they would be.

posted by: Elm City Hustle on July 17, 2013  4:43pm

@Righteous Cyclist

“Senator Harp isn’t responsible.” We agree, that’s what the entire article is about. She is nowhere near responsible enough to be mayor.

posted by: streever on July 17, 2013  5:02pm

Harp has set herself up for this. She hasn’t articulated a platform, and doesn’t have any policies she’d implement on her website. There is absolutely no substance whatsoever to her campaign—it is based entirely on “everyone likes me” and “poor education and a lack of jobs are a real shame”.

Well, a lot of people like me, and I am disgusted by the state of education and the poor jobs offered in New Haven. Do I get to be Mayor?

No. Mayors need to—as you say—articulate a vision and a clear platform. Until Harp does that, she will be mired in these minor scandals and accusations and reality TV dramas, because that is the sum totality of her vapid and insubstantial run for office.

posted by: ByFar on July 17, 2013  5:04pm

As a native New Havener who no longer lives there I must say I’m really perplexed at how most comments revolve around Toni Harp’s home; square footage, cost, and location.

Before she decided to run for Mayor, which i do believe, with her background and experience, if elected would be a win for the city of New Haven. The Harps worked in their chosen fields which entitled them to purchase a home wherever they so desired.

The current mayor lives in an established neighborhood and I’ve never heard anyone make mention of that during his term(s) in office. Why don’t you stick to conversation that will make New Haven a better place to live and not focus on one apt building. If you tour New Haven there are many, many building in disrepair and it’s not because the landlord has not tried to repair issues..and Kermit shame on you for resorting to an approach unbecoming of someone who wants to be mayor…

posted by: Bill Saunders on July 17, 2013  5:06pm

Righteous Cyclist,

The old bones do lie.  That is one of the problems.
Thankfully, the skeleton is still dancing…..

posted by: ELMCITYPROF on July 17, 2013  5:14pm

Two things:
1) The conditions there are absolutely deplorable and should be addressed IMMEDIATELY

2) While Matthew Harp needs to be held accountable I don’t think it’s appropriate to blame his Mother for the behavior of an ADULT

3) Carolina appears to be the media darling. Between the Register and the NHI I’m starting to think he’s the only one with a direct line to reporters.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 17, 2013  5:20pm

posted by: Webblog1 on July 17, 2013 3:31pm

I think not.. it’s an embarrassing political stunt.

No it is called Opposition political research.All political camps use this.To exhuming skeletons in candidates closets, from past votes to past marriages.And the fruits of that labor often winds up in the headlines.How about the politically-motivated,vindictive investigation on Kermit Carolina.I did not hear any of you crying about that.Get ready more will be coming now from all camps.

posted by: streever on July 17, 2013  6:06pm

I think it is obvious why this is the focus on Harp—she isn’t issuing policy ideas or advocating a platform. Her entire campaign to date is about her likability and her ability to talk to other lawmakers. Don’t believe me? Spend an hour on her website and read her media statements. I challenge you to find anything of any actual substance.

Until Harp expresses a coherent and fully formed platform, I don’t know what else there is to debate about her.

posted by: Scot on July 17, 2013  6:32pm

I’m shocked that there are people on this message board saying this is not relevant, or this is a cheap shot, or pointing the finger at Carolina for exposing this.  Are you kidding me?  Harp is running for mayor of our city and we aren’t entitled to ask why her husband or son owes a million dollars in back taxes?  She thinks it’s a “cheap shot” that she’s asked about this?  To think that someone who is well educated and is a state senator and is trying to be mayor would have no knowledge about her husband’s business (condition of buildings or finances) seems incredibly strange to me, unless she was intentionally turning a blind eye to it.  What do they talk about at dinner? 

Managing your personal businesses is absolutely relevant for someone who’s asking to manage a city. In the strange and highly unlikely event that she knew nothing about the businesses of her husband, shouldn’t she have? 

The son’s response about the building conditions was that this was just one bad building and the rest of their property portfolio is fine.  I’d like an answer to the question of why they owe so much in taxes. 


posted by: HhE on July 17, 2013  6:39pm

Well, I have not seen so much gymnastics since the Olympics. 

The maximum effective range of an excuse is zero meters.

That mold did not just happen. 

I have an idea for Mr. Harp; work with your Mom to develop laws that would make evicting tennents who let people deal drugs easier. 

