FRAMINGHAM – Vaios Theodorakos grew up downtown Framingham. So as an adult he started from scratch his business VTT Management Inc. in downtown Framingham.
Launched more than 30 years ago, VTT Managaement now owns a huge chunk of property in downtown Framingham.
“I own three-quarters of downtown,” said Theodorakos.
And now Theodorakos said he and his business are leaving downtown Framingham.
“Regretfully and sadly VTT Management Inc. has started the process to remove its headquarters from the downtown area where we called home for 30 years,” wrote the Company to the 11-member City Council last Friday.
“I’m done,” said Theodorakos to SOURCE last Friday, June 11.
VTT Management’s mission is to “Eliminate Urban Blight—One City At A Time!”
Theodorakos owns properties throughout America, but the biggest headache he has is in Framingham.
He said the “homeless” population has “exploded” in the City of Framingham in the last five years.
Worse some of the homeless individuals are ‘aggressive, violent, and combative people.”
And the situations and the incident have increased and become more “brazen” in the last two years.
Incident used to just happen at night after 11 p.m. and before 8 a.m., but now they happen “24 hours a day,” said Theodorakos.
“There is a problem downtown, and no one is addressing it,” said Theodorakos. “People are doing drugs in the doorways. Violent criminals are breaking into my buildings. They are urinating inside my buildings. They are shitting in my hallways. They are attacking my employees. I have had enough. It is not safe for my employees. It is not safe for my family to come see me at my office. I’m moving out.”
Theodorakos said one individual tried to kick down a door, and when he busted it open it knocked one of his employees down a flight of stairs.
“My cleaning lady was punched in the face,” said Theodorakos. “They are bold and blazen, and they no one is doing anything to stop the problem.”
“I purchased camera and security equipment. They bust it or they steal it. They destroy it,” said Theodorakos.
Yesterday, (June 10) at 3 p.m. in the afternoon, I found two people naked having sex against a bannister inside one of my building,” said Theodorakos
So on Friday afternoon, a letter was time stamped and delivered to the legislative branch of the City government.
“We are writing this letter to bring attention to several areas of concern that are affecting the community in which we lived, developed, improved, worked, and served for 30+years. Having been a pillar of the community for many years VTT Management Inc. and its founder/ CEO Vaios Theodorakos implore you to hear our concerns. The occurrences in and around our downtown locations have severely damaged the ability for this company and its occupants to remain. We have spent millions of dollars per year since the company’s inception directly downtown area where we believed it was
most need and are extremely passionate about,” noted the letter sent to the City Council signed by VTT Management.
“In the past couple of years, the homeless population has undoubtedly increased, and the behavior these individuals has risen to an unbearable level. There is an epidemic, invasion, and all out battle going on between staff and its paying tenants going on in and around our buildings. The danger and liability associated with this intrusion cannot be contained without a concentrated effort and serious response from the city, local law enforcement, and community outreach programs IE. SMOC, Salvation Army, United Way. Our corporate and management staffs are put in danger by these invasions. Our vendors have been assaulted by these intruders and our client’s businesses are damaged by these activities,” stated the letter.
Over the last decade, Theodorakos said there have been more than 1,600 locks replaced at his downtown Framingham properties, due to individuals trying to break in. Each repair with parts & labor is $200 – that is more than $300,000 in repairs.
Over the years, Theodorakos has purchased many properties downtown. He renovated them. He offered “reasonable rents.”
“When no one wanted these buildings. I purchased them. I put in $1 million in new windows. new boilers, renovated them, spent $4 million on new roofs. I filled the downtown office space with hard-working immigrants,” said Theodorakos. “I am 99% occupied, but many of my tenants now feel unsafe.”
“I am fully occupied, but I now have tenants who don’t want to pay me as they tell me the property is not safe,” said Theodorakos. “I’m doing my part. I repair the busted locks. I report the crimes to Police. I add security cameras. I even hired a security guard to work at night, but it is just getting worse.”
The repairs to the busted doors, locks, cameras have cost him “hundreds of thousands of collars,” said Theodorakos.
And he has lost long-term high-paying tenants due to the crime and problems, added Theodorakos.
He said he also has liability issues as he is “finding homeless persons living in ceilings and closets potentially causing electrical and fire hazards.”
Theodorakos said he finds individuals shooting heroin and crack in his properties he has to call police about. His tenants and his employees find drugs and needles in and around the buildings almost daily.
“Public urination and defecation occur all around and in our buildings occurs daily. Our walls are covered with blood and fecal matter in a continuous occurrence,” wrote VTT Management. “Couples are fornicating in our buildings nightly. Our employee is subject to this vial recorded
activity and can barely work at times due to this emotional duress from these sights. Breaking and entering businesses, trespassing into buildings and vandalism of businesses.”
Theodorakos said some of these people are just criminals but others are “in peril” and despite all the social service organizations in the City of Framingham, they are not getting the help they need.
“My father was a big proponent of helping the homeless people. He fed them. He took care of them. When it was freezing cold, we never complained when they were in our buildings seeking shelters,” said Theodorakos, but “some of these new homeless people who are in downtown are destroying my properties, terrorizing my employees, and scaring away my tenants.”
Theodorakos said he is not sure what the answer is to the problem, but that he “has had it. I’m done. Time to pack up, sell off my properties and get out.”
This is not the first time individuals and business owners have complained about these problems downtown.
These issues were constantly brought up by former Downtown Framingham Inc. Director Courtney Thraen, who advocated on behalf of downtown business owners to find solutions, to the crime and public nuisance issues. At one point Thraen and her organization also hired private security.
There has been discussion about implementing a “hub program” here in Framingham, like the one in the City of Chelsea.
The innovative program consists of a weekly meeting among dozens of organizations and agencies, including the Police, to jointly discuss and determine how to help troubled individuals. Instead of each group working in isolation, hub members are able to apply multivariate solutions to multivariate problems. Basically no more passing the buck to another organization or city department.
Framingham installed a new police chief during the pandemic. Chief Lester Baker is supportive of the Hub model, but it has not launched yet in Framingham. But for Theodorakos, it may be too late.
“The City has not made downtown safe. The City needs to secure downtown,” said Theodorakos.
“I went through my seven stages. Over the next 60 days, I’m closing our offices after three plus decades downtown. I plan to continue to liquidate my assets in downtown Framingham, and just move on,” said Theodorakos.