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Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin reopened a consumer protection lawsuit against a Central Arkansas landlord with a history of legal issues, claiming a breach of the settlement that closed the case over a year ago.
Griffin’s predecessor, Leslie Rutledge, sued Imran Bohra and his company, Entropy Systems Inc., in 2019 for alleged deceptive business practices. The suit settled in September 2022 and requires Bohra and Entropy Systems to pay a fine of $20,000 if they are found to have knowingly rented out units with outstanding code violations.
The case reopened Monday in Pulaski County Circuit Court, and Griffin filed a petition Tuesday asking Judge Herbert Wright to enforce the $20,000 fine.
One of the terms of the settlement required Bohra “to include an addendum on all leases notifying tenants of the right to file a complaint with the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office,” according to court documents. Bohra sent 44 leases that he initiated after the settlement to Griffin’s office upon request, and the leases did not include the required addendum, according to the attorney general’s petition.
Griffin sent Bohra a letter in November ordering him to pay the $20,000 penalty within 10 days of receipt or he would face legal consequences. The letter included a copy of the required information for tenants and a consumer complaint form they can send to the attorney general’s office. Griffin noted in the letter that his office sent copies of the documents to “all known properties” owned by Bohra and Entropy.
As of Tuesday, the defendants’ attorney, Edward Adcock, had acknowledged receipt of the letter but had not complied or indicated that they planned to comply, according to Griffin’s petition.
“The defendants have blatantly disregarded their obligations and now must be held accountable,” Griffin said in a press release from his office. “Arkansas consumers deserve to be treated fairly, and I will continue to hold accountable those who engage in deceptive tactics while doing business.”
In addition to enforcing the fine, Griffin’s petition asks Wright to issue an injunction blocking Bohra and Entropy from entering any new lease agreements until he includes the required addendum in all existing leases.
Adcock declined to comment on the petition when reached by the Advocate.
Bohra owned 150 properties in Pulaski County at the time of Rutledge’s lawsuit in August 2019. Many of his low-income tenants experienced substandard living conditions and quick evictions, according to an Arkansas Democrat-Gazette investigation that precipitated the lawsuit.
In August 2022, Entropy was cited in Little Rock Environmental Court for city code violations — including nonworking drains and faucets, a broken water heater and holes in the walls and ceilings — at a house on West 24th Street that Bohra owned and leased to tenant Terry Lauderdale. Adcock told the court that the house had no code violations when Lauderdale and his roommates moved in, so he argued that the fine in the settlement with the state did not apply.
The 24th Street case closed in March 2023.
Arkansas Advocate is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arkansas Advocate maintains editorial independence. This article was published with permission from the Arkansas Advocate. Contact Editor Sonny Albarado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Arkansas Advocate on Facebook and Twitter.