Insect infestation takes man off organ waiting list; building owner sued

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles resident Junior Fogg, who had been on an active kidney transplant waiting list for over five years, was furious to find that his apartment infested with bed bugs and other insects prevented him from receiving a new kidney.

Doctors told Fogg he will be placed back on the active waiting list as soon as he lives in a habitable and vermin-free apartment.

"I was at the tip top of the list, the tip top... If I had a place to go and it was germ-free enough for me to stay there, I would have no problem. I would not be going through this," Fogg said.

He was told bed bugs and cockroaches could cause him to suffer an infection while recovering from the transplant.

Now Fogg and his partner Monica Howland have filed a lawsuit against the building owners in an attempt to force them to clean up and treat the entire apartment building located on the 1900 block of Robertson Boulevard.

"I'm scared that I won't get that transplant," Fogg said.

The 54-year-old explained that for years he and other tenants have informed management and the building owners of the problems but they have not done enough.

The owners on Friday released a statement regarding the matter.

"We are aware that a lawsuit is being filed, but have not yet viewed the allegations or the complaint," the statement read. "Like many urban apartment buildings, Ibiza House/The Plaza has a regular extermination plan with licensed pest control. Unfortunately, some of our residents - including Mr. Fogg and Ms. Howland - have not allowed the exterminators into their apartments to spray."

"We take building maintenance very seriously and work hard to keep our residents happy," the statement added.

Another tenant, John Spea, also said the property owners don't do enough to help tenants.

"The owners just don't do their job," Spea said. "They said we're not going to tent the building so they just keep endlessly spraying these apartments and people have to live in horrible, horrible conditions."

Due to finances, Fogg has been unable to move out of the apartment.

The apartment building's landlord told Eyewitness News that the situation in the building was not as bad as the tenants made it seem.
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