Other than privicy issues for his tennents, yes, let us have a look at Justin Elicker’s apartments.

posted by: beyonddiscussion on July 17, 2013  6:49pm

Carolina is Mr. One Note. All he seems to know how to do is slash and attack. Still I am bothered that the Harp famiy has not paid their huge tax bill with so many other assets seemingly at their disposal. She’s Chair of the Appropriations Committee - she should make sure her family pays the $1.1 million it owes the state.

posted by: Wildwest on July 17, 2013  6:54pm

What a terrible family business to be involved in while serving citizens and running for another public office. Carolina should be thanked for bringing this up by everyone in New Haven. What is no surprise is that the unions support her. Open your eyes people, this lady is WAY out of touch and the union support of her is disgusting.

posted by: HewNaven on July 17, 2013  7:56pm

streever is right. Harp has avoided coming up with any real ideas and this is what happens.

Harp said she’s running for Mayor so that little girls don’t need to worry about bullets flying through the bath tub. That was the opening line of her closing remarks last night.

Similarly, Fernandez wants to be Mayor so that he no longer has to explain to his son why there are needles and used condoms on their street (he also said its the most beautiful street in New Haven)?!

Neither Harp nor Fernandez is offering any substantive policy ideas. They’re using canned lines that every city politician has used for years. So far, only Elicker and Carolina have put forth clearly articulated policy ideas, especially Elicker’s 75 Solutions.



posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on July 17, 2013  8:50pm

This isn’t rocket science guys.

How is a person who lives in one mansion for free, and has use of a second mansion elsewhere that they use for parties, both are which are owned by their slumlord son, going to battle slumlords (which are rampant in our city, I’ve seen the inside of some properties that make me weep for humanity).

How can we expect this individual to close the gaps in our city’s ethics policy?  When they are living in a violation when they get elected to office.

I don’t care if you own over 9000 properties, if you have even one where there is a giant streak of black mold across the ceiling and bottles of urine lined up in the hallways, you are a slumlord.  Taking care of profitable properties is easy, keeping up with you obligations when your investment goes south (or maybe even starts south) is honest business.

If Toni Harp wants to drop the connections to her corrupt family members in this race for mayor she needs to have stopped being a beneficiary of that corruption a long time before it was a good political move.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 17, 2013  9:27pm

Know Nothing and Nothing But Excuses Notes:

1. Personal and family history is fair game in politics. It speaks to character, awareness, integrity and personal responsibility.

2. It’s very convenient to simply dismiss really egregious things by simply saying “I didn’t know, she didn’t know.” Besides, it is patently untrue. Harp has known for five years, there was a million dollar tax bill to the state. Once you know it, she clearly didn’t do anything to rectify it. That should have brought up the federal, state and local tax liens.

3. That this property passed any inspection is in itself, shocking. How did that happen? Mold doesn’t happen overnight and when you have a problem property, you need to go by there every day and night; install lights, cameras and more. Does the Housing Authority oversee this property?

4. Harp Jr. has had control of this property for more than a year. That is way more time than necessary to get this building in shape.

5. Toni Harp is the matriarch of her family. Now that she knows of all these problems, she should do all that’s necessary to correct them. It is grossly simplistic and dismissive to say these are somebody else’s problems. Her family’s business of irresponsibility is hurting citizens and hurting this state. Sitting by and doing nothing about it is not indicative of a leader.

posted by: just my view on July 17, 2013  11:37pm

Sounds good to make it political fodder - but nobody within has suggested how to deal with the people who are causing the unsuitable environment.

Will you absolve the landlords when they force these people to the streets for failure to follow the simple rules for safety and cleanliness and are turning the building into a pig sty. What will the outcry be when they decide to eliminate the ability for Sec 8 people to rent in the property.

Seems like a diversionary tactic by KC…

posted by: markcbm on July 18, 2013  12:34am

For what it’s worth, Renaissance Management, the biggest tax delinquent in the state, owes just shy of 50% greater - 50%! - than the second largest tax delinquent, Smoker’s Discount World in Windham. 

In other words, Renaissance Management isn’t just the biggest tax delinquent in the state, it is the biggest tax delinquent BY FAR.

If in doubt, do the math yourself:

(1) Renaissaince Managment’s tax debt: $1,089,590.74

(2) Smoker’s Discount World tax debt:


posted by: BornandraisedschooledinNewHaven on July 18, 2013  6:30am

I’m Not Voting for Wendell Harp, I’m voting for Tony Harp record on what’s she’s done. So why are we grasping for straws, come on Carolina you’re sinking to a new Level get out of the gutter if you expect to win a Race with votes of people other than your Hillhouse parents and your Cronie who barraged himself in Wendell Harp building (wnhc)protesting back in the day. You’re appearing in the shadows of the rebel without a cause! We all have Skeletons in our closet. Swim upstream & stop the Nonsense, People are smarter than credit is given.

posted by: Hemp_Shirt_Rocker on July 18, 2013  7:10am

So it turns out Ms. Harp did not have to tour the “worst” parts of NH after all (http://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/harp_issues_q_house_plea/) - she just had to visit her kid’s property! To quote:, “She said she was deeply disturbed by Sunday’s walk through Newhallville: “This is no way for people to live.” Such hypocritical obfuscation is no way for people to run for mayor…

posted by: streever on July 18, 2013  7:50am

@Quinn Meadows
Exactly! Very well said. This is the problem with the academic brainchildren of Unite Here—they never realized that exerting power in a unilateral way, and squashing disagreement with their non-existent platform would result in them picking such a terrible choice for their endorsement.

Unite Here bought a lemon in Toni Harp, but I don’t think they’ll be able to accept that they made a mistake here and move on. The money will start to pour in by August as they all rally on the sinking ship.

posted by: Honda on July 18, 2013  8:04am

I am so baffled that anyone would do a character assassination all I will like to say to these individuals is that their is dirt in every corner and when it reaches your corner don’t be bothered.  Sweep around your own front door before you try to sweep around someones else.  Don’t be a flunky for someone else glory.  This crap is straight up gangster and in the real world when you play with fire you get burned.

Think about this, is this the behavior we want to teach children getting into politic.  Remember power destroys power and we as an African American Community needs to come together, my heart is weeping for my people through all of this mess.

posted by: David S Baker on July 18, 2013  8:09am

NHI - Is there some way you can show next to user names : COMMENTING SINCE “MONTH/YEAR”?  Not that it gives the alpha-user any more sway, but it will help us narrow down people creating small “opinion armies” using gmail accounts. I often notice several new names within a thread bostering each others opinions that reek of the same writing habits.

See if you can spot one in this article!

posted by: SaveOurCity on July 18, 2013  8:09am

why the focus on the million dollars of taxes that the Harp business owes to the state of CT?  That’s not fair!  From my research, there are 49 states in which the Harp business has no tax delinquency.  Why does no one mention that?

And….Mr Harp isn’t the first one in the family who missed the due date on his taxes by a few years;


So stop with the vicious attacks and just agree with Toni that she is already the winner of the primary.  If everyone will stop talking and thinking and just get in line, everything will be all right.

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on July 18, 2013  8:14am

Like I said.This is called Opposition political research.All political camps use this.To exhuming skeletons in candidates closets, from past votes to past marriages.And the fruits of that labor often winds up in the headlines.Read the hartford courant.

Harp’s Husband Becomes Issue In New Haven Mayor’s Race

By CHRISTOPHER KEATING, 6:51 pm, July 17, 2013

Harp’s campaign manager, former state Rep. Jason Bartlett, joined the interview after the debate and started answering questions that had been posed to Harp.“It’s a very small part of the budget,’’ Bartlett said of tax amnesty. “It came from the finance committee side. … They’re just throwing bombs to see what will land. They’re bomb-throwers. I know. I’ve done it before.’‘

Notice his statement.They’re just throwing bombs to see what will land. They’re bomb-throwers. I know. I’ve done it before.’‘Like I said all camps do it and now more of this will be comming.



posted by: robn on July 18, 2013  8:33am

I stand corrected; its not delinquent New Haven property tax but delinquent State of CT sales taxes. Nevertheless New Haveners share the burden and my point stands.

Sen Harp may not be responsible for her late husband’s (two decade) tax delinquency but she is the beneficiary of it since she lives in the home willed to his son. Its just NOT appropriate that someone who is benefitting from tax delinquency run for mayor of one of the most financially strapped towns in the state.

posted by: TheWizard on July 18, 2013  8:35am

Harp is making DeStefano look clean (almost).

