Los Angeles Unified has sued its property insurers for at least $13 million for allegedly balking at paying to reconstruct the James A. Garfield High School auditorium ravaged in a fire almost six years ago.
The breach-of-contract suit was filed last week by LAUSD against eight companies, including Lexington Insurance Co., Lloyd’s of London and Allied World Insurance Co. The $13 million is the amount recommended by an appraisal panel.
The suit also asks for a judge’s declaration that the district is correct in its assertions the companies are obligated to reimburse the district for its expenses.
The suit alleges that the insurers’ internal emails show their structural engineer agreed with a report by the state Division of State Architect that the entire auditorium needed to be demolished to assure it would be safe in an earthquake and also because of the need to upgrade Building B, of which the auditorium was a part.
However, the insurers’ adjuster “hid the report from the district for the next four years” and also “falsely denied its very existence,” the suit states.
Representatives of the insurers could not be immediately reached for comment.
The auditorium, built in 1925, was known for its vintage glass chandeliers, grand stage and elaborate plasterwork. It was destroyed by an arson fire on May 20, 2007. Before the blaze, it was the primary meeting facility for the East Los Angeles school’s student body, the suit states.
“Over the last 5 1/2 years, the students have instead needed to hold meetings, classes and performances in the cafeteria, an auto garage and other equally undesirable locations,” according to the suit, which also seeks punitive damages.
The district ultimately decided that it made more financial sense to tear down Building B and replace it with an entirely new structure now being built, the suit states. However, the district is only demanding from insurers the money to reimburse the LAUSD had it proceeded instead with a less costly reconstruction project, the suit states.
Garfield High was made famous by the movie “Stand and Deliver,” which told the inspirational story of students taught by calculus teacher Jaime Escalante. The role of Escalante earned actor Edward James Olmos an Academy Award nomination.
The coroner’s office asked for the public’s help Tuesday identifying a man who fell on a sidewalk in Monterey Park and died at County-USC Medical Center.
At 10 a.m. Nov. 22, the man identified only as John Doe 255, tripped at Vagabond Drive and Abajo Drive and was taken to County-USC Medical Center, where he died on Dec. 4, according to Craig Harvey of the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
The man was white or Hispanic and more than 50 years old, Harvey said.
He was 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighed 164 pounds. He was balding with gray hair and brown eyes and was missing some of his upper teeth. He had a beard and mustache. No wallet or identifying papers were found.
He was wearing green uniform-type pants, a red and black jacket and black shoes, and had horizontal scars on his chest and wore no jewelry, Harvey said.
Anyone with information was asked to call Investigator Daniel Machian at (323) 343-0754 or (323) 343-0714.
An investigation continued this week into the officer-involved shooting of a man who allegedly simulated having a handgun when police arrived at a Monterey Park home on a domestic violence call.
The suspect, identified as 30-year-old Monterey Park resident Ahmad Ibrahim, was hospitalized with a non-life-threatening wound after the shooting, which occurred around 8:15 p.m. Jan. 31 in the 1000 block of Brightwood Street, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Kim Manatt. He was later booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, she said.
Thursday, February 7
8pm—Direct from London, ‘Backbeat’ The Birth of The Beatles at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre in downtown LA. Before Sgt. Pepper. Before Abbey Road. Even before Ringo, there were five Beatles, rocking Liverpool. Runs through March 1. For tickets & information, go to www.centertheatregroup.org.
Friday, February 8
4-8pm—Monterey Park Farmers’ Market in the Bruggemeyer Library Parking lot. This month show off cooking skills by submitting recipes using local seasonal fruits and vegetables at the “Neighborhood Recipe Swap.” One resident chosen each week to demo recipe at 5:30p.m. Email recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org. The library is located at 318 S. Ramona Ave.
8pm—Vampire Film Festival at Casa 0101 in Boyle Heights will feature vampire horror films and a ghost tour of the notorious Linda Vista Hospital; runs through Feb. 10. Casa 0101 is located at 2102 E 1st St., LA 90033. For prices & more information, go to www.vampirefilmfestival.com.
