Willoughby Mariano

Willoughby Mariano is on the AJC's watchdog team and an expert on housing and criminal justice issues. Contact her at wmariano@ajc.com.

Latest from Willoughby Mariano

Tenants find landlords often ignore pleas for safer apartments
 It took a prosecution, days of court testimony, three court orders, and at least tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys expenses to convince the owners of East Point’s Brookfield Apartments to make it a safer place to live. Yet when all was said and done, the security measures a judge ordered were not all that different from...

Posted: 27 days ago

It took a prosecution, days of court testimony, three court orders, and at least tens of thousands of dollars in attorneys expenses to convince the owners of East Point’s Brookfield Apartments to make it a safer place to live. Yet when all was said and done, the security measures a judge ordered were not all that different from...
Handling of director’s retirement points to troubled Atlanta VA culture
 After news broke that the Atlanta VA Medical Center is now one of the worst in the nation, those who oversee it downplayed the personnel changes that followed. An official public statement Oct. 18 called the changes in department heads “temporary” and said they were made out of “an abundance of caution,” but failed...

11:00 PM Friday, Nov. 09, 2018

After news broke that the Atlanta VA Medical Center is now one of the worst in the nation, those who oversee it downplayed the personnel changes that followed. An official public statement Oct. 18 called the changes in department heads “temporary” and said they were made out of “an abundance of caution,” but failed...
No help for tenants sickened by mold in their homes
 Water poured into Madrika Gray’s apartment from a busted pipe last December, ruining her furniture and puddling onto the worn tiles. Then there was mold, which grew in dark, fine-haired blots on her furniture and made her clothes smell no matter how much she washed them. Now Gray and her children wake up with piercing headaches. A throat...

7:00 PM Friday, Nov. 02, 2018

Water poured into Madrika Gray’s apartment from a busted pipe last December, ruining her furniture and puddling onto the worn tiles. Then there was mold, which grew in dark, fine-haired blots on her furniture and made her clothes smell no matter how much she washed them. Now Gray and her children wake up with piercing headaches. A throat...
Luxury car owners dodge Ga. tax with Montana scheme
 Three reasons why state agents think Georgia is losing out on millions of tax dollars each year sat at a Cobb County mansion on a mild October morning. The first was parked in the driveway: a 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 luxury SUV that lists for as low as $92,000 — used. The second was the 2015 Cadillac Escalade alongside it, a relative...

10:00 PM Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018

Three reasons why state agents think Georgia is losing out on millions of tax dollars each year sat at a Cobb County mansion on a mild October morning. The first was parked in the driveway: a 2017 Mercedes-Benz G550 luxury SUV that lists for as low as $92,000 — used. The second was the 2015 Cadillac Escalade alongside it, a relative...
Debt collectors drained this woman’s bank account — then gave it back
 Jacqueline Mogan thought she had more than $1,600, but what she saw when she logged into her bank account made her stomach turn. Someone had cleaned out every last cent. The Cumming woman’s bank could tell her her little, but Mogan said she did learn this: Cooling & Winter, a law firm of which she had never heard, had seized all her...

9:00 PM Monday, Oct. 22, 2018

Jacqueline Mogan thought she had more than $1,600, but what she saw when she logged into her bank account made her stomach turn. Someone had cleaned out every last cent. The Cumming woman’s bank could tell her her little, but Mogan said she did learn this: Cooling & Winter, a law firm of which she had never heard, had seized all her...
Atlanta VA temporarily moves key staff after hospital’s downgrade
 The Atlanta VA Medical Center shuffled some of its top leaders Thursday after it was designated one of the worst in the nation. The changes, which are mostly temporary, took place as internal watchdogs with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs look into why the hospital’s quality rating dropped to one star out of a possible five...

9:11 PM Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

The Atlanta VA Medical Center shuffled some of its top leaders Thursday after it was designated one of the worst in the nation. The changes, which are mostly temporary, took place as internal watchdogs with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs look into why the hospital’s quality rating dropped to one star out of a possible five...
Tight job market leaves Georgia’s youth jails chronically understaffed
 The state’s long-term juvenile detention centers are so short-staffed that three of them routinely operate with less than 60 percent of their security officers, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice records show. These severe shortages are taking place even as the number of minors in custody has dropped, lowering the Georgia Department...

8:23 PM Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

The state’s long-term juvenile detention centers are so short-staffed that three of them routinely operate with less than 60 percent of their security officers, Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice records show. These severe shortages are taking place even as the number of minors in custody has dropped, lowering the Georgia Department...
Atlanta VA fined $13,600 after hazardous waste storage violations
 The Atlanta VA Medical Center suffered another setback after inspectors discovered more than one ton of hazardous waste packed floor to ceiling in unsafe conditions, recently-released records show. A portable building was stuffed so full of the hazardous waste that there was no room for inspectors to enter, much less firefighters or emergency...

10:00 PM Tuesday, Oct. 02, 2018

The Atlanta VA Medical Center suffered another setback after inspectors discovered more than one ton of hazardous waste packed floor to ceiling in unsafe conditions, recently-released records show. A portable building was stuffed so full of the hazardous waste that there was no room for inspectors to enter, much less firefighters or emergency...
Atlanta VA quality drops to one of the worst in the nation
 Atlanta’s VA Medical Center now ranks as one of the worst in the nation after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs latest national assessment of hospital quality, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned. The Decatur-area hospital’s overall quality rating fell from three stars to one &mdash...

10:00 PM Friday, Sep. 28, 2018

Atlanta’s VA Medical Center now ranks as one of the worst in the nation after the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs latest national assessment of hospital quality, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News have learned. The Decatur-area hospital’s overall quality rating fell from three stars to one &mdash...
Johns Creek woman, 97, snared in annuity’s fine print
 Two decades ago, the concept seemed simple enough to Rosalind Davidson: Put all of your life savings into an account that will provide guaranteed returns. But Davidson, now 97, found the deal was no bargain for her. When her family checked her finances, they discovered that except for small quarterly payments, her $80,000 was locked away...

10:00 PM Thursday, Sep. 27, 2018

Two decades ago, the concept seemed simple enough to Rosalind Davidson: Put all of your life savings into an account that will provide guaranteed returns. But Davidson, now 97, found the deal was no bargain for her. When her family checked her finances, they discovered that except for small quarterly payments, her $80,000 was locked away...
Ex-Rockdale sheriffs sergeant booked in stolen guns, cash case
 A former Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office sergeant under investigation on suspicions that he stole guns from his agency’s evidence unit now faces 43 counts of felony theft. Dan Lang, 37, stole more than $40,000 in cash in addition to the guns, the GBI said Thursday. The bureau launched its investigation April 10, after a...

9:33 PM Thursday, Sep. 20, 2018

A former Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office sergeant under investigation on suspicions that he stole guns from his agency’s evidence unit now faces 43 counts of felony theft. Dan Lang, 37, stole more than $40,000 in cash in addition to the guns, the GBI said Thursday. The bureau launched its investigation April 10, after a...