Elderly Residents Trapped on 16 Floors, No Elevators – City Attorney Files Charges
CHINATOWN – City Attorney Mike Feuer’s Office has filed 16 misdemeanor charges against CCOA and Gong Toy (also known as Donald Toy) who is listed on State registration documents as CCOA’s Chief Executive Officer and President of Chinatown’s Cathay Manor, a 16-story, 270-unit residential apartment building for low-income seniors. The 16 criminal counts against the owner and operator is the result of over a month’s worth of senior residents asking for help – due to inoperative elevators.
“Despite numerous orders to fix them from the City’s Department of Building and Safety (DBS),” said L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, ” the owner and operator allegedly failed to test and maintain the elevators in accordance with fire safety protocols and has been cited by Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) for fire protection violations.”
In response to a September 1st anonymous complaint of both elevators not working, a DBS official visited the Cathay Manor apartment building located in Chinatown at 600 North Broadway. The order to repair them – handed to C.C.O.A. Housing Corporation (CCOA), the California-based company that owns and manages the building – resulted in one elevator operative, in compliance under current city law.
Next, another complaint of no operating elevators was submitted on 10/15/2021, which resulted in a second order issued. The five-day follow-up DBS inspection showed no improvement for the trapped elderly residents.
To make matters worse – the elevators have neither been tested nor maintained – as outlined by LAFD’s fire-protection protocols for fire-safety equipment. The high-rise is under a fire watch by LAFD.
Last week’s final DBS inspection revealed still-broken elevators for the elderly tenants. DBS then submitted this case to to Feuer’s Office for consideration of filing of criminal charges.
Feuer announced, “It’s outrageous that vulnerable seniors living in a 16-story high-rise have endured multiple days without safe and working elevators. These are parents and grandparents having to forego daily activities like medical appointments, shopping for food or meeting with friends and family.”
All counts faced by CCOA and Toy, as CCOA Chief Executive Officer and President, are misdemeanors – punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment in the County Jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both a fine and imprisonment.
“Nobody—especially older adults—should be trapped as we allege has happened here,” declared Feuer. “We’re taking action.”