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SANTA ANA : Legal Action to Force Demolition Delayed

An assistant city attorney said Tuesday that the city will not ask a judge to order the demolition of a vacant apartment complex because the owners already have started the work.

The city was set to ask a Superior Court judge today to order the owners of 2828 N. Bristol St. to tear down the buildings. But Assistant City Atty. Robert J. Wheeler said the city will ask to delay the hearing since workers hired by the property owner have begun clearing the site for demolition.

An attorney for the property owner, Cooper Fellowship Inc., confirmed preliminary demolition work began about a week ago. But Ronald Davis said the work will stop today unless the court orders it to continue.

The city says it has a letter from the Resolution Trust Corp., which has a financial stake in the property, allowing demolition to go forward. But Davis disputes that, saying the owners still lack the proper authority to move beyond the preliminary work.

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The city filed suit against the property owners earlier this year, alleging the 16 acres of vacant buildings had become an eyesore and a public nuisance. The city says gang members, drug dealers, prostitutes and transients use the vacant apartment buildings.

Councilwoman Lisa Mills, who has pushed to have the buildings torn down, said the city will ask for a court injunction if the demolition work stops.


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