Someone "broke in" and left Milwaukee renters without a place to stay

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- At least a dozen tenants have to find another place to stay. The Milwaukee building they were staying in lost its electricity -- and was deemed unsafe. The owner of that property -- is a familiar name.

"I was so happy to have a place and they was working with me, so I jumped on it and 'Okay, I got my own place now,'" said Samantha Woodley, who had to leave her apartment.

Woodley says after having no home, she jumped on the chance to pay half of October's rent and move into an apartment building near 26th and Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

But this past weekend, Woodley came home from a doctor's appointment and found there was no power in the building.

"My lights and everything was on when I left home. And when I got back around 5 o'clock, people were standing around, lights was off and someone had broke in and ripped out the wire and took all the carpet out the building, I was told," said Woodley.

"DNS called me. We no longer own the building; it's bank-owned now. But DNS called me; we was the last one titled to the building and we did whatever was necessary and whatever we could to help the tenants out," said Elijah Mohammed Rashaed, property owner.

While the foreclosure process has begun, property records show Rashaed is the listed owner. It's a name that has come up in the past -- Rashaed was the owner of the southside Milwaukee building where a porch collapsed in fall 2013. Then this spring, city officials found a number of problems with another property owned by Rashaed. Conditions were so bad in the building near 27th and Juneau, that mushrooms were growing in the hallway.

As for the property at 26th and Wisconsin, Woodley wants her rent money back. Rashaed says he didn't take her money.

"Unless someone was doing it on behalf of the bank, someone took advantage of her," said Rashaed.

"I've been through so much and it hurts for somebody to take advantage of somebody and take their money because next thing, I'm right back in this situation," said Woodley.

The Department of Neighborhood Services says after Monday's inspection, there are seven orders and 41 code violations for the property at 26th and Wisconsin. Rashaed says he knew of some problems, but was not aware of the amount or extent of those violations.