Feb 032017
 

Alert On Roofing Scams

CITY ATTORNEY FEUER ISSUES CONSUMER ALERT ON ROOFING SCAMS

Warns Public of Dangers of Hiring Unlicensed Contractors; Seeks Restitution for Elderly Victims of Shoddy Roofing Work

In the wake of recent heavy downpours and with more rain on the way, L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer today highlighted the significant dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors to perform home repairs. Feuer announced a recent case in which his office is seeking thousands of dollars in restitution for an elderly couple who sustained significant damage to their home by an unlicensed contractor.

“Substandard work performed by unlicensed contractors can have devastating financial consequences for homeowners,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer. “My office will continue to fight back by empowering residents with the information they need to avoid being victimized and aggressively seeking restitution for those who are harmed.”

The City Attorney’s Office secured a conviction against Zsolt Labancz for contracting without a license after an investigation by the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). The defendant was paid $5,900 by an elderly couple for a number of repairs to their home including fixing two minor leaks on the roof, repairing a skylight and gutter work. Instead of fixing the problems the defendant’s substandard work further damaged the roof directly resulting in thousands of dollars of damage to household items, carpets and appliances when heavy rains returned and water poured into the home. As a result of the damages, the couple was forced to pay over $3,000 for temporary tarps to cover the roof.

Foam sealant used by the defendant in an attempt to plug the leaks on the roof resulted in $1,000 in damage to the air conditioning and heater units.

A full restitution hearing is scheduled for February 3, 2017. The City Attorney’s Office is seeking $95,498 for all economic losses suffered as a result of the defendant’s substandard work on the roof and other parts of the home.

Deputy City Attorney Jeremy Berzon is the assigned prosecutor on the case.

“The worst thing that can happen to a storm victim is to be victimized a second time,” said CSLB Registrar Cindi Christenson. “Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to check out a contractor on the CSLB website to make sure they’re properly licensed and qualified to do the job.”

As part of a public awareness campaign aimed at informing homeowners of warning signs of similar roofing scams, the City Attorney is advising consumers get multiple bids for contracts, check references and to watch out for:

  • Individuals without a state contractor’s license.
  • Unsolicited offers for roof inspection, especially after a storm
  • Requests for a large down payment or cash only contracts

Additional tips can be found on the City Attorney’s website: www.lacityattorney.org.

 

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Dec 132016
 

CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER TAKES ACTION TO FREE VALLEY NEIGHBORHOODS FROM NOTORIOUS WHITE SUPREMACIST GANG

CITY ATTORNEY MIKE FEUER TAKES ACTION TO FREE VALLEY NEIGHBORHOODS FROM NOTORIOUS WHITE SUPREMACIST GANG

Two Canoga Park and One Granada Hills Homes Sites of White Supremacist Gang Activity, Rampant Drug Sales and Illegal Gun Sales

 

In a sustained effort to rid the city of gang and crime infested properties, City Attorney Mike Feuer today announced that his office has taken a series of actions against the property owners and resident gang members and associates of the notorious San Fernando Valley (SFV) Peckerwoods gang, a white supremacist criminal street gang, at three separate single family residences, two in Canoga Park and one in Granada Hills.

All three homes are alleged bases of operations for members of the SFV Peckerwoods, and have been the sites of rampant criminal activity, including illegal gun and drug sales, as well as places to make pipe bombs, store stolen property, and recruit and train associates in counterfeit and identity theft. One was informally abated and two are the subjects of lawsuits.

“We’re fighting to prevent white supremacist gangs from threatening our neighborhoods with their toxic brew of violence, crime and hate,” said City Attorney Mike Feuer. “My office will continue to take every step we can to combat them–and all that they stand for.”

“These properties are near schools and libraries and we need to do everything in our power to make sure that our children are safe and grow up in a Los Angeles that empowers tolerance and equality,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “I commend City Attorney Feuer for taking action against this gang that has been engaged in criminal activity and peddling hate in our communities.”

“This group not only represents a significant public safety threat to our local communities, but also represents an assault on our values of tolerance and equity here in the City of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Chair of the Public Safety Committee. “I want to thank City Attorney Feuer’s office for their commitment to eradicating this notorious white supremacist gang from our communities.”

