City demands an inspection of Drayman's condo

CITY HALL — City officials are demanding an inspection of former City Councilman John Drayman’s Montrose condominium to determine whether he underreported renovations in permits filed with the city after the work was done.

Drayman filed permits for the renovations in January — months after the work was completed by seven subcontractors of Advanced Development & Investment Inc., an affordable housing firm now under federal investigation for allegedly bilking several cities, including Glendale, out of millions in construction overcharges.

City laws require homeowners to obtain permits before any work is completed, and Drayman himself had previously railed against illegal construction as a councilman.

Drayman said he had been unaware of any ADI connections at the time of the remodel, and that the lack of permits was an oversight by his contractor, National Fire Systems & Services.

The permits list the value of work at $30,000, but Drayman has said in previous interviews that the work cost upward of $100,000.

And in April, National Fire filed a lien on Drayman’s condo, claiming it was still owed $98,222.48 for the renovations.

In a letter dated May 31, Glendale Neighborhood Services Administrator Sam Engel cited the lien as providing “evidence that the scope of construction may exceed that for which the building permits were obtained.”

Engel requested that Drayman schedule an inspection so that city officials could “evaluate and assess” the work, “despite the fact that the work covered by the permits had already been completed at the time the permits were issued.”

Drayman could not be reached for comment.

The inspection will come months after City Hall critic Barry Allen first filed a complaint with the city for Drayman’s failure to file building permits. Allen has for months railed against Drayman and City Hall’s handling of the renovations, which he has said amounted to special treatment.

“The amount of time between the initial complaint and the scheduled inspection is inconsistent with the treatment given to non-elected officials in Glendale,” he wrote in a separate May 17 complaint filed with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

David Demerjian, head of the district attorney’s public integrity division, declined to investigate, saying in his May 23 letter that “because another law enforcement agency is currently reviewing that matter this office will be taking no action.”

On Monday, Demerjian said he could not elaborate on which agency was involved.

“We are no longer handling the case,” he said.

Federal authorities have subpoenaed records for the remodel as part of the investigation, according to a subcontractor who declined to be named, citing nondisclosure instructions.

Drayman has until June 14 to schedule and pay for the inspection, according to the city’s letter.

Because the work has already been completed, the inspection could be “invasive,” according to the letter — meaning that the inspector may require walls, ceilings and floors be opened at Drayman’s expense.

“It’s a safety issue, and the inspectors want to make sure that everything was done properly,” Community Development Director Hassan Haghani said.

If the inspection determines the permits do not meet the scope of the work, Haghani said, “we would ask the owner to explain what the differences are and, if necessary, to ask for permits.”

The additional permits could cost thousands of dollars. The permits for the work Drayman did report cost more than $2,000.
 
 

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