Citing an aggravated robbery on New Year’s Day and no reasonable attempt to decrease habitual criminal activity on the premises, Fort Worth attorneys late Wednesday filed a motion requesting a temporary injunction against the Mira Monte Apartments.
The city filed a nuisance abatement lawsuit against the Las Vegas Trail apartment complex in November. In Wednesday’s motion, city attorneys contended in court documents that “everyday this nuisance operates, innocent citizens who live in, or around this property are put at risk. Further, given the proximity of Mira Monte to area schools, innocent children walking nearby are placed in harm’s way as well.”
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Mira Monte, at 2800 Las Vegas Trail, is situated on the southwest corner of the busy intersection with Calmont Avenue, one block south of the I-30 exit. It is less than a half-mile from Western Hills Elementary and Primary schools, which house some 1,400 students in pre-K through fifth grade, many of whom must cross the intersection before and after school.
The initial lawsuit requested a permanent injunction, which could shut down the property for one year. Wednesday’s motion requesting a judge to grant a temporary injunction could result in a fine of up to $10,000, jail time of up to 30 days, or both, if any condition of the injunction is violated.
“It’s really for the protection of the community, but there are consequences for failure to follow the injunction,” Fort Worth senior assistant attorney Chris Mosley said.
The owner of Mira Monte Apartments is listed as Matthew John Baker, the 29-year-old son of Arlington resident John Baker, who as made his living buying low-income apartment complexes on the cheap in gritty neighborhoods in Fort Worth, Dallas and Amarillo. At various properties, he makes his sons, Matthew John, and Jeff, 26, the landlords. Both sons live in Amarillo.
Last month, John and Jeff Baker were at Mira Monte overseeing exterior repairs. Both said at the time that the city is unfairly targeting their complex for criminal activity they say is out of their control because it bleeds over from other apartment complexes lining Las Vegas Trail.
“We are doing as the city wants us to do, security, lighting, just going forward,” John Baker said Wednesday night after being informed of the city’s filing.
“I hope they catch the robbers,” Baker said of the New Year’s Day crime stated in the motion. “I think both the robbed and the robbers came off of Las Vegas Trail and were not our tenants.”
Such a crime occurring on the property is precisely the point of the nuisance abatement statute, Mosley said.
“People are drawn to a property for criminal purposes,” Mosley said, also noting that the temporary injunction “is really for the protection of the community, but there are consequences for failure to follow the injunction.”
In the motion, city attorneys said the Fort Worth Police Department has responded to approximately 80 allegations of criminal activity related to or connected with Mira Monte in the past two years. Those allegations included aggravated assault, forced sexual assault, narcotic violations, public intoxication, robbery, simple assault and weapons law violations.
Four incidents on the property from September 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018, were specifically cited by the city, according to the court document, including two cases of someone discharging a firearm, another in which a person was shot and the New Year’s Day robbery.