The landlords of a Pico Boulevard warehouse that became the focus of legal actions by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office in the wake of the Ghost Ship building blaze in Oakland in December that killed 36 people have filed court papers challenging a Fire Department order to evict all tenants, including those of a commercial nature.

Sky High Investments Co. owns the building at 931 Pico Blvd., which lawyers for the City Attorney’s Office previously dubbed “a tragedy waiting to occur.” The city maintains that the property owners unlawfully built 50 or more dwelling places in the warehouse and that the construction of the units was never inspected, evaluated or approved.

A representative for the City Attorney’s Office could not be immediately reached for comment on the Sky High petition.

In December, the city began civil and criminal proceedings regarding the Pico warehouse. In addition, a judge appointed a receiver to help relocate residential tenants. Sky High appealed and alleges in a Los Angeles Superior Court petition filed Wednesday that city officials in April met to “determine how to bypass the legitimate judicial processes and to bypass the (landlords’) constitutional rights.”

The LAFD subsequently issued orders for all tenants to leave, the petition states.

“Not only did the LAFD not provide (Sky High) with a hearing at which evidence could be presented and scrutinized … but the LAFD also did not provide (Sky High) with any modicum of process whatsoever,” the petition alleges.

The petition asks that the order to vacate be nullified and that Sky High be granted a “hearing in a manner consistent with their due process rights.”

The residential tenants have filed their own legal action against Sky High and other defendants that is awaiting trial.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council approved nearly $383,000 in emergency relocation assistance for residents ordered to vacate the Pico Boulevard building, as well as another warehouse with the same owner, on June 28.

–City News Service

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