Longtime city critic Albert Wantuch was sentenced to pay $4,000 in fines and penalty assesments last week in Huntington Park Municipal Court after a jury found him guilty of eight misdemeanor counts of maintaining substandard property. Wantuch was also sentenced to three years' summary probation and was given 60 days to fix up his Bell Gardens property and remove two abandoned vehicles, said prosecutor Cary Reisman.
"He contends that his property was not worse than anyone else's and that he maintained it up to his standards," Reisman said. "But his property has been a problem for a long time."
Over the years, the city has filed several complaints about Wantuch's property, Reisman said, but this is the first time he has been sentenced.
Wantuch, who lives at 7720 Ramish Ave., said he has filed an appeal.
"This case was not about substandard property," Wantuch said. "This case is about having two inoperable vehicles in front of my property, nothing more. "
Robert Smithurst, a Bell Gardens property rehabilitation inspector, said Wantuch's property has been littered with abandoned furniture, vehicles and machinery.