LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed two nuisance abatement lawsuits in an effort to clean up crime ridden properties in South Los Angeles and Hollywood.
"As we've seen today, a single property can endanger an entire neighborhood. Each property owner is responsible for maintaining their stake in our community," said City Attorney Mike Feuer. "If they fail to fulfill that obligation--ignoring criminal activity, for example, that jeopardizes neighborhood safety--my office will hold them accountable."
Narcotics and public nuisance abatement lawsuits have been filed against Mattie J. Sampson, the owner of a single family property located at 1233 West 52nd Street in South Los Angeles and her adult son Bobby J. Sampson, Jr., and David Lester Baxter the owner of 5655 and 5657 Lexington Avenue in Hollywood.
“I want to commend the City Attorney’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department, Hollywood Division, for the abatements in my district," said Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell. "This is how you make neighborhoods better, and reach a positive tipping point that has a lasting benefit for families. I would urge anyone who witnesses the destructive presence of drug sales, gangs, and prostitution to alert law enforcement, and work with my office so that we can collaborate with the City Attorney to enhance our communities. Through these efforts, we will restore the quality of life in neighborhoods where crime is present.”
"Since taking office, I have prioritized cleaning up our community. For me this means tackling trash, removing blight, and taking a strong stance against all forms of criminal behavior in our neighborhoods," said Councilman Curren Price. “And actions like the one we are announcing today, help us relay the message, that our City Attorney will be working with your Council representatives and community members to no longer turn a blind eye to crime and take every action necessary to put a stop to nuisance activity."
The 52nd Street property is a single family residence in the Vermont Square neighborhood known as a free-for-all location for the sale and use of PCP and other controlled substances by Crips street gang members for more than a decade. The house is a “hybrid PCP swap meet and flop house,” according to the lawsuit. In the past year, there have been at least nine incidents at the property involving PCP or weapons possession. The civil abatement action seeks an injunction tightly restricting who may be on the property and requiring the property owner’s adult son, a known street gang member, from being on the property for any reason, at any time.
The Lexington Avenue property consists of two neighboring single family residences and additional backyard structures located in Hollywood. Over the past decade, the property has become the epicenter of criminal activity in the neighborhood while the property owner continues to allow persons with extensive criminal histories to remain at the homes. The properties are well known to law enforcement and community members as locations where methamphetamines are sold, stored or found on an ongoing basis. The properties are also known as a place where prostitutes, transients, probationers and parolees can come and go without restrictions. Since July 2013, there have been more than 15 arrests made at the location.
A separate criminal case has also been filed against the property owner by Neighborhood Prosecutor Jackie Lawson for multiple code violations.
The civil abatement action is seeking an injunction to prohibit the property owner and known associates from unlawfully selling, manufacturing or storing controlled substances on the property. The proposed injunction also seeks to require any current tenants or occupants to move out of the property and be prohibited from returning, and be required to stay 1,000 feet away. The City Attorney’s work at this property was assisted by a Bureau of Justice Assistance grant under the Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation program.