Goldrich & Kest, the lessee of the Capri Apartments at 13953 Panay Way in Marina del Rey, has agreed to refund rent over-charges, with interest, to tenants of the affordable housing component at Capri Apartments within a week, said Goldrich & Kest representative Sherman Gardner.

Gardner said the correct rental amounts will be reflected on the new leases to be signed in September.

Gardner made the comments at the Small Craft Harbor Commission meeting on Wednesday, August 8th, at the Burton Chace Park Community Building in Marina del Rey.

Gardner said his firm is waiting to receive verification of its financial calculations by the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission, which serves as the county’s affordable housing and economic development agency, said the lessee’s representative, Sherman Gardner.

Goldrich & Kest had overcharged tenants of the affordable housing units at the Capri Apartments since the tenants took up residency over 19 months ago by approximately $22,000, said a number of tenants.

Gardner claimed that Goldrich & Kest was unsure of the correct amount of the rental fees, and that it used federal guidelines, while the Community Development Commission used state guidelines.

One tenant said that since the fees are determined under the Mello Act, a statewide policy in California, the state would determine the correct fees and that the lessee has violated California state law.

She said she called state officials and one official told her he couldn’t understand why it took 19 months to clarify the situation, and that she should file a complaint with the State of California.

Another speaker said Goldrich & Kest should be required to pay a penalty in addition to refunding the overcharged rent and interest for taking “such an exorbitant amount of time,” since the overcharging of rents was acknowledged by Gardner at the previous meeting of the Small Craft Harbor Commission.

Los Angeles county counsel Tom Faughnan told the audience that he met with Goldrich & Kest within a week to hammer out details of the refund checks and letters going to tenants, prompting speakers to ask why the county had taken so long to rectify a situation that should have been corrected when the lessee agreed to an affordable housing element and applied for permits.

“When you send checks, the apology will seem much more sincere,” Small Craft Harbor Commission chair Harley Searcy told Gardner when he apologized.

PUBLIC COMMENT ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING — Other Marina tenants living at the Marina Harbor Apartments claimed the rent on their affordable housing apartments had been increased by 42 percent over the past two years, and were told the management company was reviewing the rental criteria for 2007, causing the tenants to be concerned that they are being priced out with no place to go.

One tenant said she has reached a point of desperation with six and nine month leases and, hearing that a lottery system for the apartments might be incorporated, stated that this was unfair to long-term tenants.

Searcy asked the tenants to meet with Faughnan to discuss whether the increases are legal under the Mello Act requirements.

MARINA SHERIFF’S STATION — Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Rod Kusch of the Marina Sheriff’s Station, who is in charge of operations and is the harbormaster, reported that crime was static last month due to summer enforcement with bike teams patrolling, and more foot patrols in subterranean apartment building garages.

Kusch said that two crimes that were reported needed clarification.

A crime reported as a robbery at Ralphs Market at 4700 Admiralty Way turned out to be a shoplifting incident (petty theft) that escalated when the alleged perpetrator displayed a weapon after staff tried to apprehend him.

Also, the originally reported carjacking of a vehicle at a local hotel turned out to be a case of the driver leaving the keys in the car, which was subsequently stolen and later recovered in Las Vegas, said Kusch.

Kusch also appealed to the community regarding an “unusual” crime — the theft of two palm trees from the mini-park at Admiralty and Fiji Ways, asking that people report seeing any activity related to the theft of the palm trees.

This crime would have required some heavy-duty equipment, said Kusch, and could have been done either late at night or during the day, when people would assume that county crews were legitimately removing the trees.

Kusch said the theft of the third seat in sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Yukon, has been escalating, but he noted that these seats have identifying marks on them.

Many of the seats are being sold on e-bay and are worth approximately $3,000 or more, and people who are victims of this theft might shop on e-bay and buy back their own stolen seats, he said.

MARINA DEL REY LOCAL COASTAL PROGRAM UPDATE — The California Coastal Commission has scheduled the hearing for the Marina del Rey Local Coastal Program for Wednesday through Friday, October 10th to 12th, at the Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Harbor Hotel, 601 S. Palos Verdes St., San Pedro. Information, (310) 519-8200.

Public speakers noted that Los Angeles County officials had taken more than one year to respond to recommendations by California Coastal Commission staff.

The original draft was made public by the coastal commission in June 2005, with a one-year public comment period, and one speaker contended that the county had had ample time to respond, although county officials said the response time was too short for the coastal recommendations issued in July 2006.

The same speaker said that project proposals have all been moved along in violation of the letter of the law and the spirit of the Land Use Plan for the Marina.

The county has not held a single public meeting and has ignored the public, said the speaker.

During the California Coastal Commission hearing a month earlier, one commissioner told the audience that county officials had sent information to the coastal commission and asked that it be kept confidential, but the coastal commission could not accept the information on a confidential basis and returned it to county officials.

The speaker referred to this statement and said the county is not a public servant but a public master when this type of information is kept secret and not disseminated to the public.