We have a critical election here folks.  Are we going to be satisfied with a leader who only has a few skeletons in the closet?  Who almost pays their taxes?  Who wants safety and jobs but has no ideas on how to make them happen?  Who runs as a minority candidate but needs a driver to find their way to Newhallville? 

Read our budget.  Follow the police reports.  Check out the assessment of the bonding agencies.  Our city is right on the edge.  Making the wrong choice this year could be tragic.

Let’s all look at the issues, listen to the IDEAS of the candidates, and make an intelligent choice.  Don’t allow your vote to be hijacked by what someone else tells you.  This is too important.

posted by: streever on July 18, 2013  8:49am

There is dirt in everyone’s closets to be sure, which is why not everyone runs for Mayor.

Unfortunately, in Harp’s case, she is benefiting from a tax-evasion scam & the income of a slumlord, while pretending she doesn’t know about it or have any responsibility.

She does have a personal responsibility: as long as she lives in a house owned by her son, apparently a slumlord, who is benefiting from cheating the state of CT in taxes, she really shouldn’t run for Mayor.

If she is going to run for Mayor, she needs to elevate the conversation above this level.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t done that at all: she hasn’t spoken coherently about a single policy she’d implement. She has merely offered feel good platitudes.

If she had a policy, if she had a platform, we’d be able to debate that. Unfortunately, Harp has only issued campaign rhetoric about how good she is on a personal level, so how can you blame anyone for attacking that? People rebut that which they are presented with. If Harp wants to talk about something other than her personal life, she needs to make the campaign about more than her as a person.

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on July 18, 2013  9:11am

Wow, the degree to which people are struggling to transfer any kind of complicity in the structural causes of this kind of poverty and degradation is amazing, but not surprising given how white privilege works. The conditions of this housing complex are absolutely awful, but the idea that the blame lies at the feet of either Toni or even Matthew Harp is incredibly simplistic in its logic. Carolina’s stunt is pure spectacle, and it’s very telling who is jumping in behind him and pointing fingers with him.

We live in a city of urban apartheid. Your property taxes in East Rock are so high in part because you are inscribed by (and subsidizing) the tax-exempt Yale shuttles that serve as one of the more ugly forms of division and segregation in the city. If you benefit from that, as I do, you are implicated in the kind of tragedy that is occurring at this residence. The question should be not simply how one landlord could be so negligent as to allow these conditions on his property, but how we as a city could be so negligent as to allow these kinds of conditions at thousands of properties all across the city. Fixing these structural problems of poverty, racism, drug use, and crime requires structural solutions, not political spectacle.

posted by: Wildwest on July 18, 2013  9:42am

David Baker has a really good point on the comments as of late and I was going to say the same thing. Hopefully people can see through how similar all the comments are in support of the Harp family crimes against society.

  What kind of family is it that ignores each others business and why wouldn’t have all the assets of Wendel gone to his wife, the matriarch of the family? Maybe this is a normal thing for people that live in mansions?

posted by: anonymous on July 18, 2013  11:41am

The folks who think this is a “cheap shot” are not the ones who are literally DYING because of the Harp slumording—all while Senator Harp profits through free access to a massive 9,700 square foot mansion.

That mold, doors broken for weeks, don’t get that way due to neglect. Talk to any honest landlord.

posted by: streever on July 18, 2013  11:50am


As if on cue! I just finished saying we’ve heard “feel good messaging” about how we have to tackle these issues, but neither plans nor ideas on addressing them from Harp.

Yes, we do have to fix those things. Can you articulate Harp’s actual plan to do that? Without a plan, I don’t know why anyone should vote for Harp.

posted by: anonymous on July 18, 2013  11:50am

Steve on Anderson - I agree with you 100% about who is really to blame (terrible, dishonest landlords who kill people through their neglect don’t just appear). However, you leave out the entire point here, which is that the key determinant of structural change is leadership and accountability.

For instance, under Harp’s watch, our bus systems have been slashed, service squashed, and transport money reallocated to other purposes. Malloy has said he is trying to end that practice.

Where has Harp been on the issue? Nowhere, even though she supposedly represents an area that needs these structural reforms the most. 

Maybe that’s because she personally benefits when slumlords can prosper due to our collective looking the other way on this.

posted by: stick21 on July 18, 2013  12:08pm

Here is a question for the commenters; Is King Carolina selling out to the NHI, and to the Elicker campaign? Or does it just appear that way?

