A Los Angeles Superior Court judge kept in place an abatement order that city law enforcement officials had previously secured against Deutsche Bank for ignoring its responsibility to maintain lawful and habitable conditions at their foreclosed and blighted properties, including one in Del Rey.
The building, located at 11881 Jefferson Blvd., is one of 166 buildings that the German-owned bank allowed to fall into shabby conditions and facilitated the illegal evictions of hundreds of tenants in 2011, according to city authorities.
City Attorney Carmen Trutanich initiated abatement proceedings on the Del Rey property as well as the other blighted buildings through the city’s code enforcement statutes, vacant building ordinance and public nuisance laws.
Judge Elihu Berle denied Deutsche attorneys’ motion to dismiss the city’s claim April 25.
Trutanich had filed a civil law enforcement action against Deutsche May 4, 2011.
“The court’s denial of Deutsche Bank’s motion and rejection of its attempt to avoid responsibility represents a significant win for the city of Los Angeles,” said Trutanich.
“This ruling will now allow our action to move forward to trial and ultimately to holding the bank accountable for its intolerable practice of perpetuating blight.”
In its court papers, Deutsche sought to assign blame for the blighted conditions at the foreclosed properties to “third-party service providers,” whom the bank claims had failed to comply with building, health, and safety codes, said Trutanich’s office.
The city attorney also sought restitution for current and former tenants for amounts paid in excess of the actual value of their units and unpaid relocation fees, as well as reimbursement to the city for costs of repair, abatement, inspection and investigation and penalties.
According to Trutanich’s office, Deutsche Bank owns the loans of over 2,000 properties in the city.
Tina Hess, who unsuccessfully ran for the Council District 11 seat of the City Council in March, assisted with the case. Hess is an assistant city attorney in the office’s Safe Neighborhoods and Gangs Division.