By Ryan Gierach, West Hollywood, California
Apartment buildings all over West Hollywood have troubled and troublesome managers, but few more so, WeHo News has discovered, than a building on Hayworth.
For years, the building manager in the video above, Mr. Robert Voakes, has apparently been acting as a law unto himself, unilaterally changing the terms of at least one tenant’s lease on the property he’s managed for over 25 years, allegedly adding “eviction clauses” to suit his mood and desire to evict or unload certain tenants.
Such addendums allegedly include making the city’s leash law even more exacting on the property than on the streets outside; not only must the dog be leashed, the leash must be held by, in Mr. Voakes’ un-West Hollywood vernacular, by the dog’s OWNER (not guardian).
Belying the necessity of the new rule, Mr. Voakes apparently targeted a “problem” tenant but in actuality cut off his own dog walking revenue, at least if he follows the new terms of the lease, for the dogs accompanying him would be held by a non-guardian, or in his terminology, a non-owner.
One lease change took straight after the tenant in question. In a publicly posted lease change announcement and broadside against dogs, Mr. Voakes (despite his role in encouraging the situation) decried the use of the commons – the pool area – as a “dog run,’ and prohibited all activities that could be considered extensions of one’s apartment (specifically, but not limited to, work activities), in the commons area.
Hard to believe? Here’s the notice.
Talking on the phone? Do it inside. Reading a magazine, a book? Take it indoors, son. Sitting down? You can do that inside, can’t you?
Mr. Voakes denied that he posted the notice (where all official notices go up), claiming that a tenant did it. Asked to identify the tenant so that conflict resolution could be undertaken, Mr. Voakes declined to cooperate.
In what the tenants under siege at the building called a “disturbing turn toward the criminal,” Mr. Voakes saw the Sheriff’s Department visit him on April 16 after he (allegedly) declared his intention to destroy and discard a tenant’s proposed gift to the Lasmans and fellow tenants of a cabana. The deputies explained to Mr. Voakes that doing so would be a criminal act.
Unfortunately, however, the tenant has been unable to buy insurance against any criminal actions by the Lasman Family representative because of his statements, and the fact that not relating them to the insurer before indemnification would be viewed as fraud in the eventuality of a claim.
In essence, because Bob Voakes, the man with the keys to every door on the premises, is on the property, this tenant (against whom Mr. Voakes has stated his criminal intent) cannot protect his valuables because he wants to remain honest.
Another addendum to the lease, a prohibition against using any grill on the property except that supplied by the management – and a $20 fee has been levied against each apartment in the complex for that use (again, not in the lease). The new term of the lease posted about that charge does not say if the money will be returned if the tenant does not use the grill.
The changes in the lease and their apparent use as weapons to evict, or to convince a reasonable person that they mean to get rid of them through extra-legal means is not the only methods being used by Mr. Voakes and his partners to rid unwelcome elements from their property – they use specious calls to Animal Control and other official county agencies to bring pressure, although that sometimes backfires on them.
According to Tenant2, one of the tenants working alongside Mr. Voakes threatened to call Animal Control to report that his dog was once spotted off leash (on a day at a time and a location that she would not pinpoint, according to the officer).
Doing so, the control officer spoke to the person about the dog, witnessed how the animal behaves (off-leash in his presence) and then took up a more urgent matter – the encouragement of feral cats and their defecating on the grounds.
As we have written several times in the past, feral cats and indoor cats encouraged to defecate outdoors contribute to a simmering public health problem that can harm infants for life and cause great damage to pregnant women and HIV positive people.
Toxoplasma Gondii, a parasite that gets spread primarily cat feces, endangers those with weakened immune systems and can potentially damage a toddler’s health – permanently. Mr. Voakes, his wife and the man who (allegedly) assaulted a tenant on the property all encourage feral cats (and racoons) to come around by leaving plates of food and ramp ways up to bird feeders for their dining delight.
According to the tenant in unit 3, his cat ate three of Mr. Voakes’ birds and he feels that cats ought to defecate outdoors because he then does not have to clean up afterward.
Still, when the Animal Control officer offered the man information on how toxoplasma gondii can be harmful and controlled, he screamed a series of vulgarities, charging the tenant in discussion with the officer of being a “troublemaker.” A few days later the man again charged the tenant in question, this time pushing him toward a flight of stairs and breaking some of the tenant’s teeth, which resulted in swelling, infection and a several day recuperation.
The tenant filed a formal complaint against the man on July 11, once the swelling provided the evidence (Mr. Voakes, who encouraged and apparently filmed the alleged assault, denied anyone had been touched) needed to book the assailant. (LASD file number 9155-03549-0975-444 – suspected battery).
In a story as broad and complex as this one, there are lots of holes to flesh out, so WeHo News has decided to publish the full claim against the Lasman Family, Mark Klein and Robert Voakes to offer a close-up into the machinations of a community gone around the bend with animosity, a small group of people who, as did those at PATH (People Assisting The Homeless) – the subject of an award-winning expose of the agency’s brutality and efforts to further their own agendas at the clients’ expense).
So, without more preparation, here is the filing in its entirety, names changed out to roles played rather than identities.
(UPDATE 3:30 pm – Mr. Klein disavowed accountability for or connection with Mr. Voakes’ actions described herein, providing a first-time direct line of communication that could by-pass Mr. Voakes. The note read, in part, “I am only her to receive your rent checks. I have asked for this email address… so that tenants can communicate directly with ownership on things that can not be resolved by Bob.“)
(Editor: The tenants expressed hope that the family’s intervention might cease what they call the harassment)
Walk a block in our shoes
The case for tenant harassment: A two-year history
Dear neighbor, I have spent weeks compiling this 13,000 word filing. It seems that, as Tenant1 and I pursue the questions raised by our experiences with the management, hostility and aggression from tenants who have already decided (without access to very many of the facts or to our views) to join On-Site Mgr. in the effort to rid 1245 of us grows.
On-Site Mgr. mentioned a “class action suit” a set of tenants would bring; a case of harassment, I would suppose. When he said that, I rolled my eyes and told Tenant1 I guessed they had more money than sense, but they would pay for our defense and pay through the nose in the countersuit.
There’s one trouble with that plan, though, should it be embarked upon.
This was filed with the city in late June and kept updated with the many incidents since. Images, PDF attachments and other files referred to are available online by private request.
April 16, 2015
To Peter Noonan, manager, West Hollywood Rent Stabilization and Housing
I am a tenant at 1245 Hayworth Ave., in number 7. Before I relate the incidents of the past few days, please allow me to formally give my thanks to Rent Collector’s long suffering patience with my husband and me for making it possible for us to regain a homer after 18 months homelessness.
Rent Collector’s allowing us the special financial arrangements because of my business’s cash flow is the reason we can continue to be contributing members of this city.
Relations with the onsite manager have been fine, too, at least as far as we knew.
We found we were sorely mistaken, and I drop-jaw in surprised, to be informed by On-Site Mgr. that he despises me. Not only that, but he is a medical marijuana bigot, who took pains to denigrate our use of it – calling us potheads repeatedly. Loser, punk, asshole and a few other choice words got tossed my way. He did not seem satisfied with that, however, so included EVERY tenant in the building in his characterization – “Nobody in the building likes you – they all think you’re a punk.”
He informed me that he would no longer put up with all my crap. If I were made aware of his reasons for such resentment, I would have done whatever possible to mitigate or moderate my actions. He refused to list the items about which he spoke, so I’m still unsure how I can adjust my lifestyle to fit his requirements.
To make certain I was aware of his malevolence, he threatened to destroy and discard my belongings. Why? He explained, saying, “Because nobody wants it.”
I am aware that business-minded landlords who wish to keep common areas clear of tenants’ possessions place the prohibition in the lease and inform tenants that management has carefully and safely secured the belongings so that the tenant can retrieve them.
Criminally-minded people think first to destroy, damage, discard or steal the belongings.
Having stated his intent, I called the Sheriff so they could help him see reality. After they informed him that even on-site property managers are not above the law and compelled him to make an apology to me, he has yet (48 hours later) to approach me, even though he knows I am at home guarding my apartment against his promised vandalism or theft.
This all wasn’t enough for On-Site Mgr.; he had to take another obligatory shot at me. The following morning a sign went up that proudly announced that there would be a collection taken up to buy a grill. I thought that was odd, having been told hours before that nobody wanted one, so made that point, that On-Site Mgr. threatened to destroy and toss the grill I had planned to buy and allow for common use (at no charge).
This morning a new set of rules went up. But this one is the most utterly absurd and nonsensical rule I have had the pleasure of seeing.