Watch and listen closely….

There are plenty of brooms for him to sweep up around his own front door and the doors of Hillhouse!

posted by: robn on July 18, 2013  12:14pm

I think its pretty simple. Sen Harp lives in a big house for free because her sons make money off of decrepit apartments and they evade their taxes.

I strongly doubt Sen Harps claim of ignorance, but even if she had zero knowledge of her husbands two decade long tax evasion, its been two months since the Register broke this story and she refuses to acknowledge that there’s something wrong. At this point, no amount of contrition is going to make this better, The horse has already left the barn.

posted by: Webblog1 on July 18, 2013  12:27pm

Most, if not all, of the anti-Harp crowd, are bottom feeding on this story by deviating from the truth of the story.

The writer accompanied Carolina to a building on Rossett st. after the completion of a heated mayoral debate earlier in the evening among the five Democratic candidates for mayor.

The writer notes:

In an interview Wednesday, Matthew Harp acknowledged the building has problems. He said those problems reflect the challenges of being an urban landlord, fighting drug-dealers and intruders. He outlined moves he has made to improve the building, including renovating four of the 22 apartments, and allowing cops to set up a mini-headquarters there. And he noted that Robeson scored an 89 out of 100 on its latest federal inspection.

What could be more clearer… There was never a complaint to the city regarding code violations, and the owner has taken action to rectify the recurring problems, short of evicting all tenants, when only 5% of tenants cause all the problems.

This property plales in comparison to Mandy,  HANH,(2900 units) CIP and other large realtors operating in the city.

In my judgement the writer has presented a fair and balanced view of the complexities of managing a low income property for indigent persons in New Haven.

The crux of the issue is that Carolina, who in my opinion has absolutely no chance of winning the primary, decided to try the nuclear option and bomb everything Harp.

The proof of his purpose is shown here:

“As he drove away from the Hill around 10 p.m., candidate Carolina said the visit proved the point he was trying to make: That Harp’s family is “one of the biggest slumlords in the city.”

So, while Carolina and some commenter,s here choose to wallow in gutter politics in an attempt to garner votes for their candidate…

...No voters have change their mind about Harp.

posted by: HhE on July 18, 2013  12:35pm

SteveOnAnderson, it is not so much Town vs. Gown as City vs. Town that is the source of structural issues.  That, and people who oppose improving the grand list because that would be gentrification.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 18, 2013  12:36pm

Hey has anyone asked who does the section 8 inspections on this and the other property’s? Is it New Haven or are they as shady Steinbach’s and Dawson?? Seriously and it is more than 3 units is it subject to LCI inspection to?

posted by: elmcityresident on July 18, 2013  12:41pm

the thing is NO(urban) NEW HAVENER wants another Destefano point blank…its’ so obvious what we’d be up against if she’s elected,its so OBVIOUS she doesn’t care about the “certain” new haveners who really feel the brunt of these mayors decisions! smh

posted by: robn on July 18, 2013  12:59pm


So if I rent out 4 decrepit apartments I’m a slumlord, but if I rent out 4 decrepit apartments plus 18 nice apartments, I’m absolved?

This wouldn’t be an issue if Sen Harp wasn’t reaping benefit but again, this horse has left the barn. Whomever vote for her is either clueless or devious.

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on July 18, 2013  1:07pm

HhE, I think that’s a false distinction, as if it is one or the other. It’s always both and it always will be both when you live in a company town. The Yale shuttles are simply one of the ways in which the “gown” restructures the “town” along town/city lines.  They are profoundly intertwined dynamics, and also related to how gentrification restructures urban space in deeply discriminatory ways.

As I see it, the vast majority of commenters on this issue—myself included—have no real idea what it would be like either living in or managing a property like this one. Yet that does not keep most commenters here from a surface outrage in response to a political stunt. I just don’t know if NHI commenters realize how incredibly narrow of a slice of the city is represented in these comments. The vast majority of people I know in New Haven that do have experience fighting against this kind of poverty and danger are supporting Toni Harp.

