Thursday, November 02, 2006

Police Involved in Illegal Seizure of Property

Illegal Seizure of Files, Confidential Information at Common Ground-managed
Woodlands Apartment Complex, Algiers

New Orleans restaurant owner, Darryl Reginelli, illegally seized information
and equipment from the Woodlands Apartment Complex on the West Bank on
Wednesday morning. Complicit in this act were two NOPD officers believed to
be long-term associates of Reginelli. Complaints were made at the Public
Integrity Bureau and the District station.

Without providing a court order or any legal authority, Darryl Reginelli,
co-owner of Reginelli's pizza parlors, entered the Administrative office of
the Woodlands Apartments with the assistance of two uniformed New Orleans
Police Department officers, witnesses said. Reginelli stole multiple files,
including apartment leases, and a computer containing confidential tenant
and workforce information. The violation comes during a deeply contested
sale that pits low-income tenants against wealthy developers seeking

"They illegally took our computers and our files and they didn't stop 'til I
came in there. I took what was in one of their hands, threw it on the floor
and the rest of them left. If it had been legal, they would have arrested
me. Again, it shows you, they knew what they were doing was illegal," said
Malik Rahim at a Woodlands Tenants meeting held Wednesday afternoon. Rahim
is a co-founder of Common Ground, the relief organization that acquired
management rights to the Woodlands in May 2006.

Reginelli and his wife, Angela, a prominent employee of Channel 6 WDSU,
previously owned the Woodlands, purchasing it in 2000 and some estimate
making millions off the property while allowing conditions to deteriorate
severely. Since taking over management in May under a gentleman's agreement,
Common Ground has provided approximately one million dollars in labor and
material improvements to the complex. While rents across the city have
skyrocketed, Common Ground management froze the rents at the Woodlands to
pre-Katrina levels, fostered a strong tenants union and ran a workers'
cooperative with paid skills training.

Throughout the past five months Reginelli made recurring promises sign a
purchase agreement with Common Ground but continually rescheduled and
cancelled appointments while seeking another buyer. "We're gonna let the
rest of the nation know what's going on," Rahim said Wednesday, referring to
the breached agreements, backdoor real estate dealings and planned mass

Common Ground will mount an appeal to the City Council at Thursdays meeting,
and reach out to local and national organizations for support in favor of
residents' rights while pursuing appropriate legal action. "The tenants have
rights, they know their rights, and they are organized," said Soleil
Rodrigue, Legal Coordinator for Common Ground. "They will not go quietly
into the ranks of the Post-Katrina homeless."

Contact: Soleil Rodrigue, Legal Coordinator, 504-717-7324

Related Links ::: Common Ground Collective, N.O.TV Collective,
New Orleans Housing Rights Videos

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Blogger ~ FluxRostrum said...

CORRECTION to the press release sent Thursday morning from Common Ground:

The Managing Partner of the Woodlands Development LLC who
seized Common Ground hard-drives and files yesterday is named
Anthony J. Reginelli Jr., not Darryl Reginelli, his brother.

Also, the New Orleans Police Officer, J. LUSK, who
unplugged and removed one computer that contained a Common
Ground hard-drive admitted repeatedly (and is recorded on video tape as so admitting)
that he had no documentation or other proof that Anthony
J. Reginelli had ownership or any other right to seize
that hard-drive.

For more information, please contact DON PAUL of the Common Ground Collective, 504-421-2706.

8:31 PM  

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