Tenants will now be banned from doing any activity in the common areas that they could do in their own apartments. No reading, no sitting. No talking on a phone. Better not eat a sandwich out there, boy, or you’ll be evicted so fast… Embarrassed It’s a little embarrassing to see come from a grownup’s mind, actually.
Incredibly, the rule also bans single person use of the pool – no more swimming alone, or anything at all alone, as the area is designated for communal use only.
Maybe he can legally create such a rule, but having reported out dozens of problems with the nastiest of landlords, this is a new one on me.
Of course, On-Site Mgr.’s ready response to disagreement? “If you don’t like it, move.” I’ve heard him say that to one other tenant and watched him say that as he abused a tenant while standing in front of my door.
Since this eruption of hatred and malevolence, another tenant, Eva! In #6, came to me to let me know how appalled she was that On-Site Mgr. would include her among those who have told On-Site Mgr. they hate me. Apparently, On-Site Mgr. neglected to get confirmation before declaring everyone’s feelings.
Eva! told me of the terrible abuse she suffered at On-Site Mgr.’s hands when she tried to get her plugged shower stall cleared. He told her the same thing at the time; “If you don’t like it, move.”
Three times is a charm; four times is a pattern of behavior that need some sort of remediation.
Now, I make Rent Collector aware of this because I’m reasonably certain he’ll want to step in before I take this first person account public. On-Site Mgr. seems to lack the courage to face me, choosing to instead issue these imperious commands.
I have attached the latest rule to go up.
Actual Tenant Harassment Criminal complaint
Tenants: Tenant One and Tenant Two
Owner/financial manager/onsite manager: Building Owners, Rent Collector, On-Site Manager
Tenant1 and Tenant2 reside here currently and did during the time of the actions that we reasonably believe, and using the onsite manager’s own words, are meant to “evict” us.
Witnesses include: Four Los Angeles Sheriff Deputies (two separate calls. See chronological narrative for more), Mrs. On-Site Manager, Ms. Eleven (unit #1), Victoria Ms. One (?) (Unit #11), Tenant One, Tenant Two
Q: Have any of your housing services been reduced or eliminated?
Yes… From the beginning of our tenancy, services and conditions of the lease have changed without notice and without apparent valid reason.
Rules in the lease are violated by the onsite manager, ignored if violated by his friends and apparently used as a weapon, along with verbal abuse and calumnious attacks, to rid the building of unwelcome tenants.
In the first few days of our residency, early June, 2013, our dog, WatchDog, not accustomed to living on a first floor with ready access to varmints, spotted a white cat while the door stood ajar, escaped and did what dogs do, gave chase. While he has caught three squirrels (and, while more surprised by it than the victims, leaving them physically unharmed but much wiser), he has never caught a cat (or stood up to one standing its ground, preferring the whimpering tail between the legs retreat).
He enjoyed the normal result that day – an exhilarating chase followed by a proud trot back home having cleared the grounds of pesky critters. We were mortified, and after corralling and putting our dog into a timeout as punishment, made our apologies, explanations and promises to avoid a repeat.
The next day (roughly June 18) eight signs with a short pronouncement appeared at every entrance and egress around the building.
“All aggressive dogs must be kept on a leash unless in their apartments.”
The harsh language and use of public opprobrium seemed malicious, as publicly labeling anyone’s dog as “aggressive,” to reasonable people, has no place in a corrective measure, nor does publicly chastising tenants make them feel welcome – quite the converse; we wondered if it would be used to build a case against us for eviction. However, glad to be in a home at all after 15 months of homelessness, we bore the shame in silence.
Months passed and, gradually, On-Site Mgr. began offering the dog treats and even allowed the formerly “aggressive” WatchDog free rein (totally off-leash) inside the fenced off pool area at the building’s center.
On-Site Mgr. said he enjoyed WatchDog’s presence as he worked in the courtyard. WatchDog knows his boundaries well, and never goes past his understood limits without express permission. (He sits before crossing every curbside to await permission – even when a squirrel taunts from the other side.)
As our apartment looks out over the area, WatchDog received more than adequate direct supervision for his primary activities, gazing longingly at squirrels in trees and laying in the sun or shade.
On April 2 On-Site Mgr. revoked those privileges (again, without speaking first to me as the only tenant whose dog had such use of the property), putting eight signs up around the building saying that all dogs must not only be on leash, but in a swipe that went beyond the leash law on the city streets, that leash must be held by the dog’s owner – and no one else – if the animal is on the property.
These signs’ posting began acceleration of a pattern of harassment that began on our arrival making Tenant1 and me reasonably feel unwelcome and causing us to consider seeking new digs.
Q: Has there been a reduction in maintenance or failure to perform and complete necessary repairs or maintenance?
Yes… The most egregious maintenance problem is the plumbing, which leaks at every washer on every faucet, gets a tightening and then a shrug when the constant drip begins anew in a few days.
No sincere effort has been made to fix or replace the fixtures dripping water all-day, every-day despite our repeated requests. We have resorted to wrapping rags around fixtures to funnel the water down to the drain to avoid sound of the drip-drip-drip.
The rain gutter on the entire building beyond repair and in need of replacement. Besides being full of leaves in some places (allowing the wash off to fall to the ground as though no gutters existed) and holed in others.
The section of gutter above our neighbor’s and our entryway has a hole in it that allows a steady runnel of water to splash down to the entryway steps in a dime-to-quarter-sized stream. The violent splash enters my apartment through the screen door; the sound makes listening to conversation difficult.
The condition has worsened since we moved in, and although we have requested repair, it gets only worse. A video of the problem is attached to this claim in a digital addendum along with the photos.
The grounds get inordinate care – if On-Site Mgr. cares to. Any open dirt anywhere on the premises is nurtured into lush beauty – except the patch of dirt in front of our apartment. Long dominated by four sickly, rotting-from-daily-overwatering fichus trees which began to fall over from the rot, the patch is now background for four fichus trees cut short. On-Site Mgr. approached Tenant2 to inquire how he wished the trees dealt with, tearing them out or trimming them. Tenant2 chose to pull them out, making note of the damage the roots are already doing to the flagstone (which will come up later). Apparently the gardener had more votes than Tenant2, because they got cropped down low without any foliage underneath or around to act as ground cover – heck, not even ground cover was put down, not wood chips or gravel or anything. Just dirt. (See attached video – uneven landscaping)
Q: Are there outstanding rent decrease orders against your landlord?
None of which we know.
Q: Has the landlord or representative failed to exercise due diligence…?
Q: Has the landlord or their representative engaged in abusive conduct toward you through the use of words which are offensive and inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction?
Yes… In early 2014, On-Site Mgr. repaired the broken flagstones that lead to the garage, laundry facility, directly to two units (including ours) and indirectly by stairway to four upper units. The flagstones were removed and the ground covered with cement.
Upon returning home the evening the work was done, Tenant2 admired the work and scuffed at the cement with his sole. He immediately set to work to wash it, scrub it and “heal” the Rent Collectors on the surface.
On-Site Mgr. approached, however, and in an offensive barrage, yelled at Tenant2, calling him some names and claiming that Tenant2 had destroyed all the work, and denied him the chance to apologize for, let alone make amends for his mistake.
The next day, On-Site Mgr. did approach Tenant2 to apologize, saying he meant none of what he said. This will prove to be the pattern of behavior that causes us to believe that his intent is malicious – he’ll act offensively, target us with arbitrary changes to our lease, make us the object of the building’s gossip and encouraged other tenants’ meddling and clothesline calumny and even resort to name-calling, in a clear (even openly pronounced) effort to “evict” or otherwise rid the building of us as tenants.
…words which are offensive and inherently likely to provoke an immediate violent reaction? (cont.)
It took roughly ten months, until April of this year (as mentioned above), for the next round of explicit verbal abuse and open harassment to occur, get confirmed and repeat itself – twice more.
In early April that note requiring dogs on the property to be leashed and held by their owners (West Hollywood, BTW, requires, and has for decades now, the use of animal companion, animal guardian, or simply companion or guardian, rather than “pet” and “owner” when referring to our furry four-legged friends) remained posted, except for an hour, at every possible public location for 11 days. (Tenant2 admits to taking the signs down a soon as he read them as a sign of his acknowledgement and displeasure. They returned and remained for 11 days after that.)
On Tuesday morning, April 13, as Tenant2 and WatchDog passed On-Site Mgr. at the front entrance while abreast of one of the signs, Tenant2 remarked, “Do you think the scofflaw has gotten the message yet?” Admittedly sardonic, Tenant2’s question was still intended to find out how much longer the notice, directed squarely at Tenant1 and him and our dog, must remain up.
