An owner of a Montrose senior apartment complex has been given another extension by a judge to fix an onsite elevator that has been faltering for six months. Elias Shokrian now has until mid-January to come into compliance with Glendale’s building code.
In late October, Judge Beverly Bourne suggested Shokrian could face trial if both elevators at the Honolulu Manor Senior Apartments were not up and running by a hearing on Nov. 21, held at the Glendale Courthouse. One elevator, which had been broken for a year, was fixed by the time that hearing was held.
When both elevators were broken at the same time in May, some seniors were left stranded in their apartments for nearly two weeks. The incident prompted the city of Glendale to slap Beverly Hills-based Shokrian with a criminal misdemeanor suit, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
The recent hearing was presided over by another judge, Carolina Lugo, who opted for the extension.
It marks at least the second extension given to Shokrian and Montrose LP, a partnership that controls the building. Originally, it was agreed that both elevators would be fixed by mid-October.
“Recently, we’ve had a lot of progress with them coming into compliance,” Glendale Deputy City Atty. David Ligtenberg told Judge Lugo during the recent hearing.
A Glendale city inspector visited the senior apartments a day before the recent hearing and found that one elevator on the property was still not up to code, Ligtenberg said.
Just before the hearing, Shokrian said he was doing everything he could to get the remaining elevator fixed.
Ligtenberg said he thought the extension was reasonable based on repair-time estimates he had heard.
“In these situations, we try to give some leeway, but it’s tough because of the people involved,” Ligtenberg said, referring to the complex’s senior population.
Throughout the case, Ligtenberg has said that the city will drop the charges as soon as both elevators are fixed.
“We take care of our properties. We aren’t slumlords,” Shokrian said after the hearing in October, adding that he has owned the building for 15 years without incident.
Several residents have filed a separate civil case alleging elder abuse, age discrimination and negligence against Shokrian. That case is in the discovery phase, with both sides exchanging evidence and documents, according to the residents’ attorney Raymond Zakari.
“[At] every hearing, [Shokrian is] saying, ‘It’s almost fixed … Tomorrow it’ll be fixed.’ Here we are over a year later and he’s still working on it,” Zakari said. “That’s what my lawsuit is for.”
A tentative trial date for that case is set for October of next year.
Thomas Sands, who is representing Shokrian in the criminal suit filed by the city, declined to comment. Thomas Vandenburg, who is representing him in the civil suit filed by the residents, did not respond to a request for comment.