Congressmen Sanford Bishop and Drew Ferguson will tour the Ralston Towers

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For years, the Ralston Towers has been at the center of controversy.

Today, two congressman and the Mayor of Columbus are scheduled to get a look inside the downtown low-income apartment building. 

The tour is of particular importance to the more than 100 residents currently living at the federally subsidized complex. Almost all of the tenants depend on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to pay all or part of their rent. 

Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson called for this tour last month in the wake of a $125 million wrongful death verdict against the New Jersey owners of the Ralston.

As of today, the $25 million Supersedeas bond has been delivered, the notice was filed August 1.

The mayor wanted the two U.S. congressmen — Democrat Sanford Bishop and Republican Drew Ferguson – to pressure HUD to clean up place. 

There have been issues at the Ralston long before the record verdict in the death of Charles Hart, who died two years ago in a room that was nearly 100 degrees.

During the trial, residents told of rats, bedbugs and a lack of maintenance that led to busted air conditioning and heating units. Additionally, the elevators at the facility are a constant problem and have led to residents sleeping in the common areas when they couldn’t return to their rooms. 

Henderson was pushing for the tour before the trial and verdict, but the decision of 12 people to punish PF Holdings in both the courts and the pocketbook has brought a new urgency to the issue. 

“As far as the cleaning and maintenance, everything will be in order,  but after the people and the inspections are over with an gone, things don’t get done again for weeks at a time. And I fell that is an unhealthy situation for us to live in,” said Mary Stroud, a resident of the Ralston of nine years. 

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