Landlord's alleged overdue bill leaves tenants without lights, water

7:37 PM, Feb 23, 2011   |    comments
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"This is wrong," Verburgt said.

Xcel Energy technicians came to the Baron West Apartments on 1460 Reed Street Wednesday and disconnected the electricity and gas, affecting all residents.

A letter from Xcel explained that Richard Zevalking, owner of the Baron Apartments, was $6,581.30 overdue on his utility bill. According to Xcel spokesperson Mark Stutz, Baron Apartments has what's known as a "master meter." Tenants pay only their rent and Zevalking is responsible for electricity and gas.

According to a docket from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission obtained by 9NEWS, Zevalking filed a formal complaint against Xcel's subsidiary, Public Service Company of Colorado, on Oct. 28, 2009. Zevalking complained of improper billing practices by the company which allegedly resulted in large charges for non-payment of bills. Zevalking claimed he was not responsible for the tenants' utilities. The matter is currently under review by an Administrative Law Judge.

"The customer has clearly demonstrated a desire not to pay the bill," Stutz said.

Apartment manager Richard Stallen told 9NEWS at least nine residents were affected by the shutoff. Tenants told 9NEWS the electricity and gas have been disconnected before.

"In the last couple of months, three times," Verburgt said.

Two other tenants, who were recently engaged and are expecting a child in six months, said they would like to leave but cannot due to their financial situation.

"I don't want to bring a baby into this world not knowing if there's electricity, not knowing if there's water," Audrey Brown said.

9NEWS attempted to reach Zevalking for comment. The apartment manager told us Zevalking is currently at a hotel he owns in Mexico. We called the number for the hotel on Zevalking's business card and nobody answered. We also left a message at two local numbers and did not receive a response as of Wednesday afternoon.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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