City OKs Repairs by Slumlord


For the first time during months of criminal court hearings, Anaheim city officials agreed Thursday that landlord Sam Menlo has satisfactorily repaired three buildings at his run-down apartment complex in the city.

Menlo, who owns the Ridgewood Gardens apartments, was cited with 34 criminal violations in 1997 after a four-alarm fire revealed numerous unsafe conditions. Deputy City Atty. Michael Burke later filed a probation violation after years of trying to force Menlo to make repairs.

When the landlord failed to make sufficient progress, Superior Court Judge Michael Hayes ordered him to live at the complex for 60 days and fix one building a month.

Menlo, who has a history of run-ins with code enforcement officials throughout Southern California, still faces possible jail time if repairs lag. He also hasn't completed the sentence to live at the apartments. His attorneys said Menlo suffered a stroke while staying there and remains unable to return because of poor health.

In court hearings, Burke has argued that Menlo is well enough to visit his office several times a week and should be required to finish his sentence. Burke also filed an additional probation violation alleging that Menlo's repairs were shoddy and that he wasn't meeting the strict deadlines imposed by the court.

During Thursday's hearing, Burke and Menlo's attorneys provided the judge with an update. Three more buildings must be completed by Oct. 11. Hayes also requested that Menlo be present at that hearing. He has not said when he will determine whether Menlo is well enough to serve the remaining 37 days of his 60-day sentence.

All but about a dozen tenants have been evicted from the 368-unit complex, and renovation is scheduled to be completed by the end of the year.

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