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Community News: East

BOYLE HEIGHTS : Landlord Fined for Slum Conditions

January 23, 1994|MARY ANNE PEREZ

A South-Central man who pleaded no contest to slumlord charges in Los Angeles Municipal Court was fined $3,559 and put on three years' probation.

Commissioner Barry Kohn ordered Heliodoro Gutierrez, 43, to earmark $1,000 of that fine as a charitable contribution to the Toberman Settlement House, L.A. Men's Place or Midnight Mission nonprofit organizations.

Gutierrez pleaded no contest Jan. 4 to the charges after city inspectors found exposed wiring, a blocked fire exit hallway, missing fire extinguishers, cracked paint and plaster, broken plumbing and cockroach infestation at his 30-unit apartment building at 248 N. Chicago St.

Kohn set Feb. 1 as the deadline to complete repairs at the building or face additional penalties.

Gutierrez could not be reached for comment, but at his initial court appearance, he said in an interview that the violations were found shortly after he bought the building. He said he was working to improve the building when he was charged with six fire, health, and building and safety codes.

The city's Slum Housing Task Force inspected the two-story building between March 30 and Sept. 9 last year and also found a loose handrail and window security bars without quick-release devices.

Deputy City Atty. Michael R. Wilkinson, who handled the case, said he asked Kohn to impose the donation to a charitable organization because it is less severe than imposing a sentence of community service, jail or house arrest.

"We do it for people who are making some very good efforts at making repairs," Wilkinson said. "The idea is it puts something back in to charities that provide help for people, frequently for the homeless or very, very poor people in the areas where these buildings are located."

Wilkinson added that Gutierrez has made progress on bringing the building up to code and is optimistic that he will make the Feb. 1 deadline.

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