The explosion… and character assaults…
On-Site Mgr. blew up at that, entered into a tirade that included unsupportable statements such as, “The signs have to stay up for 30 days. At the end of 30 days I’ll take them down.” (They came down later that day.)
“You and Tenant1 are punks, loser potheads. You’re always too high to know what’s really going on around you. (He repeated the pothead allegation several times).
“Nobody in this building likes you; they all say you’re a jerk.
“You’re an asshole; I never liked you and don’t want you here.
“In fact, nobody at city hall likes you, either.
“I’m not going to put up with anymore crap from you.”
Tenant2 says he responded with incredulity, especially when said he told On-Site Mgr. that Rent Collector might take issue with On-Site Mgr.’ stated intention to evict us. According to Tenant2, On-Site Mgr. responded by saying, “I don’t give a shit what Rent Collector says. I’m the onsite property manager and what I say goes.”
As Tenant2 watched – he says in amazement at the meltdown and stung by the epithets and denunciations – On-Site Mgr. then threatened to “tear [gifts we had been planning for the pool] all down and throw it away because nobody here wants it.”
He referred to a plan Tenant2 had hatched to improve the property in appreciation for the Building Owners’ patience and kindnesses in accepting our rent in two- and three-month chunks that match Tenant2’s business’s cash flow. He had gotten an estimate for a fully-enclosed heated, lit and furnished eight-by-ten cabana in preparation for proposing the gift. He also planned to buy a grill to replace the grill burnt up last year and not replaced, a wood burning portable fire pit and upholstered patio furniture.
What Tenant2 had not done is yet talk to On-Site Mgr. at all about things – apparently On-Site Mgr. heard it from a third person who characterized the (still speculative) proposal, as we will show later, as our attempt to colonize and privatize the pool area.
On-Site Mgr. then said something that Tenant2 says he has heard come from On-Site Mgr.’ mouth several times in the two years we have lived here, “If you don’t like it, move!” (See attachment notes on April berating)
Response to the attack, the name-calling and threat…
Soon after On-Site Mgr. threatened to destroy the gifts, Tenant2 contacted the Sheriff to let them know of his threat in the hope that they could help him see his role as onsite property manager through a professional’s eyes, and not from a criminal viewpoint.
The Deputies reported that On-Site Mgr. saw the light and promised he would apologize.
And On-Site Mgr.’ response?
He did not. Nor did he apologize the next day or following.
Direct slap in the face…
Instead, the next day, April 14, he posted a sign (attached as Grill announcement and Tenant2s response) that read in part: “We will be installing a new barbeque grill at no cost to you in the pool area soon…”
Tenant2 added to the signs with a marker, “Oddly, just yesterday On-Site Mgr. promised to destroy or toss a grill I was planning to buy because ‘nobody wants it’” (see attached announcement and Tenant2s response).
Which brought down a ton of bricks…
Within hours, another official-appearing note appeared posted alongside the other note mischaracterizing the gifts as a private grab for space and laying once again into our dog (an already decided issue; remember that On-Site Mgr. blew up because Tenant2 asked how long the sign must stay up, he made no disagreement with the sudden change or the rule itself), saying “The pool area is a COMMUNAL AREA. It should not be treated as a private extension of one person’s apartment. It’s not a place to run a business or used (sic) as a dog pen.”
Ultimately it matters little whether On-Site Mgr. (or his team – more on that later) used their utter ignorance of the meaning of the word “gift” to paint the gesture negatively or came out all guns a blazing certain that this was the first step in our overall plans for world-domination; this third note clearly changes terms of the lease.
Without notice. And clumsily.
Chris Uszler, a long time city staffer and rent stabilization wizard, understood the potential ramifications of the new terms of the lease when he said, “That would mean you couldn’t read at the pool?”
Tenant2 says most people who see the phrase “treated as an extension of one person’s apartment” see immediately that it bans ALL activity except jumping into and swimming around the pool itself.
The new lease terms prohibit talking on cell phones; sitting down; walking; eating; chatting with friends; and for Tenant2, whose job as writer and thinker requires reading virtually everything for which he can find time, if reading from a device is allowed for private recreation, the only answer could be posting a content monitor to approve his readings?
Rent Collector’s response to news of Tenant2’s intention of a gift, a verbal one made in his PDC office a day or two after the final note went up, was, “This is going to sound harsh, but I don’t care.”
That evening Tenant2 wrote a letter he placed on every tenants’ door detailing the incidents and, in light of them all having confided with On-Site Mgr. about their intense dislike for him, asking for a dialogue to work out a way to apologize and to make amends for his actions (which both Tenant1 and he had a hard time identifying).
The incident, or set of them, had a terrible effect on Tenant2’s health; he suffers from Bi-Polar disorder and hearing the taunts, names, and declarations of communal hatred put him in bed for days on end. In all, he was unable to function (except for a few necessary excursions) for a total of eight weeks.
In the weeks following, the neighbors surrounding us approached Tenant2 to tell him they had never expressed their dislike for him, and in fact, they held him in high regard.
Tenant2 complained about On-Site Mgr.’ pitting neighbor against neighbor to Rent Collector, the manager of the city’s Rent Stabilization Department, a city council member and the Captain of the local Sheriff station.
Not long after this, on April 19 and 20, gifts Tenant2 had ordered (and sent anonymously) for the tenants’ poolside fun arrived See attached image. After trying to refuse the gifts by laying them at our door, On-Site Mgr. then placed two of the unopened boxes on a table poolside with a note proclaiming the gifts provenance.
Because we wished to remain anonymous givers, Tenant2 took the note away from the packages, which disappeared within hours and have not been seen since. Nor has the third gift, received the day following. In effect, On-Site Mgr. confiscated the gifts and stored (or discarded?) them, preventing the tenants from enjoying their use.
And insulting us with the same swipe.
Roughly four weeks into the affair, in the second week of May, On-Site Mgr. and Tenant1 arranged a meeting between the three of us. At that meeting, On-Site Mgr. apologized, excusing his behavior with, “Sometimes people say things they don’t mean when they’re mad.”
Tenant2 said after the meeting that the statement disagreed with all his observations; it is at times of high emotion that truths we hold back when in control get spoken. This turned out to be true with On-Site Mgr.
On-Site Mgr. also denied in that meeting posting the note declaiming our property grab and laying down changes to the lease. He claimed that a tenant posted it. On-Site Mgr. says he told the person not to post anymore notes. He refused to urge the person forward to learn about their error and apologize, as well as declining to reveal the tenant’s identity.
He refused to be held to account for his claims about the tenants’ hatred of Tenant2, declining to gather proof that he discussed his apparent “stretch” with each tenant, simply promising he would do so to apologize to them for misrepresenting their view.
Inquiring with tenants about the conversation he had with them have gotten only quizzical looks in return. None we have asked about it have heard from On-Site Mgr.
The Grill (or not?)
A couple weeks passed by; Tenant2 tried to relax by taking a trip to San Francisco. During that trip, On-Site Mgr. approached Tenant1 to discuss the portable grill we bought after we determined to never use the grill “nobody here wants” but got anyway.
Tenant1 says, “In the third day of your trip (June 7) as I was about to leave, the good On-Site Mgr. approached me and said that he wanted to talk with me and he said that we were not able to use the grill on the premises. I said does that mean that we had to move our grill? On-Site Mgr. said, “No,” we didn’t have to move it.
We checked the lease again to see if it addressed the use of grills. It does not. It does, however, prohibit their storage outside the apartment, for example, the spot on which On-Site Mgr. gave Tenant1 permission to store it along with the admonition to not use it on the property.
A complete inversion of the terms of the lease based on, what? On-Site Mgr.’ whim? Or was there another plan?
Tenant1 did not inform Tenant2 of the conversation (the grill, having sat there since receiving it several weeks before, would stay put) until he returned home. Tenant2 saw it as yet another poke from him and seriously considered moving forward with drawing up this complaint, but we pulled back.
Why? We had a protest planned, one which would involve taking the grill across the street to the city-owned public property and cooking our meal in a grand procession, inviting all the residents to come across to get weenies, brats and burgers and to return with to their apartments or the pool area.
We still might do that on the Fourth, but we decided not pursue a harassment claim at the time. Still, the back and forth, the threats and the absurd changes to the lease, the open hostility and the oft-heard declaration that “if you don’t like it, move!” cast a pall over our family’s life while on the property; Tenant2 especially felt an oppressiveness as he came and went, not knowing which of the tenants that despised him would approach or be judgmentally watching his every move.
Came a day when Tenant2, walking WatchDog, came upon Mr. Really Cool Really Cools complaining about Noisephobic to On-Site Mgr.