I’ve talked to too many people that have given up on the NHI comments. For a lot of people, it is an intimidating space where it is impossible to actually have a nuanced conversation with an open mind beyond the niche community of frequent commenters. I think that is extremely unfortunate, and wish that we were able to be more inviting, more reflective, and more open to acknowledging the complexity of issues rather than closing off discussion through reductive simplifications.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 18, 2013  1:23pm

webblog1 makes some good points but also overlooks some good points others have made. I think that things like a tenant routinely breaking a door, selling drugs and people leaving bottles of urine in public hallways is a difficult thing for landlords to address in a satisfactorily way, especially if it happens often and repeatedly. Issues like substantial mold growing on the ceiling and inadequate lighting, however, can and should be blamed on the landlord because these are fundamental issues with how the building has been maintained over a period of time. The concerns about Harp’s son’s management of the building is in some cases, legitimate.

Now if it were a sibling I would be much more sympathetic to Harp’s argument that she is not involved, but a husband or a son? I’m not buying it - she is aware that she is living off of the irresponsible behavior of others.

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 18, 2013  1:32pm

As for the comments about how relevant it is where Harp lives, I think this point can be overstated, but there is some substance there.

The City of New Haven can be thought of as two parts. 1) The old Town of New Haven, which encompasses the old Town of Westville, the old City of New Haven, and the old Town of Fair Haven and 2) the annexed section of the City, which lies between the Quinnipiac River and East Haven. The City of New Haven was first incorporated in 1784 and Westville did not become a ward in the city until the 1870s and did not become a part of the City of New Haven until the 1890s and even well into the 20th Century, Westville had separate fire service administration and other special exemptions that made it distinct from the actual City, rather than a seamless part of it. Furthermore, aside from some more recent development on the Route 80 Corridor, Upper Westville is one of the most recently developed areas of the City and it has never undergone any redevelopment or growth since its inception, due to zoning, which is in stark contrast to how city’s historically have developed and changed and accepted new groups of people and ideas.

Where Harp lives can accurately be described as an annexed-suburb to the city that happens to be within the modern boundaries. In my opinion, places like Upper Westville provide a perspective of urban living that is distorted and in direct contradiction to the historical role of cities and the role that cities should play in the future. Her neighborhood is static, sterile, isolated and lacks the layers of time and change that make for dynamic places. I have the sense that Harp does not understand urbanism.

posted by: robn on July 18, 2013  2:03pm


Is cyberbullying what you’d reduce it to?

posted by: Jon on July 18, 2013  2:34pm

“The building is cleaned on a weekly basis—every week or two weeks,” depending on staffing availability, he said.

Matthew Harp contradicts himself in this statement.
Keeping a building safe and clean “requires tenant buy-in,” Harp added. “That means that tenants have to be responsible for trash. If they see something, they need to say something. If they see a bottle of urine or a dime bag, it’s not unreasonable to expect that they would pick it up, rather than wait” for a weekly cleaning.

Asked about people sleeping in the hallway, Harp said, “I’m not there when people are sleeping, but that’s the reason why we’ve giving police access to the building. It’s the tenants’ job to call the cops when they see people sleeping in the hallway.”

I wonder if it says on the lease that urine removal is a tenant responsibility?  Are you kidding?!?!
Forgetting about the election, how about this building gets cleaned up and secured?

posted by: Curious on July 18, 2013  2:56pm

@ Webblog1,

I met with four registered voters today, and this type of flim-flam on Harp’s part is what swung them from completely undecided to on -the-fence for Carolina or Elicker.

posted by: SteveOnAnderson on July 18, 2013  2:59pm

I don’t think it’s “cyberbullying,” but I also don’t think it’s welcoming or open-minded. Of course, I post on the NHI periodically, and I am obviously including myself in whatever you believe I am “reducing” the comment threads to.

If I had to reduce it to something—you know, just to indulge you—I’d probably reduce it to cyber-white-flight.

posted by: Amityboy on July 18, 2013  3:56pm

I’d be curious to know whether it’s common practice to spruce up these sorts of buildings right before inspection. Having lived most of my life in apartments, I can’t imagine a landlord would receive 87 out of 100 on anything if there were bottles of urine in the hall and no lock on the front door.

posted by: cedarhillresident! on July 18, 2013  4:40pm

They make appointments. And they are suppose to go into each apt every year if it is receiving section 8. BUT there is a loop hole that another slumlord in this city uses. If the person is from new haven then it goes through our section 8. But if the person is from say waterbury or NY it works differently and that is how units and buildings end up in bad shape because they can hire there our inspectors.

