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Neighbors say they haven't seen much of Ramani

Prosecutors are investigating claims that Republican candidate doesn't live in Burbank.

September 17, 2010|By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com
(Roger Wilson/Staff…)

As Los Angeles County prosecutors review allegations that Sunder Ramani is feigning Burbank residency to run in the 43rd Assembly District, his neighbors at the West Alameda Avenue building say they've rarely seen the Republican candidate, if at all.

Ramani's residence became a campaign issue earlier this month when the Los Angeles County district attorney's office opened an inquiry into whether he primarily lives in the district he hopes to represent.

Ramani's campaign filings with the state indicate he lives in Burbank, where he is also registered to vote. Yet he owns a home in La Cañada Flintridge, which is not part of the 43rd District, and has used that address as recently as April in making political contributions to others.

Bhupesh Parikh, with property management firm Pari Enterprises, said Ramani began to rent the Alameda Avenue apartment before the April special election primary in which Ramani won the Republican nomination.

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But this week a resident of the apartment next to Ramani's looked at a picture of the candidate on a campaign mailer and shook his head.

"I never saw him," said Nog Batak, who has lived in the building for a year and a half. Of Ramani's apartment, he added, "I don't know who lives there."

Jocelyn Gumbs, who lives next to Batak and two doors from Ramani, said, "I've seen him here. But I don't know if he actually lives here."

A manager of the building, who asked not to be named for fear of being removed from the job, said Ramani comes to the building on occasion.

"I don't know that he lives here physically," the manager said, adding that residents on the third floor "stay to themselves. Some I don't see for months on end."

Residents contacted at the building at 249 W. Alameda Ave. said they had not been contacted by investigators.

Ramani did not respond to repeated requests for an interview. But he has said previously that he spends at least half his time at the Burbank apartment, even as his wife continues to live in their La Cañada home. He has also said that if elected in November, he would find a permanent home in Burbank.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said that the recent political donations from the La Cañada address were made automatically, and that he needs to submit updated information on his contribution forms.

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