Fannie Mae contractor accused of letting central Florida homes depreciate in minority neighborhoods



ORLANDO, Fla. - A Fannie Mae contractor out of Tampa is accused of letting foreclosures deteriorate in poorer, minority neighborhoods in the Orlando area and around the country.

The claims come out of national research conducted by the National Fair Housing Alliance, which is now planning to file a federal complaint.

Channel 9's Stephanie Bertini met with a lead investigator to see a couple of the eyesores they focused on in Pine Hills.

Pine Hills is a primarily black community, and NFHA alleges the Fannie Mae contractor neglected the community as well as Latino communities in the area.

A house on Hartford Place in Zip Code 32808 was one on the list in Pine Hills.

"You have a hole in the ceiling which makes it easy for rodents to get in, and here it even smells," said Ad Escander of the central Florida-based Fair Housing Continuum.

Escander was the lead investigator on a recent national project looking at Fannie Mae foreclosed properties maintained by Cyprexx. She said the Hartford Place property is just part of the story.

Neighbor James Freeman said he agrees.

"And many more around here," Freeman said.  

Freeman told Bertini he's frustrated with deteriorating properties around his home.

"What that does is creates a place for people to do drugs, and it's also depreciating our property value," he said.

Escander took Channel 9 to another address on Merriwood in the same ZIP code. She said her investigation found similar issues.

"At this house, (we) found that there was trash," she said.

Escander showed Channel 9 additional photos that show issues with the house, including one that showed a dead rodent inside.

"It becomes a safety issue, a health issue and investment in your community issue," she said.

Her work is now part of a national compliant that's to be filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Escander said there were a total of 69 properties looked at in the Orlando area, and Fannie Mae owns each."