Homeowners sued by NoHo over alleged gang activity
Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer urged Angelenos Thursday to report unsafe and violent conditions in their neighborhood while discussing the recent harassment mitigation lawsuit his office filed against the owners of a North apartment complex Hollywood, where a local gang is said to be roaming freely.
The lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court is against Group IX BP Properties Inc., its President and CEO, Swaranjit S. (Mike) Nijjar, and the building’s two management companies, Golden Management Services Inc. and Pama Management Inc.
The director of Pama Management is Nijjar’s sister, Daljit K. Kler, the lawsuit says. Representatives from Nijjar and Kler could not be immediately reached for comment.
The 116-unit complex consists of 12 two-story buildings on blocks 13100 and 13200 of Vanowen Street between Coldwater Canyon and Woodman Avenue, which is part of Nijjar’s “billion-dollar real estate empire,” according to the suit of more than 1,000 units alone in the city.
The property has been under the control of Nijjar since 2001. Since then, there have been regular gang-related shootings and other violence there, including at least nine gang-related shootings in the last 15 months, five of which occurred in the weeks before the current lawsuit was filed, the complaint said.
The building is 140 m from James Madison Middle School and is adjacent to the Assyrian Chaldean Catholic Church of St. Paul.
According to Feuer, suspected gang members are attempting to recruit students on their way to school. The church is also affected by the alleged gang violence, and on October 15 about 60 children were playing in the parking lot when a bullet was fired and missed the head of an adult attendant.
Feuer also said that a person on the property pointed a gun at a group of people at a women’s group meeting at the church and a stray bullet hit the mirror in the pastor’s dressing room in May 2020.
“The violence in and around this gang-ridden property must stop now. It’s so bad that during this latest outbreak of shooting, the church next door had to shut down youth activities to move young parishioners out of the way and then erect a metal barrier to deter bullets,” Feuer said.
“In our lawsuit, we allege that the owner — one of the largest landlords in California — and the operator allowed these incredibly dangerous conditions to persist. We have successfully sued this owner before over another expansive property. Now we ask the court to order him to reside in his Vanowen complex. Let him learn what it’s like to live with filming because that’s what the hard working families on this property put up with all the time.”
The church erected a metal barrier along its perimeter to prevent bullets from smashing into the church, but it didn’t stop them from hitting a television on the church patio on Feb. 2, Feuer said.
Councilor Paul Krekorian said ownership had been an issue since he was sworn into the council in 2010 and it was particularly personal for him because his children attended Saturday school at the church.
“We have personally attended this church many times as a family because it serves both the Armenian and Assyrian communities. My kids were in that very room that the city attorney described, where bullets entered that room, my kids sat on those chairs and learned Armenian on Saturdays,” Krekorian said.
Included in the lawsuit briefs are several color photos showing graffiti on the property, suspected gang members loitering, and an aerial view of the sprawling property.
“While she and her associates have left a trail of notoriety across the state, the gross mismanagement and neglect of this property by the defendants has enabled it to become a stronghold of a criminal (North Hollywood) street gang,” the suit states it.
The Harassment Reduction lawsuit seeks to have Nijjar and Kler live on-site pending physical and managerial improvements, including secure, electronic fences and gates; and an Internet-connected CCTV system accessible to the Los Angeles Police Department; improved screening of tenants and hiring of security guards. Civil law sanctions are also sought against the accused.
Efforts by members of the LAPD and prosecutors to resolve issues at meetings with the defendants in 2009, 2010, 2018 and 2019 brought little change, according to the lawsuit.
Anyone causing such issues for renters or the surrounding community can be reported by calling 213-978-8340 or at bit.ly/3vf9zBB.