Landlord Sought for Stealing Electricity - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 04/24/06

Landlord Sought for Stealing Electricity

By Roslyn Anderson

The City of Jackson has shut down another apartment complex for illegal utility connections. It's the second set of apartments owned by Ellis Holder. He is the man city officials say bootlegged power to the Smith Robinson Apartments.

Chuckie Taylor learned Monday the apartment he moved into last week is being condemned by the city for illegal utility hookups. "Something needs to happen," he said. "I need my money back."

Taylor had just moved from the Smith Robinson Apartments to the newly-condemned units behind 217 Prentiss Street -- and found the same problem. "They had made everybody leave from over there," he says. "After I saw that that meter was on, I thought everything was legit. Apparently not. Now we're stuck with nowhere to go."

City officials say Ellis Holder and his ex-wife Portia McInnis own the property. There are eight apartments at 215 and 217 Prentiss Street. Only six of the units are occupied.

Friday Entergy cut power to the units. The water has also been shut off.

The city says more than $4,000 in utilities are owed as well as over $3,000 in back taxes.

Christy Lindsey has been collecting rent here in cash or money orders only in her name at Holder's request. She says Holder told her his last name was Hall. She has not been paid but was promised by Holder she'd soon receive a house in exchange for her work.

"I'm thinking that he's paying the light bill," Lindsey says. "The only thing I was supposed to do was collect the rent money, put it in an envelope, give him the receipt because he told me it has to go directly to the woman that owns the place that's in Memphis, Tennessee."

"This one meter supplied it all," said Jerome Anderson, code enforcement officer for the city, as he pointed to the one meter on the complex. "This is the same thing that was happening at Smith Robinson."

Code enforcement found a large cable, hidden beneath dirt and leaves, running from the unit at 217 to the rear apartments.

"Trickery appears to have been used on every level," said city housing specialist Clara Spencer. "It was extremely difficult to find the bootlegging. He became more sophisticated at this location than he did at smith Robinson."

A warrant for Holder's arrest for violation of city codes has been issued, but he's not yet been picked up. Residents say he was at the property Monday morning removing the cable line.

City officials say they've discovered that he also owns other properties with similar violations.

The city has found housing for the families who were forced to move from the six units.

Holder now faces more charges in connection with the stolen electricity.

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