Sunday, December 31, 2006

False press report on homicide at Friendship Court: Eminent domain of location cover-up

Truthiness: Sounds true but isn’t.
On the last day of the year, Matt Deegan became the latest local journalist to file a false report on an eminent domain-related story. If one part of a story is inaccurate, how can other parts be trusted?

“Friendship Court is a series of apartment buildings near the Downtown Mall that were built by the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corp.,in partnership locally with the Piedmont Housing Alliance, to provide affordable housing for city residents” (“City man killed: Friendship Court visitor shot in gut”, December 31, 2006, The Daily Progress).

Charlottesville online assessment records indicate that PHA purchased the Garrett Square public housing complex on 10/31/2002 at a sale price of $4.8 million Deed Book 876 Page 72 and renamed the complex Friendship Court.

The previous owner, Cavalier Development Company, purchased the newly cleared, 11.758-acre consolidated parcel on 7/12/1977 for $205,103 Deed Book 385 Page 776. The land was acquired for urban renewal in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. But the online records don’t go back that far.

The 150-unit public housing project at 400-426 Garrett Street opened in 1979. The Piedmont Housing Alliance was created in 1983 under the name Thomas Jefferson Housing Improvement Corporation.

“II. Agency Description - The Piedmont Housing Alliance is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1983 to address affordable housing and other community development needs on a regional basis within the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. PHA serves six jurisdictions - Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties and the City of Charlottesville. Formerly known as the Thomas Jefferson Housing Improvement Corporation (TJHIC), the agency was reorganized in February 1997 into a Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) and renamed the Piedmont Housing Alliance…” (“About Piedmont Housing Alliance,”

National Housing Trust press release about Garrett Square June 4, 2003 The website doesn’t say when the Trust was established.

“In 1982, legendary urban visionary Jim Rouse and his wife Patty founded Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. (then named The Enterprise Foundation), with the ambitious goal of making sure every American lives in a decent, affordable home. Today, Enterprise is a leading provider of capital and expertise for affordable housing and community development. (Enterprise Preservation website)

Search Charlottesville online assessment records.

1967 map of Garrett Street urban renewal zone. Friendship Court public housing bordered by Garrett, 6th SE, (present-day) Monticello Ave, and 2nd SE. Click image for larger view.

City sees third homicide of 2006
Friendship Court visitor shot in gut

By Matt Deegan / [434] 978-7277, December 30, 2006

A 29-year-old Charlottesville man died Saturday after being shot the night before in a Friendship Court apartment on Garrett Street.

Tobyn Dion Ross was rushed to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he died Saturday morning from his injuries, according to Charlottesville police.
It was the city’s third homicide in 2006.

Ross was lying on the ground in the parking lot of an apartment complex just before midnight Friday with a gunshot to his abdomen when city police arrived in the 400 block of Garrett Street.

One shot was fired, Barrick said, and there is no evidence that the incident was gang-related. He said there is no known motive for the shooting.

“We have strong leads and hope to make an arrest this weekend,” Barrick said, “but we still need the public’s help if anyone has information.”

Ross was not a resident of Friendship Court, Lt. Michael Dean said.

Ramona Jackson, who is a resident of the housing complex, said she was talking on the phone when she heard what she knew was a gunshot. Jackson then hung up and walked outside. She saw Ross crawling on his knees in the parking lot in front of her, she said.

Medical assistance soon arrived, and Charlottesville Albemarle Rescue Squad workers took off Ross’ coat to reveal a bloodied shirt and treated him, she said.

Jackson, who has lived in Friendship Court for nine years, said there have been incidents of violence in other blocks of Friendship Court in the past.

“I’m ready to get out of here because of this all happening,” Jackson said.
Friendship Court is a series of apartment buildings near the Downtown Mall that were built by the National Housing Trust/Enterprise Preservation Corp., in partnership locally with the Piedmont Housing Alliance, to provide affordable housing for city residents.

The program manager for Urban Vision, a community group that supports Friendship Court residents, said that the complex is a safe neighborhood.

“It’s mostly outsiders coming in,” Kristina Davis said, explaining the violence that has taken place.

Davis visits Friendship Court almost every day on behalf of Urban Vision, which provides programs such as General Equivalen-cy Diploma classes, money management seminars and after school care for residents.

She did not recognize Ross as a Friendship Court resident.

The city’s first homicide of 2006 took place March 17, when 18-year-old Gerald Washington of Charlottes-ville was shot and later died of multiple gun shot wounds. The alleged shooter, a 27-year-old city man, called 911 and told police he had shot a man. The incident is currently under review by the city prosecutor.

Then, on June 18, Lamont Antonio Reaves, 21, of Charlottesville, was shot during an argument on First Street and later died at the UVa Medical Center. Jermaine Leon Thurston, 22, of the city, was charged with one count of second-degree murder, one count of malicious wounding and two counts of use of firearm in the commission of a crime.

Anyone with information on Friday’s shooting is asked to call police Detective D.J. Harris at [434]531-8316 or Detective Logan Woodzell at [434]566-1424.


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