More Repair Work for Vo

Courtyard Apartments, 950 Villa de Matel, Houston

Chronicle reporter Matt Stiles has found two more properties owned by State Rep. Hubert Vo: The Northpoint Apartments, at 74 Lyerly St., just north of the Northpoint Mall; and the Capewood Apartments, at 4335 Aldine Mail Rd., outside city limits.

And, uh, they’re not in great shape:

Tomasa Compean, 58, has lived for 18 years in her one-bedroom unit, where she pays $450 a month and has never received new carpet or paint. White powder bug poison outlines her baseboards, and a leaky faucet has left a large patch of rust and mildew in her tub, which apartment officials have covered only with paint.

“There are a lot of defects in the apartment,” said Compean, speaking in Spanish. She also complained about a lack of security at the complex. “The worst things are the roaches and mice. That’s just too much.”

Carmen Aguilar, whose two-bedroom apartment faces a dusty courtyard next to a swimming pool filled with opaque green water, pointed to a buckled wall and a large, moldy hole above her bathtub.

The Chronicle also found other potential violations at the complex, including an entry gate bent to a 45-degree angle, discarded furniture, masonry damage and busted breezeway lights. Workers could be seen Wednesday making some repairs, a day after the Chronicle asked the city about the property. . . .

Among other potential city violations at three complexes were overflowing Dumpsters, damaged parking lots and an algae-filled swimming pool — all conditions that could prompt criminal fines.

Vo, who has owned the properties for years, took blame for the problems Wednesday, saying he had not done enough to ensure the complexes were maintained. He said he would improve the conditions, pledging personal inspections of individual units, cooperation with city officials and outreach to residents to encourage them to report concerns.

One thing that will help: Vo is apparently a quick study with repair estimates. A year ago, Houston Press reporter Ruth Samuelson spoke to him at Thai Xuan Village near Glenwood Valley, just north of Hobby Airport, after it was threatened with demolition. Mayor White had asked Vo to serve as a liaison between residents of the complex and the mayor’s office:

. . . Vo thinks the community can’t tackle this project; it’s far too big. Vo, who owns several apartment complexes, says he walked the perimeter of Thai Xuan Village when he was there mid-March.

“I believe the structure could be okay, maybe some railings need to be fixed,” he says. “But the face-lift of the property needs to be done.” After a quick examination, he said the project would cost well over $100,000.