Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday that his office has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a San Fernando Valley hotel alleged to be a hotspot of drug dealing, prostitution and violent gang crime.
“Families should not have to tolerate illegal behavior in their own backyard,” Feuer said. “We will seek an injunction to hold these owners accountable for their property. We need to stop the crime and take back our communities.”
The lawsuit was filed against Vimal Inc., Vimal Nanu Patel, Nanubhai M. Patel, and Lalitaben N. Patel, the owners of the Hyland Motel, an approximately 40-room motel located at 7041 Sepulveda Blvd. in Van Nuys.
Feuer’s office alleges the owners have enabled criminal activity at the property and seeks an injunction prohibiting narcotics and prostitution activity as well as the implementation of physical and managerial upgrades to the property, including a video surveillance system accessible by the Los Angeles Police Department, improved lighting and other changes.
An employee who answered the phone at the Hyland Motel said none of the owners were there.
“Let this serve notice to business owners who are creating havens for criminal activity in our neighborhoods, we are not going to let this continue,” said City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who represents the Van Nuys area. “We are bringing every resource available from the city to deal with this problem — an issue I have been committed to since I took office.”
Feuer’s office said the hotel has been the location of at least three dozen arrests or other violent criminal activities at or connected to the property since 2015 through April, including the purchase of cocaine and methamphetamine three times from three different dealers within the past month.
Feuer’s office also said that in December, LAPD officers recovered heroin, methamphetamine and narcotics packaging material from a known gang member living at the motel for at least six months, who had equipped his room with counter-surveillance equipment.
Between January 2015 and April 2018, LAPD officers made at least a dozen arrests at or connected to the motel for prostitution-related crimes, Feuer’s office said.
The lawsuit also seeks an order requiring the owners to reside in the motel until all alleged gang and prostitution activity is significantly reduced.