The owner and operator of the Cathay Manor in Chinatown was charged with 16 misdemeanors related to allegedly unmaintained and inoperable elevators in the 16-story apartment building for low-income seniors, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Thursday.

“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. Nobody — especially older adults — should be trapped as we allege has happened here,” said Feuer.

The charges were filed against C.C.O.A. Housing Corporation and its CEO and President Gong (Donald) Toy. Toy did not immediately respond to a request for statement.

According to the City Attorney’s Office, the Department of Building and Safety received an anonymous complaint that both elevators were out of service at the 270-unit building at 600 N. Broadway. An inspector visited the facility and confirmed that the elevators were inoperable. C.C.O.A. Housing Corporation was issued a notice to repair the elevators, and one elevator was repaired when an inspector revisited the building a week later.

However, the Department of Building and Safety received another complaint about the elevators being inoperable on Oct. 15, and an inspector confirmed that both elevators were out of service. A notice to repair was issued, but during the follow-up inspection the two elevators were still out of service.

The case was submitted to the City Attorney’s Office after a final inspection last week, which showed that the elevators were still broken. Inspectors also found that the elevators hadn’t been tested or maintained in compliance with the Los Angeles Fire Department’s fire safety protocols for building’s fire protection equipment. As a temporary measure, the building is under a fire watch by the LAFD.

Los Angeles City Councilman Gil Cedillo, who represents Chinatown, said the city is working to get one elevator manually operable within 48 hours while the second elevator is modernized.

“While I understand the supply chain issue due to the pandemic and the difficulty to get the elevator parts for an old elevator that was built by a company that is no longer in business, my paramount concern is for the safety and access of the seniors and tenants in Cathay Manor. My office had brought together the Housing Department, Department of Building and Safety to fix the elevator previously. The elevator was later inspected and tagged as being non-compliant because the elevator would not stop appropriately on certain floors. My office again brought the appropriate city departments, including the Housing Department, Department of Building and Safety and the City Attorney’s Civil Branch, to work on immediate solutions to have at least one of the elevators to be in operation,” Cedillo said.

The 16 charges against C.C.O.A. and Toy are related to the alleged failure to address inoperable elevators over the last two months, the alleged failure to properly maintain and repair the building and equipment inside the building, the alleged failure to test and maintain equipment in accordance with the fire department’s fire safety protocols and their alleged failure to comply with the city’s orders to comply with the law. Each misdemeanor is punishable by up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in the county jail.

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