It seems fitting somehow that Nadya Mahdavi, the landlord at the heart of the mystery about who’s killing my neighborhood, surrendered to police a month to the day after she failed to show up in court.
Mahdavii faces several charges that could carry six months in jail and $1,000 fines growing out of the illegal conversion of a modest single family house in my neighborhood into a tenement with three apartments and a dozen rooms.
Jessica Tarman, in Councilman Dennis Zine’s office, alerted me that Mahdavi was arrested Thursday night. Zine, who took an intense interest in the case after we had a confrontation over how it was being handled months ago, had wanted me to join him in making the arrest but police brass nixed the idea.
Tarman didn’t know much else so I called Chief Inspector Frank Bush of the Building and Safety Department who filled in a few sketchy details. An officer left a note at one of the houses where Mahdavi was believed to live and got a call from an attorney who met the suspect at the Devonshire Division station where she turned herself in.
She was booked and posted the $5,000 bail on her warrant and then released. Her company, Fidelity Investments LLC has a Nov. 5 date in Van Nuys Courthouse, Bush said
The Watch Commander at Devonshire Division, Sgt. Walters, wasn’t on duty last night so he couldn’t add much. And yes, they took a booking photo but no, you can’t have it because it’s against policy.
Very routine, happens everyday kind of crime, not the stuff of best-selling mysteries.
But it’s not that way for my neighbors. This is a drama that started back in February and there’s no end in sight despite the honest efforts of Building and Safety, City Attorney Don Cocek, the LAPD and Zine.
My neighbors see the house at 19952 Haynes St. as an eyesore, a cancer in their neighborhood, It undermines the quality of their lives and destroys the sense of place that they learned to love living in a quiet tract of single family homes abutting an L.A. River channel with streets designed to keep traffic to a minimum.
This is their home and in some cases has been their home for 50 years.
And there’s a tenement with a bunch of people living in it and five or six cars in the driveway or parked in front and a dog named Kashi tied up in front much of the day and the night. The residents don’t make a lot of noise and niether does Kashi but my dog Bruno — a pit bull and shar-pei mix who carries 60 pounds of jaw and muscle and latent fury from the abuse he suffered before we found him in our bushes — is so scared of Kashi from an early confrontation that he looks the other way when we walk nearby.
I understand why the system sees this problem as no big deal. This is a city where gangs run wild, drug dealing is rampant and the political system is corrupt.
So the concerns of a few people in one little tract don’t amount to a hill of beans.
But that isn’t how my neighbors feel. Or how people all over the city feel about the concerns they have. The concerns of the city’s people don’t matter much in the grand scheme of things.
That’s really what’s wrong with L.A., why there is so much discontent, so much middle class flight for so long, why L.A. is becoming a city of rich people who can take care of themselves and poor people who can’t do anythiing about it.
I believe it’s likely that justice of sorts will be done in this case. That the residents of the tenement who haven’t violated any laws will be evicted and given help by the city to find another place to live.
But how long will it take and will it really solve the mystery of who’s killing my neighborhood?