OCEANSIDE, Calif. - (Editor’s update, 5/14/2013: Ali Golchin was awarded more than $2,000 in rent and $9,000 in attorney fees in an eviction case. As of this writing, he still faces a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations. That case currently is in the discovery phase. 10News will post further updates as developments happen.)
A local couple is at the center of a lawsuit that claims they abused their power as landlords.
Two tenants have filed suit, claiming they are living in a rundown apartment and were threatened with deportation.
In the back of a bedroom closet, Apolonio Rosas showed Team 10 a wall filled with what he said is mold. He also showed Team 10 what he said are taped-up mouse holes, along with photos showing rodent droppings.
Against the living room wall is a broken heater, and Rosas said the sinks are often clogged. Additionally, Rosas said the screen to the front door is ripped, the living room windows don't lock and many outlets don't work.
Rosas and his mother pay $1,250 a month in rent.
"I feel exploited and a bit agitated," said Rosas.
Rosas said things got bad a year and a half ago when they got their new landlords -- attorney Ali Golchin and his wife, Mahshid Hamidi, a doctor of family medicine.
In a just-filed lawsuit, Rosas said his landlords have let the apartment become uninhabitable, and when Rosas started withholding rent, he said he got a text from Golchin that read, "It is in your best interest not (to) get the courts or sheriff involved. They sometimes call immigration."
"They're taking advantage of my client's immigration status to rent them a piece of filth," said Rosas' attorney Dan Gilleon.
On the phone, Golchin told Team 10 the text was "not a threat. I was helping them out by giving them information. The idea of a threat is appalling."
Golchin added, "I've made $10,000 in repairs. I've asked them to move out so we could make more repairs and they refused."
It's a request Rosas claims didn't happen. While he said some repairs have been made, he said it's far from enough.
"Nobody should have to live like this. Nobody," said Rosas.
Rosas said he and his mother plan to move out within the next two months.
Golchin vows to vigorously fight the lawsuit.