RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Two Richmond-based property management companies, run by the same man, are facing lawsuits from Attorney General Mark Herring. Herring’s office claims that JumpStart University and Vasilios Education Center defrauded their tenants.
Websites for both landlords state that the companies offer housing for those struggling to afford or find a place to live. Promises include help closing on a home purchase, providing rental properties to those with a negative credit or rental history and those with criminal records.
Herring said JumpStart University and Vasilios Education Center are both operated by Carl Vaughn.
“When a landlord takes advantage of their tenants, especially when those tenants are low-income or even homeless, they must be held accountable for the harm they have caused,” Herring said. “Vaughan allegedly used his companies to take advantage of Virginians who were in tough financial situations – selling them a bill of goods that he would never be able to fulfill. I want to thank my Consumer Protection Section for their hard work on this case and my team and I remain committed to protecting tenants from deceptive and dishonest landlords.”
The lawsuit states that services promised by Vaughn including credit counseling, education services and employment assistance were never actually provided. A release from Herring said that people experiencing homelessness paid for these programs based on promises that they’d be put on the path to home ownership.
On top of not getting what they were promised, the lawsuit accuses Vaughn and his companies of “aggressively” evicting tenants, using leases that violated stated law and not providing clear terms for maintenance. Herring said the evictions taking place were “often based on inaccurate billing and payment records.”