Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Local Housing Executives Charged with Manslaughter

Local Housing Executives Charged with Manslaughter

Amerland Criminal Charges
Will Carless
Voice of San Diego
Jun 29, 2010

Five executives at The Amerland Group, a local developer that specializes in building and operating affordable housing projects, have been charged with manslaughter and more than 100 counts of elder abuse in relation to a 2008 fire at a property they operated in Vallejo in which four people died.

The complaint filed by the Solano County District Attorney names Amerland owners Jules Arthur and Ruben Islas Jr. as defendants, in addition to three other executives who either worked at Amerland or at a subsidiary company that operated the Vallejo building.

I wrote about The Amerland Group's troubled history in this piece last summer. I described the fire and the legal fallout from it in the story.

Here's a snippet:

As the fire raged through the top floors of the building, residents, firefighters and staff went door-to-door in the complex helping the tenants evacuate the building. Four people died as a result of the fire.
No fire alarm ever sounded inside the Casa de Vallejo, according to the [Vallejo Fire Department's investigation] report. No flashing lights alerted the elderly, frail residents to the fire raging above their heads. The fire department report is clear about why the alarm didn't sound:
"Unbeknownst to the Vallejo Fire Department until after this fire, and without neither permission nor prior notification, since approximately June 2008 and up to and including this fire incident of August 15, 2008, the fire alarm contractor (SimplexGrinnell) had disabled the onsite horn and/or horn strobe devices."