KORT & SCOTT UNIT FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY

Kort & Scott Unit files for Bankruptcy

by Melissa Evans Long Beach Post

After being sued for neglect, owner of North Long Beach mobile home park files for bankruptcy

The owners of Friendly Village Mobile Home Park, who have been sued by tenants over their alleged neglect of the North Long Beach park, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month, court records show.

A judge on Friday, however, ruled that a civil trial that began in mid-September will continue, said Brian Kabateck, the attorney representing the more than 100 residents who sued.

“They are doing everything they can to derail this trial,” Kabateck said of the bankruptcy filing.

The Beverly Hills attorney representing Friendly Village in the bankruptcy proceeding, Howard I. Camhi, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Phil Woog, the Costa Mesa attorney defending Friendly Village in the civil lawsuit, also did not immediately return a phone message.

The mobile home park, located at 5450 Paramount Blvd., is owned by investment firm Kort & Scott Financial Group. But the firm, which owns dozens of mobile home parks across the state, formed a subsidiary company called Friendly Village MHP Associates, L.P., to run and manage the local park. The latter company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection on Oct. 2.

As part of the bankruptcy filing, attorneys for Friendly Village unsuccessfully requested an immediate stay to a civil trial that has been underway for four weeks.

Residents of the 182-unit park contend the owner has failed to make a number of repairs and has ignored notices from the state to fix public health hazards, while raising rents by about $400.

The park was built on top of a now-closed landfill that had been operated by the city in the 1940s. As the garbage decomposes, the ground has shifted, causing roads to crack, pipes to burst, high levels of methane gas emissions and other problems, account to the residents’ lawsuit.

A bankruptcy trustee has been appointed by the courts to oversee the property while litigation is underway.

Meanwhile on Thursday, a water main broke at the park, and the residents still do not have water, the attorney for the residents said.

“My clients are using water from the swimming pool to flush their toilets,” Kabateck said.

The plaintiffs expect to finish their case by the week of Oct. 22, and the trial to be wrapped up by the end of the month or early November.

Deane Sargent and PMC Financial Services have been helping mobile home park resident groups and cooperatives to organize and find financing to buy their parks for over 20 years.

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