La Jolla landlord pleads guilty to health and safety code violations
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 04/05/19 - 08:05 AM | 2652 views | 3 3 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A La Jolla woman pleaded guilty on March 18 to five misdemeanor counts of the health and safety code involving improper maintenance, mold, and exposed electrical wiring in 2017 at the apartment complex she owns. Mahin Nobel, 71, was fined $5,000 and agreed to repair and correct code violations at the complex, located at 5344 Rex Ave. in City Heights, according to the San Diego City Attorney's office.

San Diego Superior Court Judge Carlos Varela suspended a 100-day jail sentence and set a May 17 hearing for her to show proof of compliance of repairs on terms of three years probation. She remains free on her own recognizance.

She and her late husband, John Iradj Nobel, 79, were charged in December 2017 with 10 counts involving maintenance of a substandard building. John Nobel suffered a stroke on May 31, 2018, and died last month, according to court records. The charges against John Nobel were formally dismissed March 18 in light of his death, according to Hilary Nemchik, a spokesperson for City Attorney Mara Elliott. Criminal charges, even when a person dies, must be formally dismissed in court.

All charges were also dismissed against the property manager, Devdatt Niranjanbhai Patel, 35, of Pacific Beach, as part of the settlement of the case, said Nemchik.

Mahin Nobel also pleaded guilty to unlawfully allowing graffiti to remain at the apartment complex in which the graffiti was visible from the street. She also admitted violating a land development code of not having a proper permit.

Other charges of improper maintenance, inadequate heating, infestation of insects and rodents, and general dilapidation were dismissed after Mahin Nobel pleaded guilty to five counts.  Her attorney could not be reached for comment.

A Dec. 20, 2017, press release from the city attorney said seven refugee families from the Republic of Congo moved into the complex with a Swahili interpreter and assistance from Catholic Charities in June through Sept., 2016. The families had complained about bathroom leaks, old equipment, broken doors, and other issues.

In a separate proceeding, an administrative law judge ordered the couple to pay $34,279 in relocation costs to the seven families plus a $10,000 civil penalty. The seven families were relocated by the city.

A city code inspector cited the property for exposed electrical wiring, mold, expired fire extinguishers, and other problems. The property was developed into a 12-unit complex in 1980. The Nobels purchased it in 2004 under the name of Casa De Las Palmas, LLC.

Some of the exit and fire violations occurred when the apartments were illegally converted from two-bedroom units into three or four-bedroom units, according to the city attorney's office.

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