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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Jamison sued over alleged rat and cockroach infestation at Westlake multifamily

Tenants say Koreatown developer knew of problems but failed to resolve them
By Dennis Lynch |
Research by Harunobu Coryne
July 11, 2018 01:13PM

Jaime Lee and 600 S. Alvarado Street/224 W. 6th Street

Tenants at a Westlake property say landlord Jamison Services failed to contain a pervasive infestation of rats, bedbugs and cockroaches.

The tenants of four units at 600 S. Alvarado Street, at the northeast corner of MacArthur Park, are suing the Koreatown giant in Los Angeles Superior Court, saying Jamison knew of the problems but failed to resolve the issues.

The plaintiffs, which include at least three children, allege that Dr. David Lee’s firm neglected the property to save money.

Jamison could not be immediately reached for comment.

The tenants claim cockroaches got as far as “invading” the beds and furniture. Rodents urinated and defecated on food and personal property. And tenants ingested “dead cockroach body parts” and “vermin allergens,” along with “excessive amounts of mold” caused by persistent water leaks.

The suit alleges other clear safety issues, including “unstable and rotten floors” and broken smoke detectors, along with broken heaters and windows. The tenants also claim the building is plagued with mold and generally in disrepair.

Inspectors investigated complaints at the property in 2005 and 2017, but did not find violations the first time. The second investigation is still pending. Jamison bought the 36,900-square-foot property in 2003 for $7.6 million.

Jamison has been accused before of failing to maintain some of the 100 commercial buildings it owns. When asked about conditions, CEO Jaime Lee told TRD that the company “never put [itself] out as Class A office market.”

Jamison’s most-recent development projects include a residential conversion of an office property on Wilshire and a new 41-story residential development project at the World Trade Center in Downtown.

Jamison historically was an office investor, scooping up dozens of properties around L.A. over the last three decades, but lately has moved into multifamily development amid strong demand in neighborhoods like Koreatown.