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Community News: Mid-City

WESTLAKE : Motel Owners Agree to Strict Guidelines

August 01, 1993|JAKE DOHERTY

In an effort to attack the prostitution problem in Westlake, the city attorney's office has obtained a permanent injunction setting strict conditions on the Alvarado Palms Motel.

The motel's owners, De Chang Peng and his wife, Su Cheng Peng, of Torrance, avoided a trial related to a pending abatement lawsuit brought by the city when they agreed to operate under the conditions set forth in the injunction, said Maria Perez Manning, the deputy city attorney who handled the case.

The conditions include a ban on renting rooms to prostitutes, a rule allowing only registered guests to enter the motel's rooms and requirements that motel managers maintain locks on all doors, keep a registry of guests and ask guests to show identification when they register.

Known prostitutes were using the motel at 931 S. Alvarado St., Manning said. "We had declarations from prostitutes saying that they use the motel and get (room) rates" of $12.50 an hour, he said. Detective Frank Lipus of the Police Department's administrative vice unit said that during the past two years police have made a "significant number of arrests along that corridor directly related to the motel."

Gerald Chaleff, an attorney representing the Pengs, said his clients intend to make a "concerted effort to ensure that the motel is run properly."

A 1991 preliminary injunction against the Pengs resulted in a decline in crime around the motel, Manning said. But after the problems resurfaced, the city asked for the permanent injunction, which was granted July 15.

Violation of the permanent injunction could result in a variety of sanctions, including fines, a jail sentence or closure of the motel.

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