“The Los Angeles Police Department is committed to eradicating these “dens” of criminal activity from the San Fernando Valley,” said LAPD Deputy Chief Robert Green. “Residents can sleep easier knowing our city entities are collaborating to ensure criminal elements are being barred from our residential neighborhoods. This action also underscore’s both the City Attorney’s office and the LAPD’s commitment to weeding out groups that profess hate.”

The City Attorney has filed an abatement lawsuit against Johnny Reed, a member of the SFV Peckerwoods gang and a shot caller for the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, who resides at the single-family residence at 16440 Index Street in Granada Hills. Also named as defendants are Monica Lewis, the owner of the property, as well as her two adult sons, Norman and Robert Lewis. The property is located within 1,000 feet of John. F. Kennedy High School and Jane Addams High School and has a reputation in the community and among law enforcement as an alleged hub for white supremacist gang members and distribution of methamphetamine and heroin.
Documented criminal activity at the property this year includes:

  • In June, a member of the SFV Peckerwoods was arrested at the property on suspicion of possession of a stolen vehicle. Officers also recovered methamphetamine, credit cards, two California identification cards and a social security card, none of which were in the suspect’s name.
  • In September, law enforcement officers arrested two individuals at the property for burglary. One arrestee was allegedly a member of the SFV Peckerwoods residing at the property and the other was a member of the Vagos Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, a white supremacist organization.
  • In October, law enforcement officers recovered heroin and methamphetamine from the property during an arrest of Defendant Johnny Reed and Robert Lewis for narcotics sales. Norman Lewis was also arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm.

The City Attorney also filed a lawsuit against Erik Cutshaw, a known associate of the SFV Peckerwoods gang, who resides at the single-family residence at 7244 Loma Verde Avenue in Canoga Park. Also named as a defendant is his brother, Kenneth Cutshaw, the owner of the property. This property is 500 feet away from the Canoga Park Branch Library.

Erik Cutshaw has been arrested at least three times since 2012 in connection with criminal activity at the property. In November 2016, Defendant Erik Cutshaw was arrested by LAPD and ATF officers for illegal sales of narcotics and illegal sales of a 9 mm handgun, magazines, and ammunition during an undercover operation. Officers recovered 36 stolen automotive radiators stored onsite.

Another location, 7756 Farralone in Canoga Park was informally abated by the City Attorney after Erik Cutshaw was arrested for allegedly planting a pipe bomb under a vehicle parked outside the property, a residence of a rival gang member. The bomb exploded at that location, which is directly across the street from Columbus Middle School. The City Attorney has successfully worked to cease the gang and nuisance activity at the 7756 Farralone property and it is not the subject of any of the lawsuits. All occupants have been evicted, and the property is currently listed for sale.

The filed lawsuits involving the 16440 Index property in Granada Hills and the 7244 Loma Verde property in Canoga Park seek an injunction prohibiting gang and criminal activity on each property, removal of any fortifications and structures that inhibit the service of search warrants, and prohibiting the installation of surveillance cameras, among other safety provisions. The injunctions will also prohibit any members or known associates of the San Fernando Valley Peckerwoods, or any other criminal gang, from accessing the properties at any time.

Feuer also recently established an easy-to-use online method through which residents may report properties with gang and/or narcotics activity in their neighborhoods. He’s asking residents to report these properties by calling his office at (213) 978-8340 or visiting the City Attorney’s website: www.lacityattorney.org. All reports may be made anonymously.

 

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Oct 012016
 

Flag of the State Of California

Fresh on the heels of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer’s legal victory over Wells Fargo Bank, the State of California suspended some of its business with Wells Fargo.
In an unprecedented move, the State treasurer, John Chiang, pulled much of the State of California’s banking, including large municipal bond deals and the State’s investments in securities, from Wells Fargo.
The State of California put some of its dealings with Wells Fargo on hold for at least one year and will monitor the bank’s adherence to the terms of a consent order it signed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The business relationship between the State and Wells Fargo might be restored after one year provided the bank proves its commitment to ethical business practices.

Let’s hope that the loss of the bank’s most profitable business relationship will force San Francisco-based Wells Fargo to reevaluate its business practices as well as its current leadership and possibly even its governance structure. (John G. Stumpf, is currently both, Wells Fargo’s CEO and chairman.)

 

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