Reporting John Brooks
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A judge on Friday rejected a bid by local labor groups to stop the construction of a Walmart store in the historic Chinatown district of Los Angeles.
But as KNX 1070′s John Brooks reports, the big-box retailer could be ordered to vacate the store if enough evidence is presented in an upcoming trial supporting allegations that the store poses an environmental hazard.
Superior Court Judge James Chalfant said allowing internal work on the building at the corner of Cesar Chavez and Grand avenues to proceed would not present any clear environmental risk to the community.
But Chalfant did set a non-jury trial date for Nov. 13 and indicated if the Asian Pacific American Labor Alliance and United Food Workers Local 770 — the two groups opposing the store — can prove their case, he could order all the work removed.
Walmart is expected to finish construction on the 33,000-square-foot grocery store by Dec. 17.
Attorney Gideon Krakov, who represents the two groups, told the judge if construction is almost finished by the time of trial, there will be enormous pressure to allow the store to open.
“The judge told them they’re building at their own risk,” said Krakov. “We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure that this project is not a fait accompli .”
The City Council passed an ordinance in March to block any big-box stores from opening in Chinatown, but the vote came after Walmart had already been issued permits from the Department of Building and Safety.