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City Again Accuses Landlord of Harassing Tenant

The landlord is under a court injunction to attend fair housing classes after allegedly trying to force a senior citizen to vacate her unit. The landlord faced similar accusations in 1997.

The owner of a Hollister Avenue apartment building accused of trying to force a longtime tenant into vacating her rent-controlled unit was ordered to pay $12,000 and to attend fair housing training, city prosecutors announced Thursday.

Under a Dec. 26 Los Angeles Superior Court injunction and judgement, the landlord, George Bassiry, and his manager, Gilbert Rodriguez, were also ordered to end all contact with the tenant, Cordula Ohman.

City prosecutors said in the past year Ohman was given three eviction notices that allegedly violated Santa Monica's tenant harassment ordinance. Two of the notices said she wasn't keep her unit clean and a third said the owner wanted to owner-occupy her unit, according to Deputy City Attorney Gary Rhoades.

Bassiry and Rodriguez also threatened her with lawsuits, the prosecutors said, but Ohman—who has lived at the property for 32 years—obtained help from the Legal Aid Foundation and pro bono services from a major law firm to fight the evictions.

"The city alleged [the eviction] notices violated the Tenant Harassment ordinance because the tenant was able to get each lawsuit dismissed and because there was no evidence to support the eviction notices’ claims," Rhoades told Patch.

Bassiry, through his company Ocean Yard LLC, owns the 18-unit building at 143 Hollister Ave. He was the target of a similar suit by the city in August of 1997, just a few months after he purchased the property.

The 1997 suit alleged Bassiry was trying to coerce nine of his tenants into vacating so he could raise rents, according to the Los Angeles Times.

At that time, Bassiry told the Times he had "been making good-faith efforts to repair the building but has been hampered by tenants who purposely damaged their apartments."

Under the December judgment in the recent case, Bassiry is to pay $6,000 to the city for attorneys fees and $5,000 in damages to Ohman. Additionally, her rent is to be reduced by $150 each month in 2013.

"This case involved a landlord’s campaign of baseless eviction attempts aimed at the tenant. Each lawsuit was dismissed by the landlord as soon as it became clear that the tenant was not going to vacate but fight," Rhoades said in a statement. "While we appreciate the landlord’s cooperation in resolving the case, this is exactly the kind of misconduct the Tenant Harassment law was designed to prevent."

Bassiry and Rodriguez agreed to the judgment the same day the city filed a tenant harassment lawsuit against them.

Valerie Ferguson January 04, 2013 at 07:13 PM
I remember Cordula Ohman...... I use to work with her @ Dr. Leroy Perry's Office located on Motor & National.
mimi January 04, 2013 at 08:47 PM
I hope she was awarded damages for pain & suffering. She earned it.
Chloe Wells March 09, 2013 at 12:42 AM
I am not suprised by this at all.... Wilshire House at 1125 3rd street does the same thing to disabled people, yet he got away with it,...HUD did nothing neither did Santa Monica.....Well I was approved for the first low income disabled unit at 1125 3rd street, santa monica in 20 years in 2009...the manager Eduardo was abusive and cruel to me and I have a serious illness...I got the place, he never let me see it I moved 500 miles and barely made it physically and I lost the place and have gone downhill since and cannot get a place at all by the beach or any low income place and he was never disciplined and RHF blamed me...and HUD did nothing...it is a tough system full of BS people...I am fighting for my life and health now 4 years later and I have no place to go still and that man ruined my existence and could give a shit! These people screw people over, some get lucky but most do not...it is a brutal system that destroys people.... and I called everyone in Santa Monica to help me and they would not....and they claim to assist the disabled, no they make alot of money off the disabled acting like they care, like Thomas Safran & Associates, he lives in a super fancy home and blows off disabled people and is stuck up yet claims he is for the disabled, every property he builds besides maybe 4, are in serious rough bad areas... that shows real caring!!! and Malibu gets away with not ever building low income so they can stay fancy for the billionaires and judge the poor...
Dan Charney March 09, 2013 at 03:34 AM
I would like to see this award be much larger to this tenant- she deserves much more than this- although this is good news- sometimes these abusive people just count on the stress they put you through to kill you or make you so sick there is no way to fight- yes she was lucky - maybe contact these lawyers in the future for all who need this sort of help- lots more of this to come as the RC apt buildings become worth more and more

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