MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minneapolis landlord has been found guilty in Hennepin County District Court for lying to cover up the poor conditions of his building.
Stephen Frenz was found guilty of one count of felony perjury under oath Friday after beginning the trial Wednesday. Frenz had pleaded not guilty.
According to the criminal complaint, Frenz’s 17-unit south Minneapolis apartment building had issues with inadequate heating along with mice, cockroaches and other pests.
The local neighborhood association filed a remedy action against Frenz for these conditions in 2016. The action could only be filed if a majority of tenants sign on. Frenz was charged in January with lying about the number of tenants in the building to get the action thrown out.
“We are very pleased with the jury’s verdict,” Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said at a news conference. “It’s unusual to do a perjury case, but he not only lied to the court but he lied to his tenants. I’m personally pleased because so many people were harmed: the employees, the pest control guy and the tenants. We think he knew what he was doing. He manufactured evidence.”
Frenz’s sentencing will take place Dec. 20. According to a news release from Freeman’s office, the state’s recommended sentence for such an offense is probation. Prosecutors could also request a large fine, time in a county work house or community service.