Friday, October 5, 2001
City Attorney Gets Injunction to Stop Pico-Union Motel From Renting by Hour
By KIMBERLY EDDS, Staff Writer
A Pico-Union motel known for prostitution and drug activity could be shut down if its owners do not comply with court-ordered changes in the way they do business, City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo said yesterday.
The city attorney held a press conference in front of the Alvarado Inn Towner Motel to announce the injunction issued Tuesday by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe.
The injunction requires motel owners Qi Lu Su and Maoson Young to immediately stop renting by the hour. In addition, the injunction bans the motel from renting to known prostitutes, their customers, or drug dealers or users.
“Today we want to tell the prostitutes, drug dealers and drug users, there’s no vacancy for you at this motel,” Delgadillo said.
The city attorney also issued a warning to other building owners that encourage similar activities.
“Clean up your act or we’ll clean it up for you,” Delgadillo said.
Police Capt. Michael Moore, the Rampart Area commanding officer, told the MetNews the temporary injunction is a step in the right direction and hopes that other businesses will learn a lesson from the expensive sanctions lodged against the Alvarado motel.
“We don’t want any business in the city to go out of business, but we also don’t want any business to operate outside the bounds of the law,” Moore said. “This is very expensive for them.”
Moore said his officers are currently monitoring other businesses in the area for similar infractions.
Located a mile from the Staples Center and within blocks of two elementary schools and a preschool, the motel has been the site of more than 109 arrests for prostitution and narcotics offenses in the last three years, Moore said.
Councilman Ed Reyes, who represents the area, also spoke at the press conference. He said the motel has been the subject of complaints to the city, including parents complaining about their children being accosted by illicit activities on their way to school and innocent women being propositioned on the street.
“It’s humiliating and it’s embarrassing and no one should have to live like this,” Reyes said.
Two of the motel’s managers swore in declarations that the owners knew that illegal activities were taking place and even encouraged it by offering rooms for $15 an hour or $17 for two hours during the week.
“We know all the prostitutes, they rent the room, we have no choice,” Alvarado Inn manager Ryan Thai said in a declaration
Thai also said motel owner Qilu Su told managers not to evict guests for prostitution.
Manager Kenneth Chen, who has worked at the motel for over 13 years, estimated in a declaration that 55 percent of the rooms are rented by prostitutes and 35 percent of the guests use drugs.
The injunction prohibits the motel from giving away condoms and selling, renting or giving away pornographic videos, tapes, DVDs or compact discs, which had been sold at the motel’s front desk.
The motel must also hire nighttime security guards, post signs prohibiting unlawful entry to the property, and install high-intensity lighting and a video surveillance system.
Deputy City Attorney Asha Greenberg, a supervising attorney for the Citywide Nuisance Abatement Program, said all the provisions are already in place with the exception of a nighttime security guard, which the motel is in the process of hiring.
The motel does have a roving security patrol which stops at the property intermittently throughout the day, Greenberg said.
The injunction was a result of actions by the CNAP, a multi-agency task force made up of the City Attorney’s office, the LAPD, and the city’s Department of Building and Safety, Planning Department, and the Housing Department, officials said.
The task force is responsible for cleaning up abandoned structures and public nuisance properties in the city.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company