City Attorney Mike Feuer, of Los Angeles, is fed up with the owners of three apartment complexes on West 82nd Street. He blames the owners for allowing gangs to operate in their buildings unabated. Two of the buildings are said to be bases for the 18th Street gang and the other is controlled by the Hoovers. Feurer has unleashed lawsuits against owners, asking the court to force them to “boost security, surveillance and screening on the premises in an effort to crack down on alleged gang activity there.”
Two of the lawsuits target Mike Espinosa and Peggy Espinosa, trustees of the Espinosa Family Trust that owns a 9-unit apartment at 538 West 82nd Street and a 20-unit building across the street at 601 W. 82nd St. Nancy Osborne, another owner of the second building, is also included in the second action.
A homicide also allegedly occurred at the 9-unit apartment, and the properties have been the sites of dozens of arrests and investigations since 2011, with undercover cops allegedly able to buy drugs there as recently as January, according to city attorneys. Drugs sold at the properties include cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana, they said.
The third lawsuit seeks injunctions at the 11-unit building at 723 W. 82nd Street owned by Summit Assets Group, LCC. The building is allegedly used by the Hoovers street gang and has been connected to several shootings, a stabbing, and a homicide in August 2015. Police have arrested several Hoovers gang members who possessed loaded guns at the property, city attorneys said. He urged the public to use the online form at his website or to call his office at (213) 978-8340 to report properties that are hubs of gang or drug activity. The tips may be made anonymously.
This is a maneuver that Feurer is used to executing. He says that his office has filed 39 similar lawsuits since 2013, when he took office. They are his way of “taking back this neighborhood from the gangs and returning it to the residents who live there.”
Chief Charlie Beck lauded the effort saying, “These abatements are a valuable tool in our efforts to reduce fear and create communities that are free of narcotics trafficking and gang violence.”