The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office has settled a lawsuit that it brought against three men for allegedly trying to frighten a female tenant into vacating her rent-controlled apartment at 2710 Arizona Ave., Santa Monica.
The city Consumer Protection Unit filed the lawsuit in April 2004 against Marshall Robert Burnett, Dan Kolodziejski and L.T. Belton. The suit claimed that the men acquired the four-unit apartment building in January 2004 and that the only occupied apartment in the building at the time was occupied by a disabled tenant who paid $422 per month under rent control.
The three men were accused of conspiring to frighten the tenant into vacating her apartment in order to increase the property value of the building.
The tenant also retained a private attorney, Gary Rhoades of Los Angeles, and brought a private lawsuit against Burnett and Kolodziejski. The two cases were consolidated for trial in Santa Monica Superior Court.
Defendants Burnett and Kolodziejski are both licensed Realtors. In defending the lawsuit, they denied any wrongdoing.
The two lawsuits were settled at the same time after a mediation before Judge Patricia Collins of the Santa Monica Superior Court.
The terms of the settlement, which recently became final, are:
n the defendants paid the tenant $45,000;
n the defendants paid the city $15,000 in attorneys’ fees; and
n Burnett and Kolodziejski will each attend an eight-hour training program in apartment management approved by the city.
The city had filed the original lawsuit in Santa Monica Superior Court. The lawsuit was brought under the local tenant harassment ordinance.