When: Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 10:00 a.m.
Where: The Madison Hotel, 423 E. 7th Street, Downtown LA
Who: Residents of the Madison Hotel, and advocates and attorneys from Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN), Inner City Law Center, Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
What: Press Conference and action regarding multiple and ongoing tenants’ rights violations by building management
On Tuesday, October 6, 2015, residents of the Madison Hotel will hold a press conference to demand an end to the ongoing harassment, poor conditions, and illegal business practices they have faced from William Holdings Property, LLC, which took over building management earlier this year. Tenants — most of whom are low-income and/or disabled — have filed formal complaints regarding these violations, including conditions that endanger their lives such as blocked fire exits, and as a result have been met with illegal intimidation and retaliatory behavior from William Holdings. Residents and organizers believe this behavior and illegal reduction in services are attempts to push tenants out of the building.
Tenants will be joined at the press conference, and their tenant meeting to follow in the hotel lobby, by attorneys from Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles and Inner City Law Center who are committed to ending any illegal practices and conditions and protecting tenants against possible retaliation and evictions.
“I’ve lived in the Madison for more than three years and it is probably one of the only places I can afford to live in Downtown or anywhere in LA,” said Sharon Martin. “Since the new management took over, people in our building have been harassed, told that we can’t talk in public spaces, and threatened with illegal evictions. And it only got worse when we started to organize. Once we were forced outside to meet with organizers and the manager dumped a bucket of water on us. Many of us have been here for years and we don’t want to be pushed out of our homes.”
The Madison Hotel rests just east of Main Street in Downtown LA, an area that has experienced rapid rates of development and gentrification in recent years. Organizers from the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LA CAN) believe that William Holdings Property’s behavior is consistent with many attempts by landlords in recent years to illegally push out long-term, poor residents to clear buildings for higher income tenants.
“Unfortunately, these sort of illegal practices of reduction of services coupled with harassment and intimidation is nothing new,” said Steve Diaz of LA CAN, which has been supporting the efforts of residents to organize collectively to stop this outrageous behavior. “We’ve been working with Madison residents for years. It hasn’t been this bad in a very long time, which signals to many of us that these aren’t isolated incidents, but instead a coordinated effort to get rid of tenants. This isn’t about a few quick fix repairs or oversights. This is about illegal activities that lead to gentrification and displacement.”
After the failure of the building’s new management company to respond to multiple complaints regarding ongoing tenant rights violations, which also include illegal entry of units, destruction of property, harassment, retaliation, illegal lock outs, and general ongoing deterioration of living conditions, attorneys sent two letters to William Holdings Property, LLC, demanding that it cease the harassment and remedy the health and safety concerns. To date William Holdings has yet to substantively address these demands. Tenants, organizers from LA CAN, and the legal team will continue pursuing all options to ensure that low-income tenants are treated fairly, that all laws are upheld, and that there is no illegal displacement from the building and the community.