SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego's City Attorney is taking action against the Miramar property owner and organizer of a New Year's Eve party where a makeshift balcony collapsed, injuring several people.
City Attorney Mara Elliott cited in the complaint that property owner Bradley S. Murray and Charles Clayborne Smith, Jr. "maintained a public nuisance," among other charges in connection with several events held at 7475 Trade Street in Miramar.
Elliott says Murray and Smith had been hosting unpermitted events at the location amid the county and state's public health orders. Some of those events were reportedly streamed online, including wrestling matches and a concert with about 800 attendees. Smith, who leased the space under the business "Sindicate Entertainment Group," also hosted events that included cannabis markets, and parties with alcohol and marijuana sales, Elliott adds.
The NYE event was promoted as a "rave" featuring a DJ and a "fully-stocked bar and snacks."
About one hour before midnight, police responded to reports of a balcony collapse at the property and arrived to find a structure had fallen under the weight of attendees dancing on top of it, injuring several people. Three people were taken to the hospital.
"These defendants jeopardized the safety of attendees by permitting dancing on a poorly constructed mezzanine, and they’ve exposed countless San Diegans to COVID-19 by hosting what could be a super-spreader event during the most dangerous phase of the pandemic," Elliott said.
City inspectors said the unpermitted mezzanine was constructed using "substandard materials and was not designed to hold live weight." There were also unpermitted building and electrical modifications, and a lack of fire exits, extinguishers, and emergency lighting, according to the city.
Police had responded to complaints about events at the location in the past.
The event was held days after San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an executive order for stricter enforcement of coronavirus-related restrictions.
"I issued the City’s Executive Order to strengthen enforcement of public health orders to discourage situations like what happened in Miramar on New Year’s Eve," said Gloria.
Elliott's office is seeking a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction banning Murray and Smith from "unfair competition and from using or maintaining a property in violation of state and local laws." Her office is also seeking civil penalties, costs, and other relief.