Huntington Beach : 3 Landlords Plead Not Guilty on Code Charges
Three landlords of Commodore Circle apartment buildings Friday pleaded not guilty to charges that they failed to make needed repairs.
The pleas came at their West Orange County Municipal Court arraignments on criminal charges of housing-code violations. The city says the landlords failed to make the repairs following warnings by the city six months ago.
Martin Settles, owner of 7631 Commodore Circle, is charged with violating nine counts of the Uniform Housing Code by allowing inadequate sanitation, leaky plumbing, roach infestation and deteriorated walls and flooring, said Deputy City Atty. Theodore M. Endres.
Edward and Patricia Vergara of Long Beach are charged with 10 code violations including unsanitary kitchens, sinks and bathrooms, roach infestations and hazardous wiring at 7632 Commodore Circle, Endres said.
Settles and the Vergaras represent the two most recent cases in five brought by the city against Commodore Circle landlords. The cases are part of an ongoing tug of war between the city and landlords of some of the 80 dilapidated apartment units to clean up what officials have called Huntington Beach’s worst street.
The owners initially were ordered to improve living conditions at the cul-de-sac buildings by March 10. Those who did not comply with the clean-up order for more than 700 housing- and health-code violations face criminal charges as a result of a city housing inspection.
A pretrial conference was set for May 9 for Settles and June 17 for the Vergaras when the city and defendants will meet to see if the case can be resolved before the trial. A housing-code violation is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail, a $500 fine or both for each count.
“I’ll go into the pretrial conference with good faith,” Endres said but refused to comment on the possibility of a settlement before the trial. “We’ll just see how things turn out.”