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San Diego City Attorney shuts down 'COVID-19 party mansion' in La Jolla

Dozen of party complaints came during pandemic
Posted at 10:49 AM, Oct 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-23 15:55:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego City Attorney Mara W. Elliott has heard complaints from neighbors and has filed a civil enforcement action to shut down a short-term vacation rental property in La Jolla that has been dubbed a "COVID party mansion."

The complaint alleges that defendants are maintaining a public nuisance and engaging in unfair competition, including false advertising at the La Jolla Farms rental property located at 9660 Black Gold Rd. According to city officials, the rental property continues to operate in violation of state and county COVID-19 public health orders.

According to a press release, Elliott is seeking civil penalties and a permanent injunction against property owners Mousa Hussain Mushkor and Zahra Ali Kasim, property manager Nital Meshkoor, and Steven S. Barbarich, who leased the property from Mushkor and subleased it as a short-term rental.

City officials said the oceanfront mansion has been the subject of at least 30 calls to the San Diego Police Department. Officers have spent more than 173 hours at the property to investigate nuisance activity. Most of the incidents involved raucous parties, some of which had up to 300 attendees.

Elliott said about a dozen of the party complaints came during the COVID-19 pandemic, while public health orders prohibited large gatherings.

According to the press release, concerns about the property were brought to the City Attorney’s Office by San Diego police and by neighbors who reported that the situation was "becoming more pronounced as the COVID-19 pandemic progressed."

“Shutting down dangerous party houses protects the public health by preventing COVID super-spreader events and other illegal behavior,” Elliott said. “It’s unfortunate that San Diego does not have short term rental regulations in place. Relief for this neighborhood would have come much sooner. Instead we must rely on time-intensive prosecutions at significant taxpayer expense.”

According to the press release, gunfire was reported to police during a party in May of 2019. Officers arrived and found a large party in progress. Partygoers questioned by police admitted gunshots were fired during a fight that had occurred earlier. Police found shell casings outside the property and a neighbor found an additional casing the next day and turned it over to police.

The City Attorney's Office assembled evidence from investigations by SDPD, the Code Enforcement Division of the City’s Development Services Department, the County Health & Human Services Department, and the City Fire Marshal. Elliott hopes the action makes the owners clean up the property and relieves neighbors.