A mother and son were each fined $1,000 Monday for failing to obey a court order to clean up two homes in Sunland that City Atty. James K. Hahn called "flophouses" for drug users.
But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Philip M. Saeta told Virginia J. Stevens and her son, Robert Stevens, that he would reduce their fines to $500 each if the homes are properly cleaned and vacated by May 15.
Virginia Stevens, who lives in Tujunga but owns the property where her son resides, told the judge the work would be completed in time. She recently sold the property and escrow is scheduled to close June 1.
The homes, on a single lot in the 10500 block of Jardine Avenue, were placed under the restrictive court order in September after Hahn filed a lawsuit charging the pair with violating a variety of health and safety regulations. The suit focused on mounds of garbage that filled the front and back yards, but the aim of the complaint was to stop drug sales in and around the property, said Deputy City Atty. Pamela A. Albers.
Number of Residents Limited
The court also limited the number of people who could live on the property, a restriction prompted by complaints from neighbors who charged that transients stayed at the homes to buy, sell and use drugs. Virginia Stevens, who says she is in her 70s, has denied that the homes were a haven for drug sales.
Robert Stevens, 41, said he and his friends have collected refuse on the property for recycling.
Albers said the Stevenses periodically cleaned up the garbage but invariably let the property fall into disrepair. After county health inspectors found rats on the property in February, the Stevenses were found in contempt of court April 12 for violating the judge's cleanup order.
On Sept. 21, five days after the court order was granted, Robert Stevens was among six people arrested at the property on suspicion of drug violations. He is scheduled to appear in Van Nuys Municipal Court on a charge of cocaine possession on May 10.