Noisephobic does not like the noise generated by the tenants downstairs (he’s complained about our noise since we first arrived, and we live in another wing of the building separated by a staircase), especially baby-related daytime noise. (Attached is a complaint Tenant2 filed after the last, serious and dangerous, direct assault on the Really Cools family, in which he pushed past a staircase-walking Mrs. Really Cool as she carried their year-old son, calling her some of the foulest names imaginable.)
This day, Noisephobic was making his displeasure known by slamming doors and jumping up and down on the floor. That, said Mr. Really Cool, caused his son Master Really Cool (now 17 months) great distress; he was crying and wailing and saying “boom boom” while he struck out at the air in confusion and anger.
Mr. Really Cools stood heatedly talking to On-Site Mgr. about the situation across the street as a resident of Hayworth House looked on as WatchDog and Tenant2 approached to hear the goings on. Mr. Really Cool and he returned to the apartment, whence Tenant2 delivered the dog and returned to emphasize to On-Site Mgr. the importance of proactivity in moderating tenant disputes. At the same time, he asked On-Site Mgr. about the progress of his promised talks with the tenants and how the tenant guilty of anonymously posting official notices would be presenting themselves to be held accountable for their actions.
On-Site Mgr. responded by asking, “What can I do? I told them they need to go to mediation.” Tenant2 says he asked, is that what you told the person who wrote that note? Go into mediation? You’re protecting him so I can’t take him there.”
To which On-Site Mgr. responded by calling Tenant2 a pothead, saying, “There you go again, so high you can’t even think straight. How much did you smoke this morning, you pothead? How high are you?”
Tenant2 says he drew a breath to calm himself, declared truthfully that he had not yet that day smoked, and when On-Site Mgr. said, “Your lying, I can smell it all over you, you pothead,” he took a step forward and breathed into his face, saying, “Now tell me you smell pot over all the coffee and cereal.”
At which point On-Site Mgr. declared he was being harassed, and his friend agreed, yelling, “I’m going to call the sheriff; what you’re doing is illegal.”
On-Site Mgr. said, “That’s right, and I’m going to have you evicted for harassing the landlord.”
Tenant2 said he stammered as he tried to figure out a way to explain to them that by baiting him, by using ad hominem attacks in place of reason, by intentionally making him angry enough to raise his voice, they were not the victims but the victimizers.
Still, the call to the Sheriff’s station got made by our helpful neighbor from across the street.
Tenant2 pointed out to On-Site Mgr. that his immediate neighbors and his wife stood at the apartment building’s entrance in a line, yelling at him without knowing what had transpired. As he walked across the street to make his way home, the trio (Ms. One, Ms. Eleven and Mrs. On-Site Mgr.) berated Tenant2, peppering him with questions meant to diminish his positions, statements meant to question his faculties and comments that derided him, not to mention outright condemnations.
Ms. Eleven repeatedly questioned Mr. Really Cools’ judgment and Tenant2’s veracity, implying that, because, “babies cry all the time for no reason at all,” Mr. Really Cools’ and Tenant2’s assertion of Noisephobic’s misbehavior was incredible.
Ms. One, after declaring that he was, “always causing trouble,” such as the night before when Tenant2 was locked out of the house, and in trying to find keys to gain entry set off the car’s alarm which went off, according to Ms. One, “for over two-and-a-half hours.”
When Tenant2 scoffed at that assertion, she admitted “exaggerating” and then tried to insult Tenant2 by proclaiming, “I have more [academic] degrees than you could ever dream of getting.”
That contest apparently settled,* and with On-Site Mgr. approaching. Tenant2 had made it past the gaggle of hecklers supporting On-Site Mgr., past the gate and was looking back toward the street over it when Mrs. On-Site Mgr. chimed in.
Tenant2 recalled that her face changed dramatically; if you’re at all familiar with the latest Hollywood CGI morphing technology that turns people into hideous monsters in a second, you will understand it. She went from angry to malicious, even evil, he says, as she said, “Nobody here likes you; we all hate you and you should leave.”
Her husband called from down the stairs, “Don’t sink to his level, don’t act like he does.”
Tenant2 says he looked at them all, one by one, amazed at their interference in his business with the onsite manager of the building and realizing that not only On-Site Mgr. sought to evict me, but he had the active cooperation of tenants.
He also realized that nothing On-Site Mgr. ever said to him could be trusted. The long apology, the search for guidance on how to make amends, the promise not to destroy our possessions – not a word of it was true.
Sheriff Deputies did show up at our door, but didn’t seem keen on arresting Tenant2 for harassing a landlord, despite his eagerness to go. The pair said they’d make a note of the call and that they spoke to us all for this complaint.
On-Site Mgr. approached Tenant1 the next morning and said, “I’m sorry…” but Tenant1 cut in saying, “I can’t believe anything you say because we’ve been through this already.”
He responded, said Tenant1, by admitting he handled the situation badly. Tenant1 laid fault at Tenant2’s feet as well, but then asked about his trio of supporters heckling Tenant2 after he called him names.
According to Tenant1, On-Site Mgr. said, “I didn’t see it happen.” Tenant1 suggested that he ask his wife, because she was one of the three there.
As mentioned earlier, he told his wife not to behave like Tenant2, giving lie to his denial.
So then, don’t you know what happened on the following day, but another set of “rules” governing the pool and barbeque area went up, bringing the rules into line with the lease and adding to the lease a flat, across the board $20 fee levied on each apartment (and not interchangeable) for the privilege of keeping the grill on the property (apparently whether or not one uses it).
Tenant1 said, “I thought that was the end of it until that note went on the wall.” Tenant2 immediately complied with the order, taking the covered, still-unused grill from under its cover on the balcony and placing it two feet away, on the other side of the sliding window screen. Although the new lease agreement calls for storing grills specifically inside but not bicycles, Tenant2 still stores his bike on the patio, along with a lounge chair.
Tenant1 approached On-Site Mgr. about the note and change of lease, only to be told, “This isn’t about you.” He did not clarify, but as we are the only tenant storing a grill on the premises, we can only conclude that the new rule targeted Tenant2.
Tenant1 demanded from On-Site Mgr. a complete and accurate lease agreement and a complete list of all the building’s rules on June 18; he gave On-Site Mgr. 72 hours (until Sunday night, June 21) to produce the list. As of this writing on June 25, no list of rules or updated lease has made itself evident.
Finally, in our last complaint against On-Site Mgr., Tenant2 tried to purchase insurance for the household (something strongly recommended in the lease and by law enforcement.) Unfortunately, as he values his integrity above all, he informed the agent of On-Site Mgr.’ threats and actions.
The insurance agent responded that, given the fact that On-Site Mgr. has keys to our home and an openly expresses malice and is making a declared assault on our residency, that we were not indemnifiable.
We cannot buy insurance to protect our belongings.
Really Cools family…
The family we have come to regard as close friends, the Really Cools, told us today that they are moving to the Mid-Wilshire District because they cannot get satisfaction in their fight for relief from Noisephobic’s predations.
It saddens us.
Regarding: “New Rules” and enforcement of lease agreement
As the image containing the new pool rules, written by On-Site Mgr. (who apparently has managed the property for over 25 years but has lived on it at least a decade longer) “Most of these rules have been around for 40 years, most of us follow the rules and have fun…”
We feel it incumbent to relate to the investigators that for the past two summer seasons, the pool area has been littered with balls (for WatchDog, another dog in residence for a time, and for the volleyball and basketball games) and floaty games, floaty toys, nets, blow up toys, squirt guns and everything else appropriately stored around a swimming pool. On-Site Mgr. used the pool every day, used many of the toys, bought toys and games which he left around and in the pool.
This whimsical system of rule and lease changes or conveniently looking the other way when it profits him, one which seems more reactionary than professional, which looks targeted because of a bias, manifests itself widely.
Line six of the lease prohibits subletting or assigning their apartment without written approval. Noisephobic apparently sublets through an AIRBnB-type agency with some frequency and On-Site Mgr. full knowledge, in apparent abridgement of the lease and the city’s rent stabilization laws.
Line eight in the lease prohibits assigning or subletting the parking space. Not long after we moved in (and without first consulting the lease) we allowed On-Site Mgr. to facilitate renting the space out for a monthly cash payment. He did so by interceding with a property manager at Hayworth House who introduced us to a tenant in need of a space. She rented that space for 17-18 months until last December.
We then allowed our neighbor to use it until we purchased a car.
When we took over our space, On-Site Mgr. removed the many tools, carts, chains and detritus stored at our spot’s rear. We don’t know how long he stored his possessions there before we arrived, but we take note of the last sentence in line ten of the lease.
Each day for as long as we can recall On-Site Mgr. has walked his cat Old cat and a neighbor’s cat named White cat. By walking, we mean he allows them to roam outside (White cat comes and goes in and out with no limits) and use the urban wilds as a litterbox. Furthermore, he and his wife feed the feral cats and raccoons living hereabout.
