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Published: Saturday, 8/11/2012

Violence a frequent visitor at Moody Manor


Violence is not new to Moody Manor, a project-based Section 8 housing complex affiliated with the Catholic Diocese of Toledo.

Police are a regular sight at the near-downtown apartments, including regular patrols, off-duty officers working security, and gang unit officers targeting the Manor Boys, a group based out of Moody Manor that identifies itself as "Bloods."

The property is not owned by the diocese, spokesman Sally Oberski was careful to point out.

It's owned by Moody Manor LLC, which is owned by Mareda Inc., the diocese's low-income-housing corporation. Mareda's sole member is Toledo Bishop Leonard Blair. Its president is Msgr. Michael Billian.

"We are very sympathetic to the incident that occurred," Ms. Oberski said.

Mareda has owned the property for several decades, Andrew Kott, Mareda executive director, said. The corporation tries hard to combat violence at the complex, he said, by coordinating with police, hiring off-duty officers for security, contracting with private security companies, and by offering numerous personal empowerment and community programs for residents.

"It's an unfortunate situation because there's a lot of very good people who live here," Mr. Kott said, "and we do put forth our best effort to make sure that this stuff doesn't happen."

But violence has continued.

Some major incidents at Moody Manor include a June fight during which three people were stabbed and a woman was subsequently arrested; a double shooting in Moody Manor's parking lot in April, 2010, followed by another shooting a few months later; a fire that killed a 46-year-old woman in 2004; a 2003 brawl that left an officer with a broken ankle; and a plethora of other fights, shootings, and other violence.

Sometimes, the violence revolves around gang activity, authorities said. Mr. Kott said he didn't know of any Manor Boys who had lived in the property legally.

Instead, the gang members take over apartments rented by someone vulnerable, such as a young single mother, and use the apartment for drug dealing and other illegal activities.

"The women don't know what to do," Mr. Kott said, "because they will threaten you, and they will threaten your children, and you are kind of stuck."

Violence from the housing complex doesn't stop at the property line, as Manor Boys often feud with rival gangs, including a group from the Greenbelt Place Apartments, officials have said. Managers of the housing complex can face hurdles in removing unwanted tenants because of federal guidelines. And if residents don't tell complex officials about illegal activity, Mr. Kott said, responses can be delayed.

Mareda potentially could make money off Moody Manor, but Mr. Kott said Department of Housing and Urban Development rules generally mean it doesn't. Mr. Kott said Mareda is assessing how it could respond to Thursday's shooting and the ongoing violence.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: nrosenkrans@theblade.com or 419-724-6086.

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