MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is going after a landlord for allegedly lying to the courts.
Landlord Stephen Frenz is accused of not telling the truth when questioned about the conditions at the apartment building he owns in south Minneapolis.
Tenants of Stephen Frenz claim he failed to keep apartments in working order. The courts believe Frenz went to great lengths to manufacture evidence to get the court case thrown out.
Freeman said he rarely charges people with perjury because of the difficulty in proving that people are outright lying, as opposed to just missing facts. However, he said this was a case in which Frenz worked hard to falsify documents.
A neighborhood organization filed a tenant remedy action to get Frenz to fix problems in his apartment building, including inadequate heating, and infestations of mice and cockroaches.
The neighborhood organization can only bring action if the majority of tenants take part in the complaint. Freeman said that Frenz lied about the number of tenants that were actually in the building.
According to Freeman, Frenz lied about three units being occupied, even staging an apartment as if a family lived there, in order to get the case thrown out.
“He took them on an inspection in one of the apartments where allegedly a family with small children lived. The apartment was furnished as follows: a bed, a pot on the stove, and two pairs of kids’ shoes,” Freeman said.
He also allegedly had employees sign a lease as a favor, even thought they did not live on site.
Freeman said he had a lot of help from Minneapolis Police, who went with Frenz to look in that apartment to prove he was not telling the truth.
He has been charged by summons and will appear in court Feb. 8.