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City pursues owners, operator of squalid independent living facility

Posted at 4:40 PM, Nov 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-14 21:32:37-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The City of San Diego is taking legal action against the owners, operator and property manager of a independent living facility with squalid living conditions.

Ten people lived in the now-closed home on Ewing Street near San Diego State, most of them elderly. Photos from inside the home show mold on mattresses, rat feces, holes in the walls, and overflowing trash cans.

The City Attorney's office says fumes from an illegally installed water heater contaminated the interior, and the conditions were so dirty that a man's foot had to be amputated after a sore got infected.

RELATED: Residents complain of bedbugs at El Cajon independent living facility

"The mattresses are filled with bed bugs, there are mice droppings, it's awful," City Attorney Mara Elliott said.

Independent Living Facilities are unlicensed and unregulated. They are often a last chance for vulnerable people to avoid becoming homeless - paying rent with social security or disability checks.

Elliott's office is suing the owners, property manager, and operator, who could be forced to pay up to $1 million.

Additionally, operator Mark Rogers is being charged with 22 misdemeanors. Rogers also owns an independent living facility in El Cajon, where a tenant was murdered with a frying pan late last year.

RELATED: Man charged with elder abuse for operating 'squalid' home in College Area

The home on Ewing is known to police, who have responded to 300 calls over the last six years, mostly for disturbing the peace, suicide threats, and psychiatric evaluations.

At least one person is still living inside.

Morgan Cherry, who lives next door, said the home has a reputation in the neighborhood, but that the pictures took it to a new level.

"I had no idea how bad it was," she said.

Rogers said he is no longer operating the home. His attorney declined comment Thursday.