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Monday, May 16, 2022

City Takes Action Against Motel

L.A. city attorney and mayoral candidate Mike Feuer announced a lawsuit in late November against the owners of the 64-room Hometown Inn Motel in North Hills, calling the location a public nuisance and a “jaw-dropping” source of violence. 

The motel at 9401 Sepulveda Blvd. is alleged to be a hotspot for crime including murders, shootings, kidnappings, drug sales and crimes involving stolen cars, according to a city statement. Feuer’s lawsuit seeks to have the owners live at the motel until safety measures have been implemented.

A front desk employee of Hometown Inn said the owners, Gerald Wang and Diane Wang, are rarely at the motel, saying “we never see them,” and that alternative ways of contacting them were unavailable. The general manager of the location did not return a request for comment in time for publication, but the front desk employee said the motel was “fixing a lot of things” as a result of the suit.

“We allege this motel has been an ongoing source of violent crime, right across the street from two schools, and we’re fighting to restore safety to this neighborhood,” Feuer said in a statement. “We’re taking action in North Hills, and continuing to target alleged hotspots of gangs, guns and drugs throughout the city.”

According to the complaint, the amount and severity of crime surrounding Hometown Inn – owned by the defendants through Hometown Inn LP – has increased in the last two years. Since January 2020, according to a city statement, there have allegedly been four deaths at the motel, including a murder involving MS-13 gang members; four separate gun-related incidents; a search warrant executed by LAPD for a kidnapping suspect who was hiding there; multiple violent assaults; 12 narcotics-related arrests; and at least 22 stolen cars taken or recovered from the parking lot.

“For years, prosecutors and LAPD officers have reached out to defendants as part of their ongoing effort to work with defendants to address the nuisance activity at the property – all to no avail,” reads the lawsuit filed on Nov. 18. 

“Defendants have allowed and permitted, directly or indirectly, the property to become the public nuisance that it is to this today. For 20 years, defendants have failed to implement and maintain basic security and management measures needed to address the extensive and serious crime occurring at the property,” the suit document continued.  

The complaint cites the location’s unsecured parking lot as a particular problem, with two unsecured entries allowing for members of the public to drive in and out without a room key.

 Feuer’s lawsuit seeks to have the Hometown Inn, located directly across the street from Sepulveda Middle School and the Carlos Santana Art Academy Elementary School, declared a public nuisance. In order to have the alleged nuisance abated quickly, the suit seeks to have the Wangs live at the motel until requested improvements – such as guards, cameras covering all common areas of the motel, and security entry into the motel’s parking lot – have been implemented.

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