Group Home Owners Cited for Code Violations

City officials have filed misdemeanor charges against the owners of the Ventura Garden Manor for maintaining substandard conditions at the group home for the mentally ill.

Ventura Garden Manor owners Dominador and Loretta Ordanel Nicolas of Riverside; Oscar and Nerida Ancheta of Cerritos; and on-site manager Ariel Aguilar each face 14 counts of knowingly housing residents in structures with faulty electrical wiring, poor plumbing and in one case, a dangerously unstable foundation.

The defendants face up to a $1,000 fine and six months in jail for each count. Arraignment is scheduled April 3.

Charges stem from a Feb. 24 inspection that revealed owners had hired three residents and day laborers to remove dirt under one structure, leaving only 25% of the foundation intact for months, said Deputy Fire Marshal Brian Clark.

The work was done without permits in April 1999.

Fire inspectors also found numerous other building and fire code violations.


Nicolas, speaking for the owners, has said he and his staff didn’t knowingly endanger residents with the excavation project. He said the owners shouldn’t be held responsible for other problems at the property that have existed for years.

Only 19 of the original 41 residents of the board-and-care facility remain.

Owners have submitted emergency renovation plans to correct the problems that led to the charges.