The city of Miami has filed a lawsuit to force changes at a troubled assisted living facility for the mentally ill where a fruit vendor was stabbed to death last month.
In a complaint, Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez argued that New Greenview II in Allapattah was approved by the city as a state-sanctioned “community residential home,” but the owner of the oft-cited facility has allowed the building to become nothing more than an illegal boarding house for criminals.
“It’s our position that obviously assisted living facilities are allowed, but defacto halfway houses are not,” Méndez told commissioners Thursday.
The city filed its lawsuit against New Greenview II and owner MG & MD Investments on Wednesday, four days after The Miami Herald ran a story documenting a long history of problems at the facility leading up to the Feb. 13 killing of Eddy Campos, who lived in a small shed in back of the property.
Police believe Campos, who was stabbed in the throat on Greenview property, was murdered by Roberto Echevarria, a schizophrenic drifter placed at the home through the Miami-Dade criminal court system. Prosecutors have charged Echevarria with second-degree murder.
Greenview, located at 2650 NW 15th Ave., is licensed by the state to house up to 14 people suffering from mental illness. By law, residents can come and go, but the facility’s employees must have a “general” knowledge of their whereabouts. Greenview must also provide activities for its tenants.
But inspection records show the facility has been frequently cited for having no activities, allowing its tenants to wander off, and even illegally housing sex offenders. Inspections have documented mold in rooms, rotting food, and illegal living conditions. Some residents, for instance, said Campos lived in a since-demolished shed even though state law forbids it.
Records show Miami police have been called to the home 99 times just in the past two years to deal with everything from disturbances to residents running away or suffering breakdowns. Miami’s attorneys say Greenview is understaffed, and those who manage the facilities aren’t qualified to serve its residents.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has ordered Greenview to clean up its act. And now the city is asking a judge to issue a permanent injunction to keep Greenview from operating as “a for-profit rooming house under the guise of a community residential home.”
Reached by phone on Thursday, Greenview's operator, Nelson Martin, said he had not seen the lawsuit. He refused to answer questions from a Miami Herald reporter.
“Don't call me anymore,” he said. “You're not calling to help me.”
Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle contributed to this report.