Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Glint of Hope in Land-Sales Case

Buyers who lost savings might now be guided to home purchases

November 13, 1996

About 2,500 hard-working Latino families thought they had found the American dream. In 1978 they began to put their savings into a huge Antelope Valley real estate offering that promised affordable land for homes. By 1994, when the dream finally shattered amid allegations of misrepresentation, 1,500 families were still paying.

Prosecutors now charge that the land buyers were swindled: sold land zoned for commercial or industrial uses only; land without water or sewer or electrical hookups, land already owned by others; even a parcel in the middle of a freeway. The developer, Marshall Redman, faces a preliminary hearing today on seven counts of felony fraud.

It would have been bad enough if local officials and city, county and state watchdog agencies just had been unaware. But despite more than 100 inquiries and complaints to elected officials and six government agencies, nothing was done to bring a quick halt to the matter or implement a timely and reasonable means of recovering lost investments, according to Times reports.

Action by the Los Angeles City Council and the county Board of Supervisors has been belated. One of the loudest voices of outrage now, Supervisor Mike Antonovich, once created a task force that forced some of these unsophisticated buyers off the land they thought they owned.

Only now might a few of these buyers finally glimpse a silver lining. The federal government holds title to scores of foreclosed properties in and around nearby Palmdale and Lancaster and is willing to unload them at huge discounts. Some of the buyers could benefit. County officials are trying to mount an ambitious rescue plan involving grants and other aid. This is good, though it may be too little too late. Too bad there wasn't more light shed on every elected body and watchdog agency that so badly failed to exercise proper oversight on this one.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|