Irvine : 11-Year Remodeling of Home Is Inspected

With police officers at their sides, city building inspectors conducted a search Wednesday of a home at the center of a long-running controversy over a remodeling project that has taken more than a decade to complete.

City officials said the search is part of an investigation into numerous allegations of building, safety and health code violations at the Kron Street home.

Building inspectors spent more than an hour Wednesday taking photos of the interior in an effort to "secure evidence of noncompliance" with city codes, police Lt. Sam Allevato said.

The city may eventually ask the district attorney's office to review the case for possible prosecution, he said.

The house's owners, Victor and Fern Ganish, denied that they have done anything wrong and criticized the search as "harassment."

Since 1983, the Ganishes have slowly transformed their one-story ranch-style home into a two-story Tudor structure that critics have likened to a baroque castle.

Nearby residents have complained about the home's appearance and the slow pace of the remodeling project, which has yet to be completed.

Wednesday's action occurred after the city obtained a search warrant. City officials refused to answer specific questions about the investigation Wednesday. But in a written statement, officials said "the warrant was necessitated by the city's inability to obtain the owner's consent to conduct building inspections."

Fern Ganish said the 10:30 a.m. search took her family by surprise.

"To have policemen come into your house like you are a criminal, there's absolutely no reason for it," she said.

The Ganishes have long feuded with the city over their remodeling project. The couple appeared before the City Council several times in the mid-1980s as officials pressed them to finish the work.

Fern Ganish said the exterior of the home is now finished but flooring, plumbing and drywall still must be installed inside.

She blamed the length of the project on her husband's poor health and on years of "harassment" by city officials.

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