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San Diego Courts order closure of squalid independent living facility

Posted at 3:18 PM, Jun 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 12:43:55-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Monday, San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott announced that the courts officially ordered the closure of a notorious independent living facility home off Ewing Street in the College Area, following a lawsuit brought by the City last November.

“The circumstances were egregious,” Elliott told ABC 10News on Monday. She said the facility is no longer allowed to operate anywhere in San Diego County.

“It was filthy. There were bed bugs. There were roaches. The air quality was not good,” she added. Officers had reportedly been called out nearly 300 times for issues like disturbing the peace and suicide threats.

Now, the facility’s manager, operator and owners are ordered to pay a collective $267,000 in fines and restitution for victims.

Eric Ching represents the homeowners who claim they had no idea the property was being used as an independent living facility. “They’re in Hong Kong. They’re elderly…they own this property [and] have a property manager that was supposed to manage this property. They were unaware of this problem until last year,” he told ABC 10News.

Generally, independent living facilities provide the most vulnerable people with a last chance for housing before becoming homeless. This house had ten people living inside using disability checks to pay rent of up to $1,000 a month.

Elliott said the closure was part of a bigger crackdown. “It is one of our biggest objectives at the City Attorney's Office. We feel like we're the office that can stand up for the little guy…the most vulnerable [person] who otherwise would have nobody else to call,” she added.

Elliott said that the facility’s operator, Mark Rogers, is charged with elder abuse and threats in a separate criminal case, which is still unresolved in the courts.

ABC 10 News reached out to the attorneys for the other parties involved and are waiting for replies.