Lawsuit Targets Owner of Crime-Ridden L.A. Complex

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer says the Chesapeake Apartments, plagued by violent crime for decades, are a serious threat to public safety. He is suing to prompt safety improvements, and he says owner of the complex should be ordered to live there until the problems are resolved.

The Chesapeake Apartments, a 425-unit complex spread over more than 17 acres in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Baldwin Village, has been plagued by violent crime for decades, says the Los Angeles Times. The Black P-Stone gang is so deeply entrenched there, officials said, that its members have tattoos that reference the property. Now, prosecutors are targeting the property’s owners and managers to curb the crime. In a lawsuit announced Monday, City Attorney Mike Feuer alleged that their mismanagement has resulted in a “serious threat” to public safety and created an environment in which anyone who comes near the property is at risk of being a crime victim. Feuer thinks that the head of the complex, Swaranjit Nijjar, should be ordered to live on the property until the problems are resolved. The lawsuit says Nijjar is the CEO of the company that’s the sole general partner of Pama V Properties LP, which owns the property.

“Negligent, callous management has allowed the Chesapeake Apartments to become a hotbed of terror in this neighborhood,” Feuer said in a statement. “We’ll continue to hold property owners responsible for these harrowing conditions as we take back our communities.” Feuer’s lawsuit seeks an injunction banning gang activity on the property, as well as a string of property improvements, including secure fencing, a video monitoring system accessible by the LAPD, improved lighting, better screening of tenants and the presence of full-time armed, licensed security guards. A spokesman for the owner said the complex seeks to provide “clean, safe, affordable housing.” He added, “Somebody’s got to provide it. The city can’t. The city’s the worst slumlord.”