The city is paying $400,000 to help relocate artists living in two un-permitted buildings in Downtown LA’s Fashion District, the LA Weekly reports.
At least one of the buildings, a warehouse at 931 Pico, was the subject of intense scrutiny in the wake of the Oakland Ghost Ship fire, which killed 36 people late last year.
Los Angeles city officials claim the building on Pico, which is zoned for commercial uses, was not permitted for residential use and was not safe for tenants. Fire officials alleged the building didn’t have adequate fire alarms or accessible fire escapes.
According to the Weekly, the tenants say their landlord, Morad “Ben” Neman, refused to pony up the money they are owed under city law when an “order to vacate” has been issued.
So Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar pushed through an emergency motion and, with the help of the city’s chief legislative analyst and administrative officer, the money was found and approved quickly, the Weekly says.
Neman is “subject to legal action by the City Attorney’s Office,” and in court, he will be “pressed” by the City Attorney to repay the money, reports the Weekly.