Six months after taking over management of the Pavilion Apartments in Newark, N.J., KETTLER faced an uprising. A group of residents refused to adopt new terms to their lease and about 100 received eviction notices because they were at least two months behind in their monthly rent. A resident who headed the Pavilion’s neighborhood association noticed that the person who signed the eviction forms had recently died.He argued how could residents be “evicted from the grave?” A TV station aired a negative story, a second station was preparing a story and the local newspaper was calling. KETTLER contacted Bill Atkinson to help navigate the crisis and limit reputational damage.
Our mission was to defend our actions by presenting the facts, mainly that KETTLER was operating within the letter of the law by requesting residents to adopt a 12-month lease and that the company operated appropriately. We advised KETTLER to conducted interviews with news outlets presenting the facts and our side of the story.
AA story in the Newark Star-Ledger written by a columnist whose mission was to defend thepoor and disenfranchised became a balanced story fully quoting KETTLER executives Cindy Clare and Coco Lyons. We made sure we answered the columnist’s questions as quickly as possible to make sure our side was presented. A reporter for a TV station privately agreed that the complaints by our critics were inflated. He, too, quoted Clare in his on-air story. Clare noted that our work “was worth every penny.”