Love of animals can, however, do great harm to humans and other animals if not wielded responsibly. In this article, a San Francisco veterinarian describes not only the danger to sea otters but to people that lies nascent in cat poo.
Contemporaneous note dated June 24
As Tenant2 dined poolside around 8:00 pm, he witnessed the cat, White cat, about to poop underneath the Really Cools’ window in the dust. Knowing well the health hazard posed, Tenant2 did what he could to prevent the cat’s defecating, so tossed the remainder of a beer he had nearly finished in the cat’s direction (having been a cat guardian, Tenant2 knows that a spray of liquid suits best to correct a cat). Tenant2 then approached the cat’s guardian to make him aware of what he’d done and why.
The man responsible for the cat refused to allow that cats crapping outdoors might be a problem and interrupted Tenant2, raising his voice to declare his anger about his cat’s getting wet, calling is an assault. Tenant2, trying to interrupt the interruption, raised his voice.
Then On-Site Mgr., Mrs. On-Site Mgr., Ms. One and her husband, Tenant2 “Jack,) and the other neighbors came out from their apartments to berate Tenant2.
On-Site Mgr. gleefully declared another change to the lease, saying that, “Three calls to the police gets you evicted; this is number three.” He added a threat (from inside his apartment and yelled out over the courtyard) to evict Tenant2 if he ever got On-Site Mgr.’ cat wet.
The other tenants called Tenant2 names, told him he was “sick,” “mental,” mentally ill,” “asshole,” as well as claiming that WatchDog is an aggressive animal. On-Site Mgr. threatened to call Animal Control to have WatchDog taken from our family because of his hatred for Tenant2.
Ms. One declared that rather than escaping the noise upstairs, the Really Cools were moving in a hurry because of the smell of pot emanating from our apartment. Her husband threatened Tenant2 to go inside his apartment over and over, at one point saying Tenant2 would be arrested for his behavior. (Mind you, Tenant2 went to a neighbor’s door to inform him that he’d sprayed the man’s cat with liquid to prevent it from defecating on the grounds and posing a health hazard to the child living in the apartment, his husband and himself (we both have HIV).
Tenant2 stood below them all watching as they mocked him, called him names, berated him, told him to leave the building, yelled curses down at him and then chided him for standing to listen to it all. After he walked away, the discourse and scheming on how to rid the building of Tenant2 continued for around 90 seconds before gradually trailing off.
One interesting point made by On-Site Mgr.. He claimed he had no trouble with Tenant1, none at all. He probably does feel that way because, until lately, Tenant1 has not openly challenged On-Site Mgr.’ loosy-goosy approach to the lease and rules, his behavior or his attacks on Tenant2. Tenant1, though, feels very much as does Tenant2 and takes as much umbrage at Mr. and Mrs. On-Site Mgr.’ behavior, and the “piling on” of the other tenants who support On-Site Mgr. over reason.
As Tenant2 returned from the store with an ice tea, Mr. Ms. One spotted him as he walked up the entrance stairs. Calling out, “Asshole, hey asshole, where’s the suit!” he repeated himself again, finally demanding that Tenant2 stop and wait to hear his heckles. As his wife tried to stop him, he continued berating Tenant2.
Scaling the stairs, he cast insults and vile thoughts Tenant2’s way, including the thought he expressed earlier about his gladness that “some parents get to die do they don’t see what crap their kids turn out to be.” As Tenant2 watched, saying nothing, the man mocked him for not wearing the suit he wore earlier in the evening, pointed at the can of tea in a bag declaring it to be beer “so you can get drunk,” and accusing Tenant2 of assault on an animal because of the wetted cat. Tenant2 pointed out that the Deputies could not make an arrest for assaulting an animal, as spritzing a cat with liquid is advised by cat behaviorists as a way to control cats’ bad behaviors without harm.
Still, he and his wife continued to make direct comparisons such as “laying a hand on a child not your own” and spitting in someone’s face.
After his wife turned on her cell phone camera, he changed tone and message. He denied calling Tenant2 any names and insisted that instead of thrilling at her death he actually offered condolences about the news.
One final note…
On the grounds and new lawn. As he replaced the flagstone with grass-seed and kept it soaked, Tenant2 inquired how it fit in with the Governor’s declaration of a water crisis and if maybe he thought it should be reconsidered.
Cutting back on the watering (and wasted watering of the sidewalks and gutters) failed to happen until the DWP dropped by to give On-Site Mgr. guidance on how to cut usage by 25 percent.
- Lease agreement and rules never provided in complete written form.
- Agreements and rules changed without notice or tenant agreement.
- Lease agreements and the apartment building “rules” are enforced as weapons and go un-enforced as favors, leading any reasonable person on the “outs” to feel as though they are unwelcome in the community and should strongly consider moving.
- Management resorts to character assassination, name calling and taunts that would lead any reasonable person to seethe with anger and resentment.
- Management uses public opprobrium and defamation of character to enlist assistance in dealing with “problem tenants” with demands or those who ask too many questions.
- Management has enlisted the support of half the building in agitating for our eviction.
- Management has threatened to use Animal Control as a way to pressure us to leave.
- Tenants have joined in the harassment, gathering in groups to declaim, insult and make ad hominem attacks in management’s support to tell us to leave.
Addendum to original filing – July 1
At about 3:15 pm on July 1, 2015, Officer A. Munoz #185 arrived at our door responding to a complaint about our dog being off-leash.
The officer could not note a specific incident – time nor a place – for the complaint. He allowed that all complaints are kept anonymous.
He saw that WatchDog, our dog, was splendidly behaved, coming out from the living room when asked and going back into the house when commanded (he was showing off his faux-hawk hair doo). Officer Munoz also understood after hearing Tenant2 expound on the subject that he knows the leash law as well as anyone, the reasons for it, the reasoning behind it and the conflicts it is designed to avoid.
Officer Munoz admitted never hearing of a leash law on a building’s grounds that was stricter than the city’s, so he took note that the lease on this property (according to the early-April lease change requiring – over and above any municipality’s law – that the animal’s guardian, and no other, hold that leash).
He agreed with Tenant2’s reasoning for training WatchDog to be street-conscious, especially off-leash, to avoid ending up under a car’s tires. Listening to Tenant2 explain why WatchDog is curb trained (he sits at every curb awaiting permission to cross, even, and especially, off-leash),
Officer Munoz agreed that the training is something in need of occasional reinforcing, while reminding him that the law stands for many reasons (which Tenant2 then listed for him, including, people afraid of dogs; large dog/small dog clashes; walking around blind corners without control; squirrels, cats and other varmints; chasing under car tires, etc.).
Officer Munoz left Tenant2 a legal notice No. L123819 that he said is a “reminder” that WatchDog must be kept on leash.
As he wrote that citation, Tenant2 explained how the building tenants and management have used Animal Control in the past to drive tenants from the building. The couple in Number 1 had a rambunctious puppy to which a neighbor and, apparently, the manager, too a dislike, so they reported the dog as a nuisance, causing the dog’s impound. The couple, incensed, moved when they could.
As the officer filled out the citation, Tenant2 thought to inform him of the possible reason (retaliation) for the call to the agency; his preventing the indoor/outdoor cat in unit 2 from defecating in the dry dirt beneath a neighbor’s window (there’s a toddler living there, making the spread of Toxoplasma Gondii particularly dangerous) by throwing a few ounces of beer its way to interrupt it.
Tenant2 showed the Animal Control officer the spot where the cats most like to poop, explained that the manager, On-Site Mgr., encourages the activity, not only bringing his cat downstairs to crap but even opening the door for Number 2 so that cat can defecate outside.
Tenant2 reminded Officer Munoz that while the evidence of the cats’ poop abounded and the health hazard represented stood clear, the reason for his visit to Tenant2 this day was in retaliation for trying to do something about the health hazard propagated by the building management and tenants.
Officer Munoz then took note that the building management and/or tenants (management is not removing the food, so is directly implicated, he said), are leaving water and food out for feral cats, in direct contravention of the law. That, coupled with encouraging the cats to defecate outside on the grounds, amounts, in Tenant2’s opinion, to flagrant disdain for tenants’ health and an entitlement, a sense of privilege that gives permission to them to dismiss any view not aligned with their own.
Seen through the prism of recent events, this incident is part and parcel with a concerted effort to have us evicted. Here’s why Tenant2 can say that with absolute confidence.
The tenant in unit 3, Mr. Unit Three, overheard the discussion between Animal Control and Tenant2 after the conversation over the leash law got settled and Tenant2 broached the subject of the cats’ creating a health hazard.