posted by: Thomas Alfred Paine on July 18, 2013  5:07pm

In his cerebral, historical analysis of New Haven’s neighborhood growth and development, Jonathan Hopkins would have us all believe that where one resides determines one’s world view and city view. He draws a direct correlation between your residence in a given New Haven neighborhood and your understanding of “urbanism.” Hopkins concludes that Toni Harp of Westville does not understand “urbanism” because ” her neighborhood is static, sterile, isolated and lacks the layers of time and change that make for dynamic places.” Mayor DeStefano, Toni Harp and Kermit Carolina all live within one quarter mile of each other in Westville. Are all Westville residents by nature of their dwelling place culturally, socially, politically and intellectually ignorant of “urbanism”? The logic of this premise defies comprehension.

posted by: Webblog1 on July 18, 2013  5:21pm

Jonathan Hopkins,
I respect your insight and you comment generally, However, I do take exception to the following sentence:

“Issues like substantial mold growing on the ceiling and inadequate lighting, however, can and should be blamed on the landlord because these are fundamental issues with how the building has been maintained over a period of time”.

The story does not substantiate that it is mold growing on the ceiling, mold usually grows from bottom up and it would not just be on the ceiling.

Secondly,it is not unusual for hall lights to be missing tenants remove hall lighting so as not to be seen doing elicit behavior in the hallway, especially if the police are in the building from time to time.

Nevertheless, you make you point well, I cannot say that for the others who have responded to me, for them it’s my way or I’ll find another. They never seem to want to follow the story line, but rather create their own story within a story. Shameful.

posted by: JustAnotherTaxPayer on July 18, 2013  5:54pm

Wow, it’s good to see so many comments, and the issues are presented in what seems to be fairly accurate ways. Just a footnote. The man in your lead photo is actually Percy Penn.
If someone can just vet him, via state, local, and federal law enforcement records, and examine his lengthy criminal record, it is curious to see him attached to a story as a victim of drug dealers.

posted by: Wildwest on July 18, 2013  6:55pm

Webblog1- black mold grows where water leaks onto wallboard, especially in basements. Starting a new story now??

posted by: HewNaven on July 18, 2013  7:00pm

Thomas Alfred Paine,

I think its safe to assume that someone choosing to live in a neighborhood that was designed to resemble a SUBURB (e.g. the area of Westville near Yale Golf Course) DOES NOT care for urban amenities or aesthetics, or else they would already live in a neighborhood that resembles an URBAN environment!

So, you’re damn right that all three (Harp, DeStefano, Carolina) probably don’t have a clue about what makes a city work. They’ve essentially cut themselves off from the city by moving into this type of neighborhood.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 19, 2013  6:59am


I spent most of a decade managing real estate and most of it was low income units both single family homes and apartment complexes. Mold does not necessarily grow up a wall unless there is a long term leak in the wall. Mold on a ceiling is indicative of a leak in an upstairs apartment - broken or leaking pipe, toilet leak from a water connection or bad toilet ring; or from the kitchen/laundry facility.

Bottom line: It take a substantial amount of time and neglect for a leak to turn to mold. This is just gross, abusive management that reaped the benefits of the money without doing the work.

posted by: Togger on July 19, 2013  7:21am

Let me start by saying I don’t live in New Haven and have no dog in this fight. I don’t know Mrs. Harp. Many years ago I got to know Wendell Harp. I did work in many of his properties around New Haven.
  At the time the manager for Renaissance was Fred Diggs. Mr Diggs and his crew worked full time dilligently maintaining the properties.
  I can say from experience that Mr Harp took pride in his properties.  All the properties I worked on were renovated completely and were very livable. I would hardly call him a “slum lord”.
  I realize politics is hard ball, but to blame urban crime and the other problems of New Haven on Mrs Harp is a cheap shot.

posted by: Webblog1 on July 19, 2013  9:20am


Right… but the central issue concerning the mold is that no qualified housing inspector has gone to the site to verify mold, or any other condition threating to health, the NHI reporter said it was mold. She is not an inspector, neither is Carolina.

But if you have a leak, say from a upstairs toilet you would see brown water spots on the sheet rock and possibly broken sheet rock before mold would occur. However, the drop ceiling is in front of a heat vent which could be a source of the questionable mold.

