Deposit drama: Corporate apartment managers accused of predatory practices

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DENVER — Contact Denver7 is getting results after a major apartment management group is accused of a predatory practice during a pandemic.

Gus Green thought he had found the perfect Denver apartment at Alexan on 20th Street, 2080 California St., and he put down a $250 deposit last month.

“Everything was beautiful. It seemed great,” said Green. “We found out the next day that I didn’t qualify and somebody else got the apartment, so that was fine. You know, that happens. And then I asked them to get my deposit back.”

That is when the leasing agent messaged Green that it would wake “60 or so” days to get his deposit money refunded from corporate.

When he tried to call the number for “corporate” his calls were not returned.

“It seems extremely predatory. You know, especially in a time like this,” said Green. “I felt like my hands were tied and there was nothing I could do. These guys were bullying me. But I need that money to put a deposit on an apartment I can live in.”

Green reached out to Contact Denver7, and we found that “corporate” is Denver-based Cardinal Group, which owns and manages dozens of properties in Colorado and has an ‘F’ rating with the Better Business Bureau.

No one with Cardinal Group would speak on camera, but the CEO Alex O’Brian emailed: “We follow Colorado guidelines for the return of deposits and his deposit will be returned within that timeframe.”

However, attorney Don Eby with Robinson and Henry Attorneys At Law, specializes in landlord tenant laws, and said Green is in the right.

“In this case, I think the landlord’s a little confused,” said Eby, who commented that if no lease was signed, the state statute giving landlords 60 days to return deposits would not apply in this case. “The legal recourse is going to be slow, though. It’s going to require the tenant to go to the court, pay a filing fee, initiate the court action have the landlord served, and is likely to take months, even though the tenant is obviously in the right.”

Meanwhile, O’Brian later emailed that Green’s “deposit was sent to our corporate office for processing and I have confirmed it was processed and is being expedited to him.”

Green is still waiting for his money, and in the meantime, he said, he wants to expose a corporate practice that is hurting people.

“It’s going to be tough. I have to wait a few more weeks until I get paid again, so that I can apply somewhere else. And I only have three weeks until I get out of my apartment.” said Green. “I guess $250 is peanuts to them. I wonder how many people they’re just sitting on their deposits right now, and who’s going to stop them?”

Editor’s note: Denver7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (720) 462-7777. Find more Contact Denver7 stories here.