By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More than a dozen criminal charges have been filed against the owner and operator of Cathay Manor in Chinatown over the high-rise building’s broken elevators.

(credit: LA City Attorney’s Office)

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Cathay Manor, 600 N. Broadway, is a 16-story, 270-unit residential apartment building for low-income seniors. But the building’s two elevators have been in and out of service for at least a month, despite multiple Department of Building and Safety orders to get them back in service.

“It’s outrageous that vulnerable seniors living in a 16-story high-rise have endured multiple days without safe and working elevators,” LA City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. “These are parents and grandparents having to forego daily activities like medical appointments, shopping for food or meeting with friends and family.”

Sixteen misdemeanor criminal counts have been filed against CCOA Housing Corporation, the California-based company that owns and manages the building, and Gong Toy, who is listed as CCOA’s CEO and President.

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According to the criminal complaint, a city building and safety official visited the building in response to an anonymous complaint that both of its elevators were out of service on Sept. 1. After confirming that both elevators were not working, an inspector issued an order to get them repaired. CCOA repaired one of the elevators before the next inspection a week later, bringing the building into compliance.

But on Oct. 15, Building and Safety got another complaint that both elevators were out of service again. After an inspection confirmed that both elevators were broken again, a second repair order was issued – but a follow-up inspection five days later found they were still out of service. The latest inspection last week confirmed the elevators were still broken, and tenants were still without any elevator service.

Feuer’s office says that not only are the elevators not working, they have allegedly not been tested or maintained in accordance with local fire safety protocols, and is currently under a fire watch by LAFD.

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If convicted of all counts, CCOA and Toy face fines up to $1,000 and/or imprisonment in county jail of up to six months.