Updated: Feb 13

LOS ANGELES – City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has filed multiple criminal counts against a property owner for allegedly performing unpermitted work and refusing to remove a vandalized and abandoned cargo container from a Montecito Heights hillside.

“Unpermitted structures pose a safety risk. They also can be unsightly and erode the quality of life in a neighborhood,” said Feuer. “My office will work to hold property owners accountable if they flout our building and safety laws."

Robert Rose Rhinehart Jr., the owner of a parcel of land located at 2936 N. Ashland Avenue, was charged with four criminal counts including construction and grading without permits; zoning code violations and failure to comply with orders from the Department of Building and Safety. If convicted, Rhinehart could face up to two years in jail and $4,000 in fines. Arraignment is scheduled for September 7, 2016 in Division 47.

In January 2016, the Department of Building and Safety conducted an inspection of the property in response to community complaints of unpermitted grading and construction on the vacant lot. Subsequent inspections found further alleged unpermitted work continuing on the site. In April 2016, inspectors also observed a 9’ x 30’ bright red shipping container secured on the lot allegedly being used by Rhinehart as an experimental living facility. Follow-up investigations in June observed recently installed windows on the container had been smashed and the container was covered in graffiti.

A City Attorney Office hearing was held in June to resolve the violations. Rhinehart allegedly refused to remove the container from the site and agree to any timeline for complying with Building and Safety Orders.

Deputy City Attorney Michelle McGinnis of the City Attorney’s Code Enforcement Section is prosecuting the case.