City Council Is Not Pleased with Anwar Faisal
By many accounts, Anwar Faisal is a crummy landlord. He’s been called before the Boston Housing Court 31 times since 2009. He’s been the plaintiff or defendant in lawsuits at least 60 times during the past decade, while 14 tenant complaints have made their way to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office.
The Boston City Council is not amused.
On Wednesday, the Council unanimously issued a summons for Faisal, a Brookline resident, to appear before its Committee on Housing on August 13 to explain his business practices.
District 8 Councilor Josh Zakim submitted the order, explaining during the council meeting that it’s been an “on-going saga” with Faisal ever since Boston magazine and the Globe published articles about apartments owned by Alpha Management, outlining many violations of building and health codes and numerous Inspectional Services Department violations.
And, now there is an accusation that employees at Alpha Management made discriminating remarks and refused to rent an apartment to a potential tenant based on national origin.
The summons reads in part:
The City of Boston’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity recently found probable cause to believe that Alpha made discriminatory statements that stated a limitation based on the national origin of a potential Indian tenant who is also a Northeastern student; and
The City of Boston’s Office of Fair Housing and Equity recently found probable cause to believe that Alpha engaged in discriminatory refusal to rent to this same individual based on national origin.
Faisal has been asked twice before to appear before the the City Council’s Housing Committee. The first time, he sent his lawyers instead. They seemed patronizing and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer basic questions about Alpha Management. When asked how many apartments the company owned, they could only estimate “3,000 to 5,000.”
District 3 City Councilor Tito Jackson talked about how he sat in on the hearing with Faisal’s lawyers and that he has “never been so angered.”
“Someone sat in Councilor Murphy’s seat and told us how to act as councilors,” Jackson said. “Lawyers sent [by Faisal] were disrespectful to the body and Council and to Councilor Zakim. It’s absolutely important that every landlord who is out of line be held to account.”
Faisal then agreed to come in person to meet the committee, but then reneged. This annoyed the Council even more. And now it seems they’ve run out of patience.
“Again and again this fairly large company is having a negative impact on many of our neighborhoods, and consistently refuses to appear and explain and, possibly, tell us what he’s doing to rectify these problems,” Zakim said.
Many of the councilors were vocal about the situation, but perhaps none more so than City Councilor-at-Large Steve Murphy.
“It’s very important that as a legislative branch of city government we not be ignored by any stakeholder in this city and if that means bringing Anwar Faisal in here in irons, then we should do that, Mr. President,” Murphy said.
Murphy and Zakim seem to be taking the “Good Cop, Bad Cop” route. Which method will get Faisal to finally show up won’t be known until August 13.