He charged across the street as Officer Munoz and Tenant2 went over literature to share with the building about the dangers of feeding, watering and encouraging cats to defecate outside. In a rage, he demanded to know if Officer Munoz had been told that Tenant2 “had abused my cat, and then proudly admitted it!”
He wanted to know if he could file a complaint against me, to which Office Munoz said, “I can have the West Hollywood Animal Control officer come over and take your report.”
He appeared to feel that Tenant2 had called Animal Control to complain about his cat, not someone else in the building speciously using official agencies to harass us (as they promised they would the other night as Tenant2 watched from below as the threats and insults showered down on him).
Tenant2 calmly told the officer, “He’s the guardian of the cat I told you about and showed you where it was pooping when I interrupted it with some beer.”
Then, to Mr. Unit Three, he said, “I didn’t abuse your cat; I prevented it from spreading disease, which is why Office Munoz gave me these for the building.”
The officer looked on calmly as Tenant2 held out to him the two handouts that describe the dangers to and from people who allow their cats to poop outside. Mr. Unit Three then began – and continued for some time – shouting, “Fuck you, fuck you. You’re just a fucking trouble maker and we’ll get you evicted. He’s gonna get evicted for acting just like this! He’s nothing but a troublemaker; the Sheriff knows who he is, the City knows who he is – everyone knows he’s a troublemaker and we’ll get rid of him!”
This tirade lasted until he arrived at the apartment building, where he apparently called other tenants out to join in the shouting across the street at us.
As Officer Munoz and Tenant2 listened, Officer Munoz said, “This is what it’s like?” Tenant2 responded, “Yeah, I get it all the time from people. Their unexamined privileges run into the wall of reality and they don’t like me because I’m holding the wall.”
Officer Munoz told Tenant2 not to worry about the man’s behavior, “If he does complain to Animal Control, you let the officer know I saw this.”
Tenant2 told him that he was glad for that, as most people in the building held him responsible for having the puppy impounded out of spite.
Yet, even after the tenant in number 2 had entered his apartment, knowing that Tenant2 followed silently behind in hearing distance, yelled out, “Does Tenant1 know how you act when you’re alone?” in an apparent attempt to shame Tenant2 for, well, something or other.
Tenant2 wonders if Mr. Unit Three knows he spits when he screams.
Written between 4 and 5 pm, July 1, 2015
Tenant Harassment complaint: Addendum II July 1, 2015 @ 9:15 pm
At about 8:35 pm, Tenant2 went out the door to purchase water. As he walked down the corridor toward the street, he heard On-Site Mgr. call to him from his balcony, behind the cover of plants.
On-Site Mgr. threatened Tenant2, saying, “You just better stop.”
He made no further statement; Tenant2 looked up to see On-Site Mgr. taking cover behind his security door on the second floor.
Tenant2 described being shaken and frightened, especially as On-Site Mgr. has in the past tried to blame Tenant2 for illegal actions he has taken or to justify the insults or name calling he and his wife and neighbors have gathered to hurl. Apparently, On-Site Mgr., his wife and his band of confederates are now working together in their openly declared effort to evict Tenant1 and Tenant2.
It occurred to Tenant2 that On-Site Mgr. might have misunderstood the reason for the call earlier in the day from Animal Control – perhaps he thought Tenant2 called.
Or he might have been upset that his call (or his compadre’s call) to Animal Control failed to result in the hoped for impounding of our dog (I explained to the officer how we witnessed On-Site Mgr. and Mr. Unit Three in unit two cause a young couple living in unit one to want to move by misusing Animal Control to impound their puppy. It barked from behind the screen door at Mr. Unit Three’s cat when the feline had run of the courtyard, and apparently the cat had little tolerance for such behavior.
Anyway, they did what one might expect and moved out ASAP.
Tonight’s catcall from the manager, issued from his darkened nook, hidden by plants and delivered as though from the LORDS on high, then, leads us to believe that management, in cooperation with tenants, engages in an unreasonable surveillance of our activities.
It feels really creepy, and definitely makes us, as we think it would any reasonable person, think that the manager is intent on pressuring us to move by every means imaginable, including enlisting the support of one-third the tenants to make us feel as unwelcome as possible through word and deed – and increased creepiness.
As tenants, we expect that fellow tenants who have a dispute with us approach us respectfully to discuss a way to satisfy all parties. That has happened several times and gone both ways, but not with any of these neighbors.
None of these neighbors, including On-Site Mgr., came to us with comments about WatchDog’s behavior in the enclosed pool area. Nobody made a complaint about the dog; in fact, he became a popular fixture, especially playing around the pool with folks (the same people who threatened to and apparently did call Animal Control to have him impounded) tossing his balls.
Yet, suddenly, without discussion, notice or warning, a new term was added to the lease on top of the already existing one that requires dogs be on leash – the dogs’ leash must “be held by the owner.” Putting aside the fact that a properly worded legal instrument in the City of West Hollywood should properly refer not to owners, but to “animal guardians,” (the original lease refers – look for yourself – to “pets”) this extra swipe at us (will we have to produce papers to demonstrate WatchDog’s provenance?) came despite the fact that On-Site Mgr. regularly walks most of the tenants’ dogs (all but ours).
This clearly shows how On-Site Mgr. uses sudden, targeted changes to the lease to “get rid” of tenants who have angered him.
This contemporaneous account of his verbal attack from his aerie buttresses what we have been saying about a constant, insidious pressure to get us to move, pressure brought to bear not only directly by management through threats, insults and character assassination but also by tenants close to the manager who have joined in the harassment.
The tsunami reached its crest the other night when the White cat of them (All the units in front excepting number one) joined Mr. and Mrs. On-Site Mgr. in their condemnation, their rails against Tenant2’s humaneness, the insults against his character, the cruel bullying him with his health status (by calling a man they know well has bi-polar disorder “mental,” and “sick,” and “nuts”), the public pillorying that included dancing on his mother’s grave in an attempt to shame him (I’m glad your mom’s dead, that way she didn’t see what you grew up to be… FYI – she died recently, in September and Tenant2 is still in mourning) that went on so long one of the assailants finally called the Sheriff, apparently hoping that if the Deputies came by to arrest Tenant2, they then could all go back into their homes and mind their own business.
The threat issued that night to call Animal Control because we have had WatchDog off leash came true. After repeatedly telling Tenant2 over the past week, “I’m not supposed to talk to you,” On-Site Mgr. led the group casting venom down on Tenant2 the other night with the new lease term, “Three calls to the Sheriff you’re out!”
And tonight, he shouted down from a darkened cranny, “You better just stop!”
But we have only just begun to get worried.
July 2 E mail to Rent Collector
Good morning Rent Collector,
Tenant1 informs me that you received our requests for repair to the faucets and the gutter and are having the work done as soon as he can arrange a time convenient to On-Site Mgr., the handy man and me (I’ll need to be supervising, as our apartment cannot be insured due to the threats against our property made by On-Site Mgr.).
That has been made one part of our tenant harassment claim against On-Site Mgr. and his partners – all of whom have openly threatened to use every means at their disposal, including On-Site Mgr. creating new terms of the lease to use as a weapon and tenants (once again) using Animal Control as a weapon to get rid of tenants they dislike.
The latest episode, however, in which On-Site Mgr. and another tenant (who actually made an open threaten to do try this ploy) tried to scare us off the property by tattling on WatchDog’s sometimes being off leash when off the property. The latest change in the lease, the one that added that the leash “must be held by owner” while on the property, has been followed to the letter by us, although it is a term of the lease that On-Site Mgr. regularly violates when walking other tenants’ dogs.
Well, today you and On-Site Mgr. ramped it all up another notch proffering a Three Day Pay or Quit Notice on July 2. I’ll post the evidence of our payment on our door next to the demand for payment.
Then, over the weekend, I’ll publish the entire 28-9 page complaint for general knowledge. You’ll find the tale, when documented, referenced against the city’s tenant harassment laws, strung together and put into context, compelling, convincing and virtually irrefutable. The city found the account so- it got kicked instantly from Rent Stabilization to Legal for criminal investigation.
So far, both Mr. and Mrs. On-Site Mgr. and the four to five tenants who are working in partnership with them to follow through on the threats to evicts us or otherwise force us to move, are under scrutiny.
I should get that story up next week sometime, putting the address in the headline will ensure plenty of eyes (especially since there’s an apartment opening up.)
BTW – one of our complaints is about On-Site Mgr.’ willingness to allow tenants to mischaracterize events to lay blame at our feet. The Really Cools, who have fought long and hard to get On-Site Mgr. to help them with Noisephobic’s outrageous behavior, are leaving because of that, but if Victoria’s solemn word to another neighbor is to be believed [and by all appearances her word was taken as whole cloth] they are leaving because of the “smell in their baby’s room.”