Saturday, February 9
9am-1pm—Cash for College Workshop at Theodore Roosevelt High School. Get free one-on-one assistance completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA forms. Rosevelt is located at 456 S Mathews St., LA
9am-3pm—Free Countywide Household Hazardous and E-Waste Roundup in Cudahy at Lugo Park. Los Angeles County residents can safely discard of household hazardous waste such as antifreeze, unused pharmaceuticals, car batteries, used motor oil, paint, pesticides, home-generated sharps waste such as hypodermic needles, pen needles, syringes, lancets, and intravenous needles, universal waste including household batteries, fluorescent light bulbs, and electronic waste (e-waste) such as TVs and monitors, computers, VCRs, stereos, and cell phones. Lugo Park is located at 7810 Otis Street, Cudahy. For more information, call County of LA Dept. of Public Works at 1(888) CLEAN LA or go to www.888CleanLA.com, contact LA County Sanitation Districts at 1 (800) 238-0172 or www.lacsd.org.
8-11:30pm—Free Pre-Grammy Party/Performance by Grammy nominated Quetzal and Los Cojolites at the Breed Street Shul in Boyle Heights. Enjoy a night of Fandango Jarocho music and art at the Shul: 247 N. Breed St. LA 90033.For more information, go to www.theelementmarketing.com/en/
1-10pm—Rock Rose Gallery 2nd Saturday Truck Showcase in Highland Park, featuring local emerging & established artists: Fernando Barragan, Jorge Bernal Ricardo Rosas & works from Self Help Graphics & Arts. Rock Rose is located at 4108 N. Figueroa St., LA 90065.
Monday, February 11
6-9pm—Montebello’s Planning & Community Development Dept. meeting to kick-off the preparation of a Bicycle Lane Feasibility Study. Location: City Hall, Council chambers, 1600 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello. For more information, call (323) 887-1477.
6-8pm—Commerce City Council Candidates Forum presented by the Commerce Industrial Council and League of Woman Voters. Six candidates running for 3 seats in the March 5 General Municipal Election will participate: Incumbents Lilia R. Leon, Tina Baca Del Rio, and Ivan Altamirano and challengers Joanna Flores, Jaime Valencia & Art Gonzalez. Location: Commerce City Council Chambers, located at 2535 Commerce Way Commerce, CA 90040. For more information call (323) 722-4805.
7:30pm—LA Mayoral Candidate at Ramona Hall in Highland Park. Candidates confirmed: Eric Garcetti, Kevin James, Jan Perry & Emanuel A. Pleitez. Wendy Greuel invited. Patt Morrison is a Journalist, author, and radio-television personality will moderate. Free & open to the public. Ramona Hall is located at 4580 Figueroa St., LA 90065.
Tuesday, February 12th
12 Noon—Boyle Heights Chamber of Commerce Meeting at the Hollenbeck Police Station (Community Room) 2111 E. First St., LA 90033.
Wed. February 13
8:30am—Public Hearing First Year of the 2010 Bicycle Plan. Location: Los Angeles River Center & Gardens – California Bldg. 570 W. Avenue 26, LA 90065.
Noon-1:30pm—Commerce Library Hosts Q & A with Social Security Rep on switch to electronic payments. If you are getting Social Security, VA or other federal benefits by paper check, you are required to switch to electronic payments by March 1, 2013. Meet with a bilingual Social Security Representative to answer all your questions. Meeting will be held at the Senior Citizens Center: 2555 Commerce Way, Commerce 90040. For more information, call (323) 722-6660.
“Human Trinity: Spirituality, Exercise and Wellness” is the topic for the East Los Angles-Montebello Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) meeting on Feb. 27 at the DoubleTree Hotel Restaurant, 888 Montebello Blvd., Rosemead (Networking starts at 6:30pm/Dinner 7pm). The program and dinner is open to all interested people. Call or e-mail Linda Wilson (626) 307-5650 or email@example.com to make a reservation or for questions.