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City Files Suit Against Major Santa Monica Landlord

 

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Santa Monica Affordable Rental Housing Apartments
By Jorge Casuso

January 9, 2019 -- The City has filed a lawsuit against affiliates of one of Santa Monica's largest landlords charging them with tenant harassment, violating local zoning laws and maintaining a public nuisance.

The defendants include Adam Shekhter, whose father Neil Shekhter recently lost control of nine local apartment buildings after a legal dispute with the hedge fund AEW Capital.

The defendants in the City's criminal complaint also include Saul Reuben Robin; Edward Jose Valentin; My Suite, LLC; 1238 10th Street LLC and 1433 Euclid LLC.

The complaint was filed after the Code Enforcement Division of the City’s Planning & Community Development Department received numerous complaints from the public, according to the City Attorney's office.

"The investigation revealed that the defendants knowingly disobeyed repeated instructions from Code Enforcement (and) failed to fully comply with the City’s tenant relocation order," City officials said Thursday.

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The defendants also "used unlawful tactics -- such as illegal buyout and eviction notices -- in an attempt to unlawfully terminate the lawful tenancies of one or more tenants," they said.

In addition, investigators found the defendants had operated "group residential housing rental operations" without the required permits, officials said.

"City law requires a use permit before shared living quarters that constitute a group residential use can be offered for rent in a multi-unit residential district," the City Attorney's office said.

The case was referred to the City Attorney’s Office, which filed criminal charges against the defendants last month.

Eric Rose, a spokesman for the defendants, refuted the City's charges.

“The allegations are unfounded, and we are prepared to vigorously defend against the meritless legal action," Rose said in a statement issued Thursday.

"Let me emphasize that we are confident that if this case is in fact litigated, and all the facts are established, all parties will be fully vindicated.”

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tamara Hall ordered the defendants to appear in court on February 13, 2019, to answer the charges, City officials said.


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