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Report: Landlord Paid Protesters

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At New Britain City Hall, landlords and tenants protested the city council's decision to collect about a million dollars a year in new fees from the owners of apartment buildings. The proposal also contained anti-blight measures. Photo by WTIC's Matt Dwyer.

At New Britain City Hall, landlords and tenants protested the city council’s decision to collect about a million dollars a year in new fees from the owners of apartment buildings. The proposal also contained anti-blight measures. Photo by WTIC’s Matt Dwyer.

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NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) _ A New Britain landlord who lives in New York says he paid protesters to attend a city meeting to criticize an ordinance imposing a $150 fee per housing unit on absentee owners.

The New Britain Herald reports that Sam Zherka, owner of a 300-unit New Britain apartment complex, said he paid up to $25 per household for tenants to attend the pro-landlord rally on Wednesday.

He said the estimated 20 tenants who attended were given restaurant gift certificates or cash to compensate for missing dinner.

Zherka also provided bus rides to tenants.

City officials say the fee is intended to reduce blight an create an incentive for landlords to clean up their properties.

Phil Sherwood, Mayor Timothy O’Brien’s deputy chief of staff, called Zherka’s payments “outrageous tactics.”
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Information from: New Britain Herald, http://www.newbritainherald.com

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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