Two landlords accused of allowing slum conditions in a downtown Glendale apartment building have agreed to clean up the complex within four months under an agreement reached with prosecutors last week.
Assistant City Atty. Ron Braden agreed to drop 16 of 17 misdemeanor charges filed in May against Richard Famiglietti of Reseda and Allen Lazarus of Los Angeles if they repair their 14-unit building at 130 N. Jackson St. by mid-October.
But even if the two-story, 63-year-old building is repaired, Braden said, he will require each of the landlords to plead guilty or no contest to a single criminal charge and face a $250 fine and three years' probation.
"I don't want these particular landlords simply to go back and do what they were doing without the risk of having their probation revoked and probably going to jail," he said. "It's a way of making them understand the seriousness of the situation and a kind of leverage for us."
The criminal charges--including failure to provide hot and cold running water and heat, repair broken windows, walls and plumbing and prevent rat and cockroach infestation--were filed after city officials, as a result of tenants' complaints, inspected the building. Each charge carries a potential $500 fine and six-month jail term.
Inspectors found gaping holes in ceilings and walls, torn and soiled carpet and broken faucets and windows in the apartments, Braden said. The landlords and tenants have blamed each other for the conditions.
Famiglietti and Lazarus last Thursday pleaded not guilty to the charges in Glendale Municipal Court. A pretrial hearing has been set for July 12.
Famiglietti, a real estate agent who owns six other apartment buildings in the San Fernando Valley, said repairs, which may cost up to $15,000, are under way at the building. City inspectors will periodically monitor the work, Braden said.
"It is a disgrace," Famiglietti said. "I didn't realize there was that kind of damage in the apartments, and I understand why the city cited us for it."
But Famiglietti said he was unsure whether he would plead to a single misdemeanor charge, as required by Braden. He maintained that some of the tenants are day laborers who have crowded fellow workers into their apartments and caused much of the damage. He blamed other problems on former managers.
Several day laborers living in a second-floor apartment have been evicted, and several more in another unit soon will be evicted, he said.
"There really are a lot of problems in that building, but it isn't because we didn't want to fix them," Famiglietti said. "There were six or eight guys living in one single apartment. We weren't going to repair it until the guys were out. Now we have the problem in hand."