Los Angeles Affordable Housing Developers Arrested for Northern CA Manslaughter of Tenants

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.


10 Responses to “Los Angeles Affordable Housing Developers Arrested for Northern CA Manslaughter of Tenants”

  1. Please remember I was evicted from HUD/Sec 8 Briarwood in Montclair and made homeless – to sleep in my car — for complaining about fire safety and crime on the property! All of their bogus — now dismissed — restraining orders, and false arrests harassments, etc. have left me pondering how we care for the elderly in our community. Certainly HUD needs to reacess if this group of slum-lords should be allowed to continue in the business of human services to the handicapped and elderly.

    ~Sharon Stephens

  2. Jose Reyes Says:

    Yes the Amerland group are responsible, as are all landlords to have proper fire standards in place, and if the deaths occured due to mantaince negligence, then throw them in jail.
    As I sit and write this the Alexandria (the Alexandria Hotel in LA, a Amerland property) fire alarms are going off again. We here will never be able to tell if there is a real fire or not due to the frequent times the alarm goes off.

    If you look at the history of the Amerland people you will see a list of violations that keep repeating. Habitat issues-bebbug infestation in units, Elder abuse where wheel chair persons can not open front doors both ways. Garbage in the halls, Fire alarm problems. Yet they took city money and them made more money as in the Alexandria where they rent to restaurants, bars, special events, filming, ballet co. Theatre co. Personal weddings. So that stream of income goes to who? certainly not in fixing the fire alarm system. We are all in danger who live under thier management.

    Jose Reyes

  3. What I wonder at, is, WHY didn’t L.A. bring manslaughter charges againt these slum lords? It took little Solano County to say, in effect, “You ain’t getting away with this here!”

    I am in court with these people again on August 5 still fighting them on these void orders.

    Also, I made complaints to HUD about the lack of fire safety at Briarwood Manor, Montclair CA, and HUD ignored my complaints and then let Amerland/Logan illegally evict me. I am still in my car!

  4. The Amerland executives, Islas and Arthur, ( http://www.amerland.bz ) have removed their photos and bios from their website. All that remains is the property they own page and their references page, which probably is not current as they probably have bailed. Or, maybe they don’t know about the manslaughter charges, HUD doesn’t seem to know. From the web and facebook you find these guys live in million dollar mansions in La Jolla, kids go to private schools, they support charity balls, travel by limousine to LA, gamble in Vegas, promote rock bands, theater, own bars and restaurants on the ground floor of their government funded affordable housing hotel, the Alexandria, where they were fined $1million dollars for non working fire alarms. Tax payers are funding their high life while they exploit the elderly, the poor, the disabled and the government.

  5. Sharon Stephens Says:

    If they have “bailed” there goes any lawsuit against them. HOWEVER, they have already appeared in Solano County on the criminal charges of Manalaughter — that is encouraging that they will not get away with this. As for HUD — there is something in the works to hold them accountable as they continue to give Amerland contracts even though there are many complaints against them for the abuses of the elderly, handicapped, etc. HUD needs to be held accountable.

  6. And these are the same folks that our City Council has approved multi-million dollar hand outs to? I saw this in the Community Connection and was amazed…

  7. afraid to say right now Says:

    Almost 2 years later and I am going through almost the exact same set of circumstances whee I am living.

    Can anyone offer guidance on how to report these issues. LAHD is absolutely terrible and in this case actually hiding and supporting the land lords in this scary ordeal.

    Like some of you above fear it is just a matter of time when someone actually is killed in a fire or other tragedy due to the same issues.

  8. douglas coupar Says:

    where does it stop,. what will it take., simply the name logan properties does not stop the violations. it makes one wonder has the la authorities been bought off.

  9. Gardening…

    […]Los Angeles Affordable Housing Developers Arrested for Northern CA Manslaughter of Tenants «[…]…

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