Autumn Ridge Apartments owner sues Lansing for $44 million in code enforcement dispute

LANSING — The owner of one of Lansing’s largest apartment complexes is suing the city for at least $44 million because of what it claims is unfair treatment, as well as excessive use of pink and red tags.

Southfield-based OPV Partners LLC filed its complaint Feb. 21 in the U.S. District Court’s Western District of Michigan.

In it, OPV called the city's actions "vindictive" and said the tagging situation is confusing tenants and preventing a sale of Autumn Ridge Apartments, a complex on Long Boulevard in Lansing that includes more than 600 units, by turning away potential buyers. It also said Mayor Andy Schor's administration violated a settlement agreement reached in 2022.

Renters have consequently withheld rent, vacated units and terminated leases, and, according to the lawsuit, “Plaintiff has lost millions of dollars as a result of Defendant’s actions.”

In addition to the city, the suit names Rawley Van Fossen, director of Lansing's Economic Development and Planning Department, and Nicholas Montry, his deputy director, as defendants.

Autumn Ridge Photo: Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023.
Autumn Ridge Photo: Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023.

“The city normally does not comment on litigation," said Scott Bean, the city's director of communications, in an email. "However, we have been actively involved with Autumn Ridge for a number of years and are acutely aware of the current situation.

"These latest claims have absolutely no merit and we are exploring all options moving forward on this matter," he added.

Henry Andries and Michael Geller, attorneys for Strobl PLLC in Bloomfield Hills, are representing OPV, and messages and emails were left with them.

The State Journal also reached out to Southfield-based Real Estate Service Solutions Company, which manages Autumn Ridge Apartments and Townhomes, and was referred to Glenn Oswald, a public relations professional.

"We are not going to provide an interview or statement," he said in an email. "The lawsuit speaks for itself."

OPV has owned Autumn Ridge since 2014. The lawsuit is the latest development in Autumn Ridge’s troubled relationship with the city, which goes back to at least 2019.

One of several pink tagged units at Autumn Ridge Apartments on Monday, April 4, 2023, in Lansing.
One of several pink tagged units at Autumn Ridge Apartments on Monday, April 4, 2023, in Lansing.

City council members have called the number of unsafe homes in Lansing a "crisis," and OPV Partners was one of five landlords associated with about 12% of the 663 red tags in effect in June 2023.

The city has been overhauling its Code Enforcement Department to address a backlog of homes with red tags, which indicate unsafe living conditions and block habitation. According to its website, the city had 544 red tags and 302 pink tags, which indicate proper rental certificates were lacking, in effect the first week of February, compared to 549 red tags and 225 pink tags the first week of January.

In its lawsuit, OPV’s attorneys say the city didn’t comply with a November 2022 settlement by failing to remove pink tags. The lawsuit said the tags eventually were removed and Autumn Ridge and city officials were cooperating last fall so the complex could be sold.

OPV's 2024 challenges began in January, when “city representatives appeared at the property and pink-tagged each building and unit, threatening to vacate each unit on Feb. 12, 2024.

"The tagging was at the direction of Van Fossen and Montry who were aware of, or should have been aware of, the pending appeals, settlement agreement, the abeyance agreed to during the September 2023 meeting and other understandings between the City and Autumn and potential purchasers," the lawsuit said. "The actions of Van Hossen and Montry were outside the scope of performing their duties, intentional and intended to harm Autumn."

Contact editor Susan Vela at or 248-873-7044. Follow her on Twitter @susanvela

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Autumn Ridge Apartments owner sues Lansing for $44 million