FORMER LANDLORDS PAY $60,000 IN SETTLEMENT OF TENANT HARASSMENT LAWSUIT
June 21, 2006
The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has settled a lawsuit that it brought against three men for allegedly trying to frighten a female tenant into vacating her rent-controlled apartment.
The city’s Consumer Protection Unit filed the lawsuit in April 2004 against Marshall Robert Burnett, Dan Kolodziejski, and L.T. Belton. The suit claimed that the men acquired the four-unit apartment building at 2710 Arizona Avenue, Santa Monica, in January 2004. The only apartment that was occupied at the time was by a tenant who is disabled and pays $422 per month under Rent Control. The men were accused of conspiring to frighten her into vacating her apartment in order to increase the property value of the building.
The tenant also retained a private attorney, Gary Rhoades of Los Angeles, and brought a private lawsuit against Burnett and Kolodziejski. The two cases were consolidated for trial in the Santa Moncia Superior Court.
The lawsuits alleged that Burnett and Kolodziejski installed Belton as the "manager" in the apartment next door to the woman’s, for the sole purpose of frightening and intimidating her into leaving. Belton's alleged actions included:
Defendants Burnett and Kolodziejski are both licensed realtors. In defending the lawsuit, they denied any wrongdoing.
The two lawsuits were settled at the same time after a mediation before Judge Patricia Collins of the Santa Monica Superior Court.
Under the terms of the settlement, which recently became final:
The city had filed the original lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court. It was brought under the local Tenant Harassment Ordinance, S.M.M.C. ch. 4.56.
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