FLANDERS - Is the state of New Jersey to blame for its road salt shortage? That’s what a large New Jersey property management company claims. But the state tells Kane In Your Corner the accusation is absurd, and some tenants question whether the property manager is simply making excuses.
They’re out of salt at the Oakwood Apartments in Flanders. In a letter to tenants, Kettler Management says, “several of our vendors have brought to our attention that the state of New Jersey has seized salt shipments in the ports of NJ, NY and PA to use for State purposes.”
Some tenants say that would be disturbing if true. “This is a private contractor,” says longtime tenant Fred Russell. “And if the private contractor is denied access to salt, how are they supposed to do their jobs?”
But the state of New Jersey says the idea that it is seizing and hoarding road salt is absurd. Spokesman Joe Dee, of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, says the state couldn’t possibly seize salt from New York or Pennsylvania, and it isn’t doing so in New Jersey either. “Supplies are tight so everybody is probably getting less than what they would like, and that includes us,” Dee says.
This is not the first time News 12 New Jersey has heard about a controversy involving Kettler Management. Last month, Kane In Your Corner investigated how the company was improperly evicting hundreds of tenants from one of its other properties, the Pavilion Apartments in Newark, based on eviction notices purportedly signed by a woman who had been dead for months.
Tenants at the Pavilion also received the letter about the state seizing all the rock salt, but some do not believe it. Kyle Screen, a tenant activist, tells News 12 New Jersey’s Walt Kane he even offered to buy salt from a local Home Depot over the weekend if the manager would reimburse him. “She wrote back come Monday to tell me no, that'll be OK," Screen says.
News 12 New Jersey tried to obtain additional comment from Kettler, but the company did not return calls.