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Court rules for tenants

Residents will get less than the $7,500 maximum they asked for in the lawsuit.

November 13, 2008|By Veronica Rocha

GLENDALE — Two property companies have been ordered to pay more than $19,400 to eight tenants for the distress they endured while living at a Montrose apartment complex during massive reconstruction.

The tenants had filed a lawsuit in Glendale Superior Court against StarPoint Properties LLC and Valderas Drive LLC for relocation costs after they said their apartments were left rundown while construction crews worked on the complex.

Commissioner Steven Monette mailed out his judgment to the tenants in which he ruled in favor of them and against StarPoint Properties and Valderas Drive LLC, citing that they were substantially impaired in using and enjoying their apartments during the reconstruction.

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But he said that since the tenants weren’t evicted, their relocation fees had to be capped off under a Glendale Municipal Code.

“I don’t think that he read all of our evidence,” former tenant William Jess Proctor said. “I don’t agree with the judge.”

Former tenant Luis Madrigal was awarded $2,832.45; former tenant Angelo Synodis got $2,751.60, Proctor’s settlement was $3,437; tenant Nancy Mills was awarded $3,523; former tenant Homer Tom’s settlement was $2,825; former tenant Ted Neroda was awarded $3,523.35; tenant Bahman Ahmadpour will receive $2,663.40 and former tenant Damon der Avanessian was awarded $3,442.50, according to court documents.

But most of the tenants requested $7,500, the maximum claim amount allowed in small claims court.

“I’m happy that it’s over, and I will attend and speak in front of the Glendale City Council to encourage them to consider rental control,” Proctor said.

StarPoint Executive Vice President Michael Farahnik offered the tenants during the civil case two times the cost of their rent, plus an additional $500. But the tenants refused the offer.

Farahnik declined comment Wednesday.

The tenants’ civil cases came four months after a criminal court judge dismissed charges against the property companies in which attorneys representing the companies and 12 other tenants reached an agreement that awarded about $30,000 in relocation fees to the tenants.

StarPoint and Valderas Drive purchased the apartment complex at 2121 Valderas Drive in March 2007 for $17 million and immediately began construction to upgrade the units.

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