It’s part of the complaint, and along with tenants’ using Animal Control as a weapon will see the light of day in hopes that you will respond appropriately (now’s as good a time as any to begin).
It’s truly beyond me that you would allow On-Site Mgr. to act in a way that could lead to severe financial repercussions to the family for which you are apparently doing this “favor.” When management is so corrupt that they regularly break the lease themselves, turn the other way when longtime friends break the lease, use the lease (and make whimsical changes to it for use) as a weapon and mis-use official County agencies to apply pressure to get rid of people they to whom they take a dislike – essentially resorting to extortionate threats to commit criminal acts – it needs to change.
The primary thrust of this complaint is to bring you. On-Site Mgr. and the tenants who are working in consort with you and On-Site Mgr. into compliance with the laws of the city.
I am calling for the Building Owners to make the change that will bring their property and its management into alignment with West Hollywood Rent Stabilization laws.
As my past requests for protection from On-Site Mgr.’ predations have gone unanswered and he is now seeking allies among the tenants on the premises, I’m also doing so in a formal criminal tenant harassment complaint to the city and Because no building should rent any units while under mismanagement, I’m telling the story publicly for a city built on tenant protections.
Oh, and while the city said their prosecutor would handle the case, I have brought the attorney I keep on retainer for such silliness, John Duran, aboard to watch developments and see to it that Tenant1 and I and our interests are adequately represented.
Looking forward to hearing how this all gets explained away…
All the best.
Addendum III July 3: Outrageous commands
July 3, in the mid-afternoon, as Tenant2 ate pizza, listened to Ray Charles and worked with several electronic devices, On-Site Mgr. yelled out from between 63-67 feet away for him to turn down the music.
Tenant2 did not hear the initial demand, but did look up from his work to see what On-Site Mgr. shouted at him about this day (the other night, after the Animal Control officer On-Site Mgr. and/or his compatriots sicced on us for allowing our dog off-leash off-property on a “secret” day and time and location, On-Site Mgr. shouted from his darkened balcony, “You just better stop,” to Tenant2, apparently blaming the victim for Animal Control’s visit and Mr. Unit Three’s, in unit 3, privilege-based emotional meltdown during that visit).
Tenant2 did not respond directly to that, yet another indignity proffered by the owner’s, the Building Owners’, on site representative. He made a contemporaneous record of it, stating that it made him feel as though he was under extraordinary supervision by management, and a surveillance with an eye to and that the landlord, the Building Owners, had targeted him for special harassment. Put into context with the previous engagements with On-Site Mgr., at least those since our proposed gift and that disrespectful and ungracious response to the offer made by the Building Owners issued via their employee On-Site Mgr. in mid-April (you might recall that On-Site Mgr. and his gang of evictionististas pre-judged the cabana and grill as an expansion of our private space into the common area and Mr.
On-Site Mgr. issued the criminal threat to destroy it all, despite the fact that destroying the cabana and grill planned – items that would have totaled, with furnishings, lighting, heat, etc., well in excess of $5,500– would have made his crime a Part 1 felony.
To bring this addendum back full circle, On-Site Mgr. on July 2 issued a set of rapid-fire orders to Tenant2 from 63-67 feet away – the other side of the courtyard. Entering the gateway to the pool area, and rather than approach Tenant2 and make his request in a conversational tone, he yelled, “turn it down; tenants are complaining about the noise. Turn the music down, turn it down. Just do what you’re told and turn it down. “Tenant2 told him, “I shall. I shall,” but he did not challenge On-Site Mgr. on his abusive manner. He complied with the harshly issued command, gathered his belongings and took everything inside his apartments, realizing that On-Site Mgr. and whatever tenants with whom he was working that day were simply doing their level best to make certain he felt unwelcome.
Tenant1’s reaction, he says, he could barely contain. He seethed with anger at the abusive tone, one he said you wouldn’t want to hear “used toward a four-year-old. How dare he say, ‘do what you’re told’ to my husband.
“It was an eye opening experience for me because On-Site Mgr. had always addressed me meekly, and to see him take that tone with my husband, was, ‘well, wait a minute. You can’t speak to him or anyone like that. You don’t speak to people like that, especially your tenants.”
Although he held little doubt beforehand, he said hearing that brought home not only the accuracy of his observations, but despite Tenant2’s attempt to make light of their fumblings, he recognized the sheer malevolence behind the behaviors that Tenant2 has described.
Until that point, Tenant1 had played the role of mediator, as he had not actually witnessed any of the incidents. At that moment he saw Tenant2’s descriptions of scenes in which the cadre ganged up to shout calumny down upon him were spot on.
July 4: Tenant1 makes clear his displeasure
The next day Tenant1 challenged On-Site Mgr.
Tenant1 says that On-Site Mgr., while Tenant1 smoked a cigarette on the sidewalk, approached him with a hello, to which he responded, “Hello. First of all, On-Site Mgr., I saw everything yesterday,” Tenant1 recalls saying. I told him, “I didn’t appreciate him talking to my husband that way.” He stuttered, said Tenant1, appearing surprised at the revelation. Tenant1 said, “You don’t even speak to a child that way.” On-Site Mgr. responded by saying, “I’m sorry, I apologize,” and he extended his hand, which Tenant1 said he viewed as though it were covered in, well, a distasteful substance emanating from anuses.
“I’m sorry, I don’t trust you. From this point forward, I’m looking at you kind of sideways,” Tenant1 told him.
Explains Tenant1, “I don’t like being caught up in this, no; but they brought this on by doing abusive things to my husband. If they weren’t up in Tenant2’s business, things would be fine. Yes, I may not be as vocal as Tenant2, but if you’re wrong, I’m going to let you know you’re wrong. They approached Tenant2 and handled it all wrong, and I had to step in.”
Tenant1 notes that he arranged a meeting with On-Site Mgr. and Tenant2 in which On-Site Mgr., in his professional role as the official representative of the Building Owners, admitted calling Tenant2 and Tenant1 names, classifying them as “potheads,” “losers” and “punks,” denied meaning a word a word of it, apologized profusely, promised to talk to each of the tenants he wrongfully claimed “hated” Tenant2 and asked Tenant2 to “reconsider” the purchase of the cabana and grill he threatened to destroy.
Still, On-Site Mgr. later repeated the insults, the names and the charges his compatriots and he are working together to construct in a narrative to use to evict us, noted Tenant1. And then, Tenant1 reiterated, On-Site Mgr. exposed his malevolence in this situation.
More on July 4
Later that day, Tenant1, alerted to the problem presented by management’s feeding and nurturing of indoor/outdoor and feral cats (toxoplasma gondii, as mentioned in the last addendum),went to the building’s front to smoke a cigarette and witness her as Mrs. On-Site Mgr. fed a feral cat (for which the couple also provide a ladder leading from the ground to a large plate of birdseed, apparently in hopes of the cats, rats, raccoons or squirrels will ascend to eat the seed or the mourning doves or…), took a trip out to the front of the property to video Ms. On-Site Mgr. feeding one cat.
He did not, saying he could not video her in the act at the time, but Tenant2, who followed moments behind with his camera, did capture video of Mrs. On-Site Mgr., the cat at feed and, upon asking Mrs. On-Site Mgr. if she fed the cat, got her on-camera admission that she did feed it.
Tenant2 then reported the incident to Animal Control.
Later that evening, while out and, when spotting the same cat, taking a video of it, Tenant2 heard On-Site Mgr. haranguing him from behind, saying something to the effect of, “You better not touch that cat or I’ll out-Mr. Unit Three you (apparently referring to the tenant in unit 2, Mr. Unit Three, with whom Mr. and Ms.
On-Site Mgr. and the couple in apartment 11 have been working to get rid of us, and whose behavior before the Animal Control officer was the very definition of out of control).
Asserting that, “Taking pictures of people is illegal,” On-Site Mgr. engaged in more name-calling and made more threats and specious assertions.
The July 5 “retaliation”
The following morning, July 5, as Tenant2 awoke and set up his laptop and camera poolside to begin the day, he recalled the new terms of the lease created in April (denied by On-Site Mgr., but never formally withdrawn) prohibiting the use of the commons as an “extension of” a tenants’ apartment.
He wondered to himself if On-Site Mgr. would press the issue using the new terms of lease or use another method Although On-Site Mgr. felt, “Taking pictures of people is illegal,” he came out to the pool area, took photos of Tenant2 (ironically, Tenant2 foresaw this possibility and had already made and taped to the back of his laptop a cuttingly sardonic sign for his laptop saying, “Taking pictures of people is illegal.”), saying, “I’m not supposed to talk to you. “Tenant2 called the Sheriff to report that and the threats about using Animal Control and the LASD as tools to pressure us out.
