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Columbia Housing Authority summoned for multiple violations found during investigation

The Columbia Police Department documented 869 violations during their inspection of Allen Benedict Court.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Columbia Housing Authority was summoned by the Columbia Police Department in 22 different categories on November 25.

Last week, on November 27, the Fifth Circuit Solicitor announced there would be no criminal charges filed in the Allen Benedict Court investigation. 

Now, the housing authority may not see criminal charges, but civil cases and violations will still land them in the courtroom. Columbia Police Chief Skip Holbrook said the authority was cited for more than 800 violations.

RELATED: 'No probable cause' to pursue criminal charges in Allen Benedict Court

"The probable cause does not exist to peruse criminal matters," Fifth Circuit Solicitor Byron Gipson said.

The findings from the investigation were released ten months after both the deaths of Calvin Witherspoon Jr. and Derrick Roper and the evacuation of 411 residents at the housing complex. 

RELATED: Interim executive director delivers her 12-month plan to the Columbia Housing Authority

RELATED: It has been more than five months since deadly gas leak at Allen Benedict Court

"The Columbia Police Department served 22 criminal summons on the housing authority," Holbrook said. "In total 869 violations that were documented during the inspection of Allen Benedict Court property."

News 19 obtained the summons and took a closer look. Each of the summons have a dollar amount of $470 assigned to them, adding to a total amount of $10,340. 

CPD said that is the maximum amount for each of the summons, but a judge will make the final decision.    

Some of the summons show the housing authority was cited for electrical system hazards, ventilation, plumbing system hazards and multiple other violations. 

"One thing that one resident did say they thought that was a way of life, smelling what they were smelling, they didn't know," Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins said. 

Jenkins said they also issued four summons to the housing authority. A trial is scheduled for next month.  

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