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Thursday, January 17 , 2019, 6:00 am | Light Rain Fog/Mist 60º


Santa Barbara Launches Surprise Safety Inspections of Dario Pini Rental, Motel Properties

Superior Court issued the inspection warrants Monday for 164 residential and motel units, to investigate health and safety violations

The Ala Mar Motel at 102 W. Cabrillo Blvd. is managed by Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini and is one of many residential and motel properties being inspected by the city for health and safety violations. Click to view larger
The Ala Mar Motel at 102 W. Cabrillo Blvd. is managed by Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini and is one of many residential and motel properties being inspected by the city for health and safety violations.  (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara city attorney’s office announced this week that it had begun surprise safety inspections on 164 residential and motel units owned by Santa Barbara landlord Dario Pini.

Santa Barbara County Superior Court issued the inspection warrants on Monday, the city attorney’s office said.

Pini’s real estate and management company, DLP Management, Inc., oversees hotels and vacation rentals, residential properties and commercial properties primarily in the Santa Barbara area.

In March, Pini pleaded no contest to violating a worker safety regulation and was sentenced to three years of probation. 

He has also been fined by the city for code violations and the lack of progress on mandated projects to repair and upgrade his properties. 

“The city has been working for many years — indeed long before I came in as city attorney — to address health and safety violations at many of Mr. Pini’s properties,” City Attorney Ariel Calonne told Noozhawk.

Handling and overseeing the inspections alongside Calonne’s office will be building and safety inspectors, zoning enforcement staff, fire enforcement officials, environmental services staff and police officers.

“I made the decision to pursue a far more aggressive enforcement approach than we’ve used in the past, so that we can get some results,” Calonne said. “We’ve had some modest success with our work with Mr. Pini. That success doesn’t satisfy me.”

In June, he had asked the City Council to fund greater enforcement resources to tackle unsafe or unlawful housing conditions.

The inspections, he said, stem from that, and aim to identify safety and health hazards to Pini’s tenants and the surrounding community.

Pini said the surprise inspections were “strictly harassment.”

“This is exactly why people voted for Donald Trump, because of the amount of taxpayer money being wasted here,” he told Noozhawk. “Over 20 city employees inspecting my apartments and hotel rooms is absolutely absurd.

“I'm sure that they'll find nothing of any value,” he added. “It's a bunch of wasted time coming here checking all my apartments.”

After the inspections, Calonne said, the city will evaluate any evidence they find to determine whether more legal action should be taken.

“Pursuant to the California Health and Safety Code, Mr. Pini will be responsible for paying relocation expenses to any residents dislocated as a result of unsafe conditions that are discovered,” the city attorney’s office said in a statement. 

“The city will advance temporary accommodation funds to dislocated residents in the event Mr. Pini does not meet his statutory obligations. The city will pursue reimbursement for the funds advanced to residents and the costs of enforcement, to the maximum extent allowed by law.”

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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