It is that time again, Community Connection time! This edition will highlight the Los Angeles Right to Housing Collective’ response to the May 21, 2010 melee in City Council. We will take you to the Mayor’s Mansion and LA Council President Eric Garcetti’s home where residents let him know “that we shall not be moved!” We will also bring you news from Northern Cali where executives of Amerland Group, headed by Ruben Islas, have been arrested and charged with manslaughter in connection to faulty fire systems in one of their affordable housing for seniors projects [search back-issues of the CC and read more about Amerland's failures to adequately serve low-income families and individuals]. These are but a few of the stories that are just a mouse click away, join us as we connect communities locally and abroad.
Archive for affordable housing developers arrested for manslaughter
June 24, 2010
For Immediate release
Contact: Becky Dennison 213-840-4664
Pete White 213-434-1594
Los Angeles Affordable Housing Developers Arrested for Northern CA Manslaughter of Tenants
The arrests of Amerland Group founders Ruben Islas and Jules Arthur does not come as a surprise to tenants that still live in properties they control—especially in Los Angeles. For years Amerland has been the center of controversy in Downtown Los Angeles, where the group has been working to gain a stronghold on the area’s residential hotel stock.
Islas, Arthur and three other Amerland executives were arrested yesterday and charged with two counts of manslaughter, one count of elder abuse and two counts of elder abuse causing death in connection with a fire that resulted in three deaths in a Vallejo retirement home in 2008.
Amerland’s failure to maintain fire protection systems has been an ongoing problem for tenants in the Group’s Downtown Los Angeles buildings. In Spring 2008 Amerland was convicted of 36 counts of fire code violations in their two Los Angeles residential hotels, and tenants of these buildings say the problems persist.
Leonard Woods, a disabled, retired worker who has lived at the Alexandria for more than a decade, said fire alarm systems still sound without cause, and disabled, elderly residents are trapped on top floors.
“When the fire alarm goes off, the elevators stop, and if you can’t get down the steps, you’re stuck,” Woods said. “People in wheelchairs, they’re cooked.”
In May 2008 the Los Angeles City Attorney filed criminal charges against the company because of fire code violations at the Rosslyn and Alexandria residential hotels. The complaint alleged, in part, that Amerland failed to repair broken fire systems and clear blocked exits at the Alexandria Hotel. Also, it alleged that the fire protection system in the Rosslyn Hotel was in such disrepair that Amerland employees were supposed to have 24-hour fire watch patrols ordered by the Los Angeles Fire Department. Amerland was later convicted of the charges.
These criminal charges came in addition to civil claims addressing issues such as illegal evictions, harassment of vocal tenants, disability discrimination, and major habitability issues.
For more information go to cangress.wordpress.com
Witnesses are available upon request.