EXCLUSIVE: Ralston, Eagles Trace owners owed Columbus Water Works staggering amount

Local News
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The New Jersey company that owns two low-income housing complexes in Columbus owed more than a quarter of a million dollars to the local Water Works, WRBL News 3 has learned through a Georgia Open Records request.

The Columbus Water Works gave notice earlier this month that it had begun the process to disconnect the water at the Ralston Towers highrise located downtown and Eagles Trace Apartments off Torchhill Road on the south side.

PF Holdings paid the Water Works $120,575.34 on Monday to settle the account for The Ralston, Water Works attorney Paul Ivey of Hall Booth Smith P.C. told WRBL. 

The $132,008.39 bill at Eagles Trace has not been paid as of Tuesday morning, Ivey said. A PF Holdings representative, in an email with the Water Works attorney obtained by WRBL through the Open Records Act, stated Eagles Trace was sold in December.

The totals include late fees.

Water Works spokesman Vic Burchfield says they have been told the new owner is 2001 Torchhill Road LLC. But the water works is moving forward with the disconnection process at Eagles Trace and trying to verify the sale, which they have not been able to do.

Last week, the Columbus Water Works declined to release the amount PF Holdings owed the utility, citing customer privacy concerns. WRBL submitted an Open Records Act request and the Water Works released the total and email exchanges with a PF Holdings representative. 

On Jan. 18, the Water Works placed signs in front of The Ralston and Eagles Trace, notifying residents that the water would be cut off on Feb. 28 if the bill remains unpaid. The signs in front of The Ralston, which has about 200 residents, were removed Tuesday morning, Ivey confirmed.

WRBL also requested the monthly bills for PF Holdings for 2018, but Ivey said those were not covered under the Open Records Act. 

The signs in front of Eagles Trace were removed not long after Water Works officials put them up on public property at the main entrance to the sprawling complex that has 383 apartments.

To put the PF Holdings outstanding balance in perspective, the average monthly residential water bill in Columbus is $57.13. The more than $252,000 owed the Water Works is equal to more than 4,400 monthly Columbus water bills.

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