Self-Identified Property Manager Alleges City Approved Dumping of Trash onto Sidewalk, Promised to Pick Up

Even as city crews finished removing tons of debris that had been dumped on a downtown sidewalk and police pushed forward with a criminal investigation, the question of how the waste got there from a nearby gated alley took an unexpected turn.

A man who identified himself as the manager of the adjacent property told NBC4 he was instructed by a city official last Thursday that if he had a crew move the trash onto the sidewalk, it would be picked up the following morning as part of approved trash collection.

The Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation does have provisions for scheduling a special pick up of so-called "bulky items" such as refrigerators, but that does not encompass tons of loose building materials and other debris, said spokesperson Elena Stern. Regardless, Stern said, the bureau's records do not show a special pick-up scheduled last Friday for the property on S. Main Street, just south of E. 12th street.

As such, the trash remained on the sidewalk through the weekend until Monday, when the city dispatched a crew with special equipment, including a mini backhoe, to remove it. It totaled seven tons, Stern said.

The neighborhood is at the west edge of downtown's fashion district and includes a variety of of shops, some wholesale only, dealing mainly in apparel and accessories. The alley runs between an idle building, which the property manager is attempting to lease out, and a shop to the south.

Several shopkeepers said the trash had been moved onto the sidewalk sometime after business hours Thursday and was in place Friday morning. It completely blocked the sidewalk on the east side of Main Street and spilled into the roadway.

"This absolutely will not be tolerated," tweeted Capt. Marc Reina, commanding officer of LAPD Central Division.

The property manager, who did not disclose his name, said he had been working for some time to dispose of the waste, which he contends was dumped illegally onto his property by someone who broke through the gate that secures the alley.  He declined to name which sanitation supervisor allegedly approved the dumping, saying he did not want to get her in trouble.

Illegal dumping, if proven, is a misdemeanor. LAPD has obtained security camera video showing the dumping, said Det. Lt. Cliff Humphris, but he declined to reveal what it shows.

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