JULY 9 ASSAULT
On the night of July 9 at 11:15 pm, as Tenant2 walked back into the complex, he heard a great deal of barking coming from the apartment inhabited by Mrs. and Mr. Ms. One (#11), as he watched, On-Site Mgr. exited his apartment and entered the tenants’ apartment.
The dogs stopped barking at first, but if Tenant2 made any noise (rusting of his clothing, crinkling of the bag he held, the dogs would begin to bark again. Then Tenant2 witnessed On-Site Mgr. standing at the balcony looking down at him.
As they gazed at one another, the tenant in number 3, Mr. Unit Three, came out of his apartment yelling.
After screaming loudly and long enough (at 11:15 pm) to rouse other tenants, Mr. Unit Three pushed Tenant2, to which Tenant2 declared, “That’s assault.” On-Site Mgr., however, who was filming the incident, declared that he saw Tenant2 move forward toward Mr. Unit Three, something he called assault.
Tenant2 called the Sheriff, and they arrived at 11:35. They are interviewing Mr. Unit Three and On-Site Mgr. right now. (11:45).
Email cover letter for addendum dated late the night of the assault
Hello. Ms. Mayor, Ms. Stewart, Capt. Honings, Mr. Aubel, Rent Collector, Ms. Savage and Mr. Noonan,
You are receiving this E mail because of a situation that, beginning in early April, has bedeviled Tenant1 and me. I’m certain that all of you recall my experience at PATH and the unearthing of wrongs committed by those supposed to be doing right. The author of the story recently won an award from the Los Angeles Press Club for “Journalist of the Year” because of that tale.
Here we are again; Tenant1 and I face a bevy of problems at an apartment run by an old-timer and a man who does the books as “a favor” who see themselves as a law unto themselves. Please look at the criminal tenant harassment claim we have made against the landlord, the Building Owners family, because of Rent Collector’s and On-Site Manager’ playing fast and loose with the city’s rent stabilization laws – Rent Collector by his admission because he has no stake in the enterprise other than his doing the family “a favor,” (see attached documents) and On-Site Mgr. because he seems to feel that he determines the law himself (eg. “It’s against the law to take photos of people,” which he followed 18 hours later by taking photos of Tenant2 – maybe to intimidate him?)
First, after many requests and a call to the DWP and WatchDog code compliance, management sent plumbers to “fix” our continually leaking faucets. In replacing the bathroom sink faucet and drain, however, the plumber allowed a leak to destroy all of the belongings stored beneath the sink; toilet paper, Band-Aids (several boxes) sterile bandages, sterile dressing tape and other assorted items.
Really!? Have we stooped to that level of spite?
On-Site Mgr. promised the plumber would return on Friday, but we’re unsure about how much more damage and expense we should incur to satisfy the management’s pro forma performance.
Nothing detectable has yet happened re: the rain gutter.
The management here at 1245 N Hayworth has all along (since we moved in) been playing fast and loose with terms of the lease, and have shown an eagerness to use those swift changes as a weapon. On site management has made it clear that they support tenants who wish to “get rid” of Tenant1 and me because we use medicinal marijuana.
We have already filed a criminal tenant harassment claim against the management, something they are aware of, yet the management continues to use tactics such as public pillorying, character assassination, outright insult and evil wishes (“You’re potheads; losers.” “I’m glad your mother is dead,” for example).
We cannot obtain insurance for our household because of the onsite manager’s open threat to destroy and discard our belongings.
Tonight I was assaulted after I watched the manager entering and exiting another tenant’s apartment, apparently at will and without their presence. As I silently watched, a man living in number 3, (Mr. Unit Three) burst out of his door to scream obscenities at me. He then shoved me, nearly toppling me down stairs.
That brought out a few neighbors, some whom support the management’s efforts to “get rid of or evict us” in any way, but also a couple who commiserated with Tenant2, saying, “Anytime they are all yelling and you are watching them do it, they are dead wrong.” (Thanks Good Man)
Anyway, after taking the trouble to capture the scene on his cell phone, On-Site Mgr. denied taking the footage (when asked by law enforcement) and claimed that no one laid a hand on me. Mr. Unit Three, too, denied ever touching me.
Fortunately, I do have Animal Control Officer A Munoz’s witnessing Mr. Unit Three’s blowup of the other day, in which he spit in my face and came within inches of striking me, to show a pattern of behavior..
This harassment has continued apace with a management engendered event occurring nearly every day.
I am given to understand that the building’s insurance company wishes to do “random inspections” of units on July 17 beginning at 9:00 am.
When I asked Rent Collector the name of the building’s insurer, he refused. Why, Rent Collector? Please tell us all. Also, is that something that the city allows, random inspections with no notice but a ten day announcement of “random inspections?” Try as I might, I have been unable to find a law that allows that sort of thing.
It would also be of interest to me to find out if the manager’s threats to destroy Tenant1′ and my belongings might make a difference to the company’s ability to indemnify the building, because when I tried to buy insurance, I was told that because of On-Site Mgr.’ criminal threats against us, we could not be insured. At all.
We would like to purchase insurance against the possibility of theft or vandalism. The man with the keys to our home, however, is threatening to do our belongings harm and, along with a posse of tenants, is using official County agencies in a conspiracy to evict or otherwise cause Tenant1 and me to leave.
The Styrofoam incident: Addendum V July 15
Like the weekly Top 40, the hits keep on coming at 1245 N Hayworth Ave. #7.
Just days after the assault on Tenant2 by another tenant, which On-Site Manager lied about to protect his collaborator, Mr. Unit Three in unit 3, deliverymen brought a chair to our home.
The men took our old chair to the curb for bulky item trash hauling and set it on the city-owned greenway, away from the concrete walk-through that must be kept clear, according to the city’s parking regulations.
Athens picks those bulky items up on Tuesdays; the old chair would remain in place for a full week. On-Site Mgr. took issue with that law saying that the building’s lease calls for bulky items to be placed on the grass, not the hard surface meant to facilitate pedestrian access to cars in the street.
Tenant2 knows not whether he compelled the deliverymen to or if he moved it, but the chair did move to fully block the step-way between the grass that leads to the street.
As a greeting, he accosted Tenant2, saying, “Have your people put things where they’re supposed to go. You know the rules. Do as you’re told. You’ve been told three times to do that, now do as commanded.” [Emphasis ours]
On top of that, he told Tenant2 to “tell your people to clean up after themselves; they left trash all over the place.”
Tenant2 does know the rules, apparently better than does On-Site Mgr., because he knew immediately that the lease carries no term regarding placement of bulky items and that city law expressly forbade what On-Site Mgr.
As Tenant2 departed with the dog for its first walk, he saw a piece of Styrofoam, perhaps twice the size of a credit card, lying on the sidewalk near the entrance to the building, about two feet from an empty Coca Cola can that had been resting inside the yard for ten days or so.
Upon arriving home, he found the Styrofoam at his doorstep, crumbled into tiny beads, clearly left by On-Site Mgr. To what purpose, one can only wonder.
Tenant2 checked with the lease, and there are no terms in it that state where bulky items belong. Calling the city’s Public Facilities Division, Tenant2 found that his knowledge of the law was correct; bulky items are to be placed out of pedestrians’ way on the parkway between the sidewalk and the street, but not obstructing hard surface access to the street.
As he began to document the situation with his cell phone, On-Site Mgr. (who also manages the building next door) began shouting out one of those windows looking down onto our courtyard, apparently taking pictures of Tenant2 (he was wearing his new paisley shirt – do you like it?).
Tenant2 has been in the house since Friday recuperating from the attack on him Thursday night. This was his first venture outside the house, and On-Site Mgr. seems awfully interested in keeping up the pressure on us to quit the digs, and so made his best shot as soon as he could.
What is the remedy for all this? The management seems to be finally responding to the material deficiencies in the management of the place. After seeding his own lawn, decorating his own (quite large) private lawns and planting much shrubbery in every area of the building excepting the 25 square feet directly outside our door, which was left dirt, gardeners planted four flats of succulents.
After thousands upon thousands of gallons of wasted water, management finally fixed all the dripping faucets in the house.
Yet the manager, On-Site Mgr., seeks every petty way possible to make life here at 1245 Hayworth impossible for tenants who do not go along with his exceedingly informal way of doing business.
Any reasonable person, facing these nearly daily incursions and intrusions into their lives, would feel this pressure to get out. We want the pressure to stop. We will not, however, give up our home to allow On-Site Manager to continue ruling this roost in a petty, vindictive way.