At this point I would defer to:Togger below.
posted by: Togger on July 19, 2013 7:21am

“Let me start by saying I don’t live in New Haven and have no dog in this fight. I don’t know Mrs. Harp. Many years ago I got to know Wendell Harp. I did work in many of his properties around New Haven.
  At the time the manager for Renaissance was Fred Diggs. Mr Diggs and his crew worked full time dilligently maintaining the properties.
  I can say from experience that Mr Harp took pride in his properties.  All the properties I worked on were renovated completely and were very livable. I would hardly call him a “slum lord”.
  I realize politics is hard ball, but to blame urban crime and the other problems of New Haven on Mrs Harp is a cheap shot”.

posted by: Wikus van de Merwe on July 19, 2013  9:29am

Togger, maybe Toni can come be mayor of your town.

posted by: lrnoff on July 19, 2013  10:02am

Would someone please tell me what exactly is the Harp family business? What did Ms. Harp’s husband do to earn a living, what did Ms. Harp do before she was a state rep, and what does her son’s business owe taxes for? I realize I should already know these things, but I haven’t been paying attention until now.

posted by: TheWizard on July 19, 2013  10:46am

@ Quinn Meadows:  I LOVE your suggestion;

“Togger, maybe Toni can come be mayor of your town.”

In fact, if Togger takes you up on the idea, I would happily donate to the cause of getting Toni to run in another town.  (maybe this is why other towns are putting so much $$ into our election?)

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 19, 2013  10:51am

Thomas Alfred Paine,

I think it is somewhat relevant where candidates for Mayor choose to live because that says something about their perspective. I don’t think it is the most relevant issue of the campaign nor do I think that just because someone chooses to live in a certain place that they are necessarily ignorant about other lifestyles. However, based on Harp’s trip to Division Street, her comments about travel speeds on the Oak Street Connector, the significant amount of time she spends outside of the city and her choice to live on the very outer most outskirts of municipal boundaries, I get the sense that she doesn’t get what city living and urbanism are all about, which are important qualities in a Mayor for me personally. I think similarly about Destefano and Carolina, although not nearly to the extent that I think it applies to Harp given that Destefano has deep roots here and Carolina grew up in Dixwell, among other reasons.

Having said that, Westville is not a monolith, it was not my intention to imply that. The Westville Village, for instance, is a dense, diverse, urban place and lower Westville has many qualities of an urban neighborhood like small offices, recreational facilities, stores and institutions intermingled with residences. Upper Westville is typologically no different from most suburbs in surrounding towns, yet it is very different from most of the city. That’s not to say that there are entirely legitimate reasons to live there and there aren’t benefits and great things about Upper Westville, but I think HewNaven has accurately stated that someone running for Mayor who chooses to live in an environment that is more similar to whats found in neighboring towns probably doesn’t have a good handle on what’s needed for residents in the city.

Maybe we should start letting people from Whitneyville run for Mayor - geographically, topographically and typologically its as much a part of New Haven as Westville, too bad it wasn’t annexed

posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on July 19, 2013  10:53am


Well whatever is on the ceiling of the basement is an issue with building maintenance, and I was referring to exterior lighting. I think landlords can take most of the blame for some issues, while residents can be blamed for others. At this property, I see cases of both.

posted by: anonymous on July 19, 2013  11:33am

JH: Although their 9,700 square foot property on a dead end next to the Yale Golf Course is easily the most “suburban” house in the entire City, at least Harp family technically did not abandon New Haven altogether. 

Most of the people who make millions of dollars off running apartments for poor people that look like the photos above, end up decamping for a place like Bethany (or Florida) pretty quickly.

posted by: Noteworthy on July 20, 2013  12:24pm


Keep your rose colored glasses on. You’ll need them if she wins. In the meantime, I don’t need a “qualified housing inspector” to know mold when I see it. I’ve changed out way too many toilet rings, and fixed way too many leaky pipes and rehabbed way too many houses and apartments to need that good housekeeping seal. As for your fellow whitewasher - the condition of Rosette Street is not due to “urban” living. It is inattentive management and neglect. Saying anything else is just plain and simple BS. Toni Harp reaped the benefits of the constant refinancings and multiple layers of tax free debt, and failure to pay income, property, unemployment and sales taxes. The condition of these properties and the unpaid tax bill are a direct result of the Harp family enterprises. It is not a cheap political stunt. It is reality if not for those of us comment here, certainly for the families who live in that building. If you think so highly of the situation, get a tool bag, mop and bucket and take your family over there to help the Harps out of damn sorry situation.