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OC landlord faces serious charges

April 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A suspected slumlord was in court Wednesday, facing charges that he's done nothing to correct a recurring sewage problem at his apartment complex. Several units had to be red tagged.Photos taken last February at the Parkin Gardens Apartments in Fullerton shows raw sewage covering the floor of apartment No. 22.

Click in the Eyewitness News story window above to watch Eileen Frere's report.

"This building is in horrendous condition," said Chandra Spencer, Tenants Association attorney.

The sewage problem spilled into the apartments next door including unit 23. The apartment has been red tagged and deemed unsafe. There is water damage and mold and anything left inside cannot be touched.

"All of our stuff is contaminated," said Jose Oropeza, tenant.

So for two months, Jose Oropeza his wife and two sons, aged 8 and 15 have had to live in one room at a local motel.

"They're so sad because my little kid he doesn't know what happened," said Magdalena Oropeza, tenant.

The owner of the property, Greg Parkin says he doesn't know what all the fuss is about.

"I'd live there in a minute," said Parkin.

Parkin claims things are being fixed although a judge had to appoint a health and safety receiver to get the apartments cleaned up.

"We have a completely irresponsible property owner and it took Superior Court judge to order this and get this property fixed," said Spencer.

Officials say problems go back a while at the complex.

"Last fall based on tenant complaints the city did inspections. They found over 400 violations of municipal code," said Paul Coble, Fullerton Deputy City Attorney.

Officials say the violations include: cockroach infestation, unsafe wiring, water and sewage problems.

Because of the violations Parkin is facing more than 40 criminal counts.

"I have had apartments for 50 years and I have never been accused of being a slumlord," said Parkin.

Parkin alleges that the tenants are suing him because they just want his money.

Jose Oropeza, however, who continues to pay nearly $1,300 a month in rent says his family just wants to have a safe place to live.

 

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