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Squalid College Area Independent Living Facility Ordered Shut Down

A photo of the private independent living facility taken in March 2019.

Credit: Google Maps

Above: A photo of the private independent living facility taken in March 2019.

A College Area independent living facility that officials said left its elderly and dependent residents living in squalor was ordered to shut down and its owners and operators fined more than $267,000, the City Attorney's Office announced Monday.

The 2,400-square-foot residence at 5128 Ewing Street operated as an independent living facility for more than a decade, housing more than 10 clients at a time, including senior citizens and dependent adults with developmental disabilities, according to the City Attorney's Office.

Officials say the facility operated amid overcrowded and filthy conditions, which included infestations of bedbugs, cockroaches and rodents. The City Attorney's Office said the family of one client removed their relative from the home because conditions there contributed to an infection that led to the amputation of one of his feet.

City inspectors also found a resident "lying naked and unresponsive in a dirty trash-strewn bedroom" on two separate occasions, leading to that person's hospitalization.

The city ordered the home evacuated in April of 2019 and the owners were ordered to pay the residents' relocation costs; however, a civil complaint filed by the City Attorney's Office alleges that city inspectors found residents still living there after the owners were ordered to vacate.

The facility has been the subject of 297 calls for police service, many of which dealt with suicide threats, disturbing the peace and calls for psychiatric evaluation, in addition to numerous citations for building violations dating back to 2010, such as inadequate electrical wiring, lack of carbon monoxide detectors and illegal construction.

Per a court injunction stemming from a lawsuit filed by the San Diego City Attorney's Office, property owners Yuk Yuen Yu and Beatrice Yu, property manager Michelle Lin and operator Mark Rogers are prohibited from operating any unlicensed care facilities for the elderly anywhere in San Diego County. They were also ordered to pay a combined $267,140 in civil penalties, relocation benefits and costs, with $36,000 out of those penalties to be set aside as restitution for the property's former residents.

Rogers was also charged last year with 22 misdemeanor counts, including elder abuse, petty theft, and unlawful maintenance of a public nuisance in connection with the property. A City Attorney's Office spokeswoman said the criminal case remains ongoing.

"Independent living facilities are often the only affordable accommodations available to some of our most vulnerable residents, and many are afraid to speak up about deplorable conditions or abuse for fear of retaliation," City Attorney Mara W. Elliott said. "Our Office relies on the community to report unsafe living conditions so that we can protect elder and dependent adults and hold accountable those who exploit them for financial gain."

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