FOX47 NEWS - Mauston Tenants in the Dark

Jeff Angileri
Aug 25, 2008, 11:23 PM

Four families in Juneau County are literally in the dark. They've been without power since Friday, and say the landlord's neglect of the building is to blame.

Tenants at the Mauston apartments are accusing the landlord of not maintaining the building, to the point where electricity is unsafe.

The city of Mauston sent landlord Norman Gayda a letter four months ago, ordering him to fix more than a half-dozen problems, including a faulty electrical system, before renting out the apartments.

He didn't. Now, the city ordered the power cut, and the residents have no place else to go.

Living without lights, hot water, and modern convenience --it's the new reality.

I can't give my son a bath, said tenant Carla Powell. My apartment is completely electric. There's no gas. We have no way to store food. One of the other girls lost $500 in groceries.

Just a lot of blankets cause it's getting cold at night now, said tenant Racheal Davis.

The residents say the city ordered Alliant Energy to cut power to the building on Friday, leaving behind exposed wiring, and frozen electric meters.

None of us have the money to get a generator, and the city said we can't keep it for more than four days, said tenant Felicia Roggenbauer.

We can't pay an electrician to come out here, said Powell. We're all low income families to begin with.

Working on a tip from a county nurse, back in April, the city ordered Indiana-based landlord to make several repairs to the rundown building.

Besides the wiring, the city also asked that he repair broken windows, get heat and air conditioning units inspected, and have a questionable garage roof inspected.

The tenants say they've tried contacting the landlord, to no avail.

Davis said, He won't answer. I've tried seven or eight times. I've never gotten a hold of him.

They say the city, state, even consumer groups haven't been able to help them.

Said Roggenbauer, It's basically a circle...call this person, call that person. And we've gotten nowhere.

We called the landlord in Indiana today, who said he didn't know Alliant was going to cut the power.

He said he will be in Mauston Wednesday, to address these problems.

We also spoke with an Alliant Energy spokesman who could not comment on this specific case, but said they will cut power to a building, based on the request of a municipality, if they feel the there are safety concerns.

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