Is Fred Lesher, Colwyn’s Council president, a slumlord? April Reid and people who know her say he is.
At a recent Council meeting, during public comment, Reid claimed she was a tenant living in property owned by Lesher and that the property is uninhabitable for several reasons, including an infestation of bedbugs.
Reid showed a reporter bites all over her back, chest, arms and belly that she said came from the property in the 400 block of Colwyn Ave. She said her year-old daughter, Faith, also has bites and required medical treatment with antibiotics. Reid also showed photos of bedbugs inside the home, a thermostat hanging off the wall, radiators uncovered, faulty and uncovered electrical outlets and the fuse box without a cover.
Addressing Council during public comment, Lesher denied that Reid is his tenant, but Reid’s social services advocate, Kathleen Bradley-Fisher, later presented copies of Reid’s lease to The Spirit, and Lesher’s name is clearly on it.
Reid said she had to discard her mattress, all of her bedclothes, her own clothes and her daughter’s clothing and that she and the child have been living in motels.
“I had to start over with everything,” Reid said.
She said someone came to her home at 10 o’clock at night before she left the property and sprayed insecticide all over the carpet to the point of making it impossible to stand the fumes. The spray did not kill the bedbugs, she said. It only saturated the carpet.
Lesher said he doesn’t like discussing his personal business life at public meetings and he blamed former Borough Manager Paula Brown for bringing “someone like (Reid) to the meeting to start trouble…It’s fourth grade politics.”
“What does me making a living have to do with borough politics?” he asked. “I do business with the girl’s (April’s) mother.”
Reid and Brown say the duplex property is not adequately handicapped accessible despite a paraplegic woman living on the first floor. Reid argued the property has an incomplete wheelchair ramp that she said Lesher sent “crackheads” to build and she claims the stairs are unstable, causing her to fall several times while holding her baby.
In response, Lesher said the property is 100 percent wheelchair accessible and that he is always working on his buildings to make them better.