Complaints of Neglect at Chinatown Apartment Complex Prompt LA City Attorney's Office Investigation

Property management returned a call from NBC4 denying everything tenants had claimed.


Tenants are finally able to use at least one of two elevators inside the 15-story Cathay Manor apartments in Chinatown after what they say has been months of neglect from management.

Speaking through a translator, one man said the problems have been ongoing for months, starting with a laundry room that all 280 residents use. It was locked during a recent visit.

"Management is neglecting the tenants," said Ne Hom, a resident.

During a recent visit to the decades old building where rents are subsidized, exposed wiring on the first floor could be seen. Stairwell lighting was dim, which management claimed were energy-saving lights.

In a phone call, owner Don Toy denied everything tenants had claimed until NBC4 told him a reporter and camera crew were on site and witnessed it. Then he claimed he would address each issue right away.

The city of LA this week made an emergency repair on one of the elevators, leaving the second one for management to address, under penalty of possible tax liens.

LA Councilman Gil Cedillo's office said they were made aware Aug. 27 that the elevators hadn't been working for two weeks.


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Three days later, building and safety marked them unsafe and red-tagged them. By Aug. 31, a housing inspector issued the management company a notice to comply within two days.

When they didn't, the city handed the case to the City Attorney's Office for investigation.

The city said the building was placed on a "fire watch" by the LA Fire Department, which required the property managers to conduct safety sweeps every 30 minutes.

It was during this time that tenants say a medical emergency left paramedics carrying an elderly patient down seven stories through the stairwell.

"Building received $3.5 million a year," Hom said. "Where does the money go to?"

NBC4 couldn't confirm that number, but tenants say no matter how much money the building gets, they want answers.

Luis, a maintenance worker, said he's asked management for specific repairs and they won't give him the money for it.

"They say they don't want to spend too much money because of budget, stuff like that," he said.

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