Residents of a Montrose senior apartment complex will go at least another dozen days without all onsite elevators functioning — adding to the nearly eight months when at least one of the two elevators has been offline — according to an attorney for the property owner on Thursday, who said one is turned off as it awaits a state inspection.
Until then, “Our hands are tied,” said Thomas Sands, an attorney for property owner Elias Shokrian, after a pretrial hearing at the Glendale Courthouse on Thursday.
“It’s not like we’re fixing a brake pad,” he added. “These are major repairs.”
In late May, the city of Glendale filed a misdemeanor lawsuit against owner Shokrian shortly after dozens of seniors living in the Honolulu Manor Senior Apartments found themselves stranded, or nearly so, in their second- and third-floor units when the complex’s only functional elevator broke.
Shokrian pleaded not guilty to the charge that he violated the city’s building code, which requires that all mechanical devices on a property be operational.
A state inspection of the elevator is set for Jan. 28.
State officials already inspected the elevator in mid-December, “but the unit failed, so [it] was put out of service until it passes an inspection,” according to Frank Polizzi, a spokesman with California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health, or Cal/OSHA.
After the incident in May, the elevator was operating but not up to code. Several residents reported feeling unsafe because the elevator sometimes shook or did not stop level with the floor.
“We’re frustrated by the fact that is taking so long, but we also understand that these are difficult things to repair. They’re old elevators,” David Ligtenberg, deputy city attorney for Glendale, said after the recent hearing.
“Everyone’s patience is wearing thin,” he added.
The complex’s other elevator had broken down in October 2018 and was not repaired until this past October.
Initially, it was agreed that both of the elevators would be fixed by October. Shokrian was given an extension in November to comply by mid-January.
While Ligtenberg said the city would still rather have the elevators functioning than go to trial, he said that would likely be the next step if the revised timeline is not met.
Judge Beverly Bourne had suggested that Shokrian would face a trial if the elevators were not fixed by Nov. 21. However, Bourne transferred to another courthouse before that deadline.
Carolina Lugo, who took over Bourne’s department, has since granted additional extensions.
“It sounds like it’s just a matter of having the state inspectors complete their evaluation,” Lugo said during the hearing on Thursday.
She scheduled a follow-up hearing for Feb. 7.