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DOWNTOWN : Hotel for Homeless Is Unsafe, City Says

June 27, 1993|IRIS YOKOI

A nonprofit corporation formed to help house the homeless faces 27 criminal charges of slum conditions at its 67-room residence hotel.

Dondald Joseph Nall, 54, and his company, Peace House Inc., are accused of failing to obey the city's repeated orders to repair hazards at the Beverly Hotel, 1330 S. Olive St. Nall is scheduled to answer to the charges of fire, health, and building and safety code violations on July 22 in Municipal Court.

City Slum Housing Task Force investigators reportedly found broken fire escapes, fire doors and smoke detectors; exposed electrical wires and other dangerous wiring, and accumulations of trash throughout the four-story building in March and April.

But Nall, a Los Angeles resident, said the charges are unfair because he just took over ownership of the building in March. The previous owner, Martin Edwards, was convicted twice for criminal slum conditions at the Beverly and quit-claimed the hotel to Peace House in February, city prosecutors said.

Nall said the city has not given him enough time to repair them.

Nall said he and some residents of the hotel, which houses people who were previously homeless, have begun some of the repairs and recently applied for a loan to complete the work. But money is tight, and the situation was not helped when an individual hired to fix the roof "ran off with the money," Nall said.

"They are coming by and harassing us," Nall said of the city inspectors. "How in the heck do they expect us to fix something in three months that the previous owner didn't get done in 10 years?"

But Deputy City Atty. Michael Wilkinson said Nall was given ample notice and that he cannot use his nonprofit status as an excuse: "The tenants deserve the same kind of protection, no matter who owns the building."

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