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DORAVILLE | High-rise owners at odds over paying light bill to restore power | Business

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DORAVILLE | High-rise owners at odds over paying light bill to restore power
Business

DORAVILLE, Ga. (WXIA) -- The problems are just beginning for the residents at the high-rise Presidential Condo Hotel in DeKalb County.

Tuesday, Georgia Power cut off electricity to the complex after they say the bill had not been paid. Wednesday, the DeKalb County Fire Marshal deemed the structure unsafe to live in, ordering residents on all 14 floors to move out, without a working elevator.

RELATED | High-rise evacuated over $42K power bill

Many angry residents said they have no place to go, and that they are the ones stuck in the middle of the dispute.

"Now we're stuck trying to get our stuff out, along with trying to get everything packed. The two owners are fighting and we're caught in the middle," said one resident.

With power off and a power struggle going on between the owners over who gets to pay the bill, it is anybody's guess when or even if the 120 tenants will be allowed to move back in.

A partner in the investment company that owns the building, Habib Osta, says his co-partner Vincent Lu, owes Georgia Power $24,000.

"Since September he hasn't paid his bill," Osta said. "I tried to keep it on as long as I could. I paid Georgia Power $11,582 then 10 days ago I paid another $5,000, and I tried to get more time to keep it on until we solved this problem but they do what they have to do."

Lu says the building's homeowners association owes the money, not him. 

With the partners at odds, neither one has paid Georgia Power, and the residents have been left in the dark - literally.

Osta says he has no idea when the power will come back on and if the residents will be able to move back in.

This marks the second time in less than a year the power at the Presidential has been shut off. The lights went on after two days the last time. This time Osta says, "Hopefully it will not last more than 2 days. If it does, it will be difficult to rebuild the business."

Habib Osta says it may come down to one partner buying out the other or selling the investment firm to get the building reopened.

The Presidential has 60 of the building's 196 units reported to be owned or occupied. Until the power bill is paid, the residents will not be permitted to move back into the building.

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