After Weekend Controversy, Wisconsin Landlord Releases Man From Lease On Murder Scene Apartment

This morning, WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin, reported that Wisconsin Management Company had refused to let a University of Wisconsin student out of a lease a year and a half early. What was surprising about the story was that the man had found his fiancée murdered in the apartment last week. Even worse, the company wouldn’t confirm that it would replace the carpet or re-paint the walls until it had completed “further investigation” of the situation. Before we posted the story this evening, the management company had posted a press release on its website saying the whole thing was a misunderstanding and the lease has been dissolved. Download the press release here (PDF), or read it below.

Wisconsin Management Company, Inc. extends its deepest condolences to both the Zimmerman and Gonnering families. We regret how our statement on Friday was characterized. Wisconsin Management Company, Inc. takes great pride in our service and commitment to our residents. We felt it inappropriate, one week after the incident, to discuss the particulars of the lease situation until we had spoken to the families. We have since had the opportunity to speak with Jordan’s parents. After discussing what the family wanted, we have decided to release all parties from any lease obligations. Once the property is released by the police, we will do any cleaning or repairs that are necessary. We have also offered housing to Mr. Gonnering, which he will consider. Now that this situation is resolved, we hope people can focus on the actual tragedy and work towards healing and justice.
Russ Endres
Wisconsin Management Company, inc.

In the story WKOW published this morning, they said they spoke with Endres before going to press to ask him whether or not he was refusing to break the lease, and this was his response:

The president of Wisconsin Management Co., Russ Endres, says the company hasn’t even officially spoken to Gonnering yet. He says they will work with him if he calls and they have a good track record of helping students who want to break leases. 27 News asked Endres if he personally believes Gonnering should be allowed to cut ties to the apartment, and Endres said, “It’s too early to say.” He would not commit to allow Gonnering to break the lease.

We’re glad he’s come to a decision.
“Murdered Student’s Fiance Must Retain Apartment Lease” [WKOW Madison] (Thanks to Justin!)
Wisconsin Management Company
Press Release (PDF)