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CITY TAKES OVER APARTMENT BUILDING AFTER OWNER REFUSES TO MAKE REPAIRS

 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 11, 2005
Contact:
 Adam Radinsky, Deputy City Attorney, (310) 458-8327



A Superior Court judge last week appointed a receiver to take control of a residential building in Santa Monica that was in a chronic state of disrepair and had become a dangerous blight to the community. The Santa Monica City Attorney  Office filed the case on behalf of the city.  The building, located at 2438 Ocean Park Boulevard, consists of three units, one occupied by the building owner, Guillermo Gonzalez.

The health and safety code violations at the property include:

  • The exterior is overrun with garbage, flammable materials and junk.

  • In a single bedroom on the second floor there are approximately 14 bunk beds which have been individually rented out by the week.

  • Due to the filthy and littered condition of the kitchen and dining area of the main unit, the front yard has been converted to a makeshift dining area with a refrigerator, microwave, TV and the storage of food.

  • The property lacks heating in any of its units.

  • Temporary extension cords are used in place of proper electrical wiring throughout the building.

  • The property has been the site of chronic criminal activity for many years.

  • There are a recreational vehicle and a flatbed truck permanently parked in the back yard that are filled with debris.

The City has received numerous complaints about the property from neighbors. Twice in the past several years the City Attorney  Office had filed criminal charges against Gonzalez to compel him to bring the building up to code. Both times Gonzalez was convicted but nonetheless refused to make the needed repairs. In both cases he served time in Los Angeles County Jail for his refusals.

The City Attorney's Consumer Protection Unit finally sought the court-appointed receiver as a last resort to assure that the property be made safe and legal. Judge Lisa Hart Cole of the Beverly Hills Superior Court granted the city's request for the receiver at a January 6 hearing.

The receiver, Century City-based attorney David Pasternak, this week will assume full control of the property. Pasternak will eventually recommend to Judge Hart Cole whether the property feasibly can be repaired and brought up to code, or whether it should be demolished and the land sold. The judge ultimately will make that decision.

"Owners need to know that their buildings can be taken away if they have code violations and they refuse to fix them after the city gives them a fair chance," said Deputy City Attorney Adam Radinsky, who is handling the case for Santa Monica.  "The receivership remedy is drastic medicine but we won't hesitate to use it in proper cases to protect the well-being of the community."

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This page was last updated on 02/28/11.