FOX 11 Investigates: Tenant Trouble - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

FOX 11 Investigates: Tenant Trouble

Posted: Updated:

It was a devastating fire, springing up from a first floor entryway and quickly starting to consume a building at 78th and South San Pedro Street in a part of Los Angeles that isn't celebrated in Randy Newman songs. In the early morning hours of December 17th of last year, the two story stucco building was saved from complete destruction, and tenants’ lives were saved, by the quick work of the L.A. Fire Department. A subsequent investigation by the arson squad left little doubt as to the cause. One investigator wrote in a search warrant obtained by FOX 11 News ''I observed a red colored gasoline container on the ground... I smelled the strong odor of gasoline.. I observed burn patterns... consistent with the ignition of... an ignitable liquid.''

No arrests yet, but former tenants like Richie Salazar says justice needs to be done. ''The tenants were not just willing to pack up and leave. They ain’t got no money, so someone took it upon themselves to burn it down, that my opinion.'' He claims the fire was the last step in a long-running campaign of intimidation, which included his apartment door being screwed shut and threats to burn the place down. Why? Salazar believes it was to the old tenants out, so new tenants could be charged higher rents.

Under rent control, to evict people, you have to go through an expensive (thousands of dollars per person relocation fee) and time consuming process. So, if the building's suddenly empty because of a fire, well, that’s no longer a problem. It's an allegedly extreme example of something that's being done in many places, according to lawyer Elly Kugler, who until recently was with the Inner City Law Center and helped Salazar. ''You have some landlords who think this building is not making much money as I'd like so I'll take things into my own hands so I can make more.''

The building, now a boarded up eyesore, is the subject of competing lawsuits, the seller accusing the would-be buyer of arson, alleging it would make it more convenient when he takes it over. The would-be buyer saying through his lawyer, ''that's ridiculous”.

While the LAPD ruled the cause of the fire is arson, no one has been charged. The person (or persons) who set the fire is unknown.


  • FeaturesMore>>

  • Wednesday's Child

    Joseph Aims High In Hopes Of A Forever Home

    Joseph Aims High In Hopes Of A Forever Home

    Thursday, August 14 2014 1:00 AM EDT2014-08-14 05:00:16 GMT
    This week we want to make a federal case for Joseph (1998) finding a forever family, so we obtained the necessary clearances to accompany Joseph to the Los Angeles Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). And during our friendly investigation, we found Joseph to be a dynamic teen with a good bit of focus and determination for someone his age.
    This week we want to make a federal case for Joseph (1998) finding a forever family, so we obtained the necessary clearances to accompany Joseph to the Los Angeles Division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). And during our friendly investigation, we found Joseph to be a dynamic teen with a good bit of focus and determination for someone his age.
  • Mexican American Boxing In LA

    Mexican American Boxing In LA

    Mexican American Boxing In LA

    Sunday, August 10 2014 6:00 AM EDT2014-08-10 10:00:16 GMT
    Los Angeles used to be a major venue for championship boxing. From the 1930s through the 1970s, there were prize fights nearly every night in metropolitan Los Angeles, primarily at the Olympic Auditorium in Downtown Los Angeles.
    Los Angeles used to be a major venue for championship boxing. From the 1930s through the 1970s, there were prize fights nearly every night in metropolitan Los Angeles, primarily at the Olympic Auditorium in Downtown Los Angeles.
  • Point of View

    California Has Highest Gas Tax In The Nation

    California Has Highest Gas Tax In The Nation

    Friday, August 8 2014 7:31 PM EDT2014-08-08 23:31:51 GMT
    California motorists are burdened with the highest gas tax in the nation: 71 cents for every gallon of gas purchased. If that was not enough, along comes AB-32 that mandates that vehicle fuel production will be, in effect, taxed beginning in 2015.
    California motorists are burdened with the highest gas tax in the nation: 71 cents for every gallon of gas purchased. If that was not enough, along comes AB-32 that mandates that vehicle fuel production will be, in effect, taxed beginning in 2015.

  • InvestigativeMore>>

  • FOX 11 Investigates

    Ramona Gardens Firebombing Investigation

    Ramona Gardens Firebombing Investigation

    Friday, August 15 2014 1:24 AM EDT2014-08-15 05:24:13 GMT

    FOX 11 Investigates: Progress in Ramona Gardens firebombing probe.

    FOX 11 Investigates: Progress in Ramona Gardens firebombing probe.


  • Human Trafficking On The Rise, Orange County Launches Awareness Campaign

    Human Trafficking On The Rise, Orange County Launches Awareness Campaign

    Thursday, August 7 2014 11:23 AM EDT2014-08-07 15:23:00 GMT
    Human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime generating $32 Billion dollars a year. In Orange County, law enforcement has been actively seeking perpetrators and rescuing the victims.
    Human trafficking is the fastest growing organized crime generating $32 Billion dollars a year. In Orange County, law enforcement has been actively seeking perpetrators and rescuing the victims.
  • FOX 11 Investigates

    Sexual Predators: Do You Even Know It's There?

    Sexual Predators: Do You Even Know It's There?

    Friday, June 20 2014 1:30 AM EDT2014-06-20 05:30:44 GMT
    The number alone is shocking. In one South Los Angeles zip code, there are 240 registered sex offenders living there. You can get this information off of Megan’s law website, required by state law, named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. The idea is to prevent that from happening again, and of course it’s a noble goal.
    The number alone is shocking. In one South Los Angeles zip code, there are 240 registered sex offenders living there. You can get this information off of Megan’s law website, required by state law, named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. The idea is to prevent that from happening again, and of course it’s a noble goal.
Powered by WorldNow

KTTV FOX 11
1999 S. Bundy Dr.
Los Angeles CA 90025

Main: (310) 584-2000
News Tips? (310) 584-2025

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices