The multifaceted and long-drawn-out process of settlement in the even more long-drawn-out Lincoln Place litigation has apparently passed another milestone with the resolution of the related lawsuit between property owner AIMCO and the City of Los Angeles. John Murdock, the lawyer representing the Lincoln Place Tenants Association, said that while he has not actually seen ink on paper, he has “word from competent and relevant sources” that AIMCO and the City have “reached agreement” subject to formal approvals.
Lincoln Place is a 38-acre apartment complex in Venice that originally consisted of 795 units in 52 buildings built between 1949 and 1951 in an open, garden-like setting, east of Lincoln Boulevard and south of Rose Avenue in the City of Los Angeles – a paradigm of affordable housing for its time that could once again provide shelter desperately needed in the community now. Some of the 52 buildings were demolished (sparking litigation), and many tenants were evicted (more litigation) or accepted relocation packages (as a result of “threats, omissions, and misstatements” according to yet more litigation) as owners of the property sought to replace the buildings with new higher-density condominiums. Today, Lincoln Place is all but vacant, with less than a dozen households occupying the property.
In August 2009, a comprehensive settlement agreement was signed by representatives of the parties to multiple lawsuits, potentially ending the 20-year Lincoln Place saga that had pitted tenants against a succession of owners of the property. [Santa Monica Mirror, September 17-23, 2009] That agreement was subject to ratification by some 162 households of present and former tenants and to certain other contingencies, including the resolution of pending litigation between current property owner AIMCO (Apartment Investment and Management Company and its affiliates) and the City.
Murdock confirmed to the Mirror that the individual tenant approval requirements have been met, and said that a settlement of the AIMCO/City litigation would be a major step forward in what he called the “multifaceted” settlement package.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, whose 11th District includes the Lincoln Place property, said that he was “very optimistic” as “we’re in the process of putting together a common release.” He noted that any settlement “will go to a committee on the Council and then the full City Council for final action,” but added that “all indications are that all parties are on the same wave length.” He acknowledged “tremendous support from the community and from new City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.”
AIMCO Director of Corporate Communications Cindy Duffy declined comment except to say that she expected to be able to release a “joint statement” in the near future.
At the time of signing the August 2009 agreement, AIMCO and the tenants association issued a joint statement describing the settlement as one that would “help pave the way for a redevelopment of the property, including rehabilitation of existing structures, return many of the tenants to Lincoln Place, and help the return of much-needed rental housing to the Westside of Los Angeles.” Court documents obtained by the Mirror at that time indicated that the settlement involved not only the return of many dispossessed tenants to Lincoln Place and the long-delayed rehabilitation and redevelopment of the property, but the payment of settlement money to be allocated among tenants.
Anticipated AIMCO applications to the City in connection with the future development/rehabilitation of the property may include more specific disclosure of the detailed terms of the settlement.