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IRVINE : City Loses Patience With Work on ‘Castle’

City officials said Thursday that they will use evidence collected in this week’s unusual search of a castle-like home to prove that the owners violated a 1988 agreement to complete construction of the dwelling.

The evidence, which includes photos of the home’s unfinished interior, will be presented within a few days to the judge who brokered the agreement, said City Manager Paul O. Brady Jr.

The judge could grant the owners another extension to finish the remodeling, evict them from the property or even order that the Tudor-style home be demolished, Brady said.

On Wednesday, building inspectors with a search warrant spent more than a hour taking photos inside the home of Victor and Fern Ganish, who, over the past 12 years, have transformed their one-story ranch-style house into a two-story Tudor structure that angry neighbors compare to a castle.

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City officials have pressed the Ganishes for years to complete the remodeling project. Brady said the 1988 agreement set up a timetable for the family to finish work on the house.

Fern Ganish insisted that her family has lived up to the terms of the agreement, which she said only ordered them to complete the home’s exterior.

Drywall, plumbing equipment and flooring still needs to be installed inside the house, Ganish said. But she insisted that the house is habitable. “We feel OK living here,” Ganish said. “Many people stay in their homes when they are being remodeled.”

The city contends that the Kron Street house violates building and safety codes. Officials might ask the district attorney’s office to review the case for possible prosecution. But Brady said the city’s main goal is to “make sure this property is safe. . . . We don’t want people living in unsafe conditions.”

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