City Sues Elderly Owner of ‘Nuisance’ Triplex

September 7, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

BOYLE HEIGHTS – The City Attorney’s Office filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the 88-year-old owner of a Boyle Heights triplex and her grandson, alleging that gang-related shootings have taken place at the property despite it being “perilously close” to an elementary school.

The Los Angeles Superior Court complaint seeks an injunction and abatement of an alleged nuisance against Esther M. Oregon and her grandson, Manuel Oregon Martinez, both of whom are residents of the Sheridan Street triplex. Martinez, 36, is an “influential member” of a local gang and “attracts and invites other gang members there,” according to the lawsuit.

A second grandson, who is not a defendant, also resides there and returned fire on rival gang members with a handgun while standing in the driveway of the triplex in July 2015, the suit states.

The suit seeks a court order directing Martinez and other gang members to stay up to 1,000 feet from the triplex.

Oregon and Martinez could not be immediately reached.

The triplex “is perilously close to Sheridan Street Elementary School, which is located directly across the street, only 59 feet away from the property,” the suit states.

“Prosecutors have filed this nuisance-abatement action in order to intervene before a life is claimed by this gang-related gunfire and other associated gang violence,” the suit states.

Oregon is “reluctantly” named as a defendant because, despite being elderly, she is “either unable or unwilling” to stop the problems at the triplex, the suit states. The City Attorney’s Office has contacted Los Angeles County Adult Protective Services to alert them that Oregon’s caregivers “may be depriving her of services needed to ensure her well-being,” according to the complaint.

Oregon has owned the property since 2008 and five gang-related shootings have occurred there during that time, the suit states. She has had to lie on the floor to shield herself from gunfire at least three times, the suit states.

Police have seized firearms, including assault rifles, and four gang members have been arrested there, the suit states. There may have been additional gang-related incidents that went unreported, according to the lawsuit.

“The property has a reputation among law enforcement and the community as a major hub for State Street where gang-related nuisance activity regularly occurs and where two rival gangs go to look for retribution,” the suit states.

City of L.A. Joins Transgender Student Equal Rights Lawsuit

March 2, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s office announced Thursday the city has joined with about 30 other cities and counties in a legal brief supporting a transgender student’s equal rights case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The brief was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Gavin Grimm, a 17-year-old transgender boy, after the Gloucester County, Virginia, school board passed a policy that prevents him from using the boys’ restroom.

Transgender students in the district are required to use separate single-stall restrooms.

“All our children deserve fair and equal treatment,” City Attorney Mike Feuer said. “All our children are entitled to respect and to be free from discrimination. That includes our transgender children.”

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed Feuer’s sentiments.

“No child should be subjected to bullying, intimidation, or humiliation. Discrimination against the transgender community is wrong, it can be especially destructive in the lives of young people, and has no place in our schools,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “I am proud to stand with cities across America in the fight to protect the dignity and safety of all our children.”

Feuer said the brief argues that forcing transgender students to use these separate restrooms is a form of `separate but equal’ treatment that “visibly marks them as different from their peers and exposes them to a risk of violence and harassment.”

Be Wary of Unlicensed Contractors, Cautions City Atty.

June 11, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

City Attorney Mike Feuer is warning the public about unlicensed contractors who promise to do work they may not be qualified to do, including some who may take advantage of the recent interest in drought-related home upgrades.

Some unlicensed contractors outside of Los Angeles are promoting themselves as experts in drought tolerant landscaping, but they deliver sub-par work and may use plants that are not actually drought tolerant, Feuer said.

Senior citizens also are being targeted by unlicensed contractors who promise a low fee to clean air conditioning and heating systems, but find additional things to repair when they show up at the home, Feuer said.

Feuer urged residents to avoid contractors who take only cash, ask for a high down payment, requests the homeowner to apply for building permits as an “owner-builder,” and is not listed with the Contractor’s State License Board website.

Feuer said any contractor who charges more than $500 per project must have a state contractor’s license.

The City Attorney’s office has filed 32 cases alleging unlicensedcontractor fraud, and is collecting restitution from 39 unlicensed contractors.

Another 35 cases referred by the Contractor’s State License Board are also being reviewed.

Feuer said he recently secured the conviction of Barry Walker, who worked without a license and charged an elderly woman $84,000 to make her home handicap accessible, but did low quality work and eventually stopped working on the project.

Walker was put on 36 months probation. He also must do 30 days community labor and pay $61,620 in restitution. The restitution hearing is set for July 17.

“Schemes perpetrated by unlicensed contractors can have devastating financial consequences for homeowners,” Feuer said. “My office will continue to fight back by empowering residents with the information they need to avoid being victimized and aggressively seeking restitution for those who are harmed.”

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