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City attorney announces crackdown on illegal senior living facilities

SAN DIEGO — The owners and operators of two illegal care facilities in San Diego where elderly and dependent adults were living in allegedly deplorable conditions are facing misdemeanor criminal charges, City Attorney Mara Elliott announced Monday.

“We entrust elder care facilities with the safety and well-being of some of our community’s most vulnerable residents,” Elliott said. “When unscrupulous landlords and operators set up substandard, unlicensed care facilities, they jeopardize the precious lives of those who depend on them and violate our most basic values of compassion and care.”

The charges against Petra Garcia Navarro and Silvina Sandoval Torres concern a six-bedroom unlicensed residential care facility at 3505 Sparling St. in Redwood Village, Elliott said. Petra Navarro is the operator and Torres is the owner of the facility, which operated under the name “Angel House” and “Hogar Dulce Hogar, LLC,” or “Home Sweet Home.”

The charges against Jaquelinne Aguirre Navarro and Martha Alicia Bragg concern an allegedly substandard facility at 935 Kostner Drive in Otay Mesa West that Navarro operates and Bragg owns.

In June, according to Elliott, inspectors from the City’s Code Enforcement Division inspected the Sparling Street facility, where 11 elderly and dependent residents lived, and found:

— extensive infestations of mice, scabies and roaches;

— a lack of egress or exits;

— no telephone on the premises for residents to report medical emergencies;

— unsafe electrical fixtures;

— un-permitted plumbing; and

— poor sanitation, including feces in the community shower and the odor of urine in the house.

In addition, the victims were barred from the kitchen, depriving them of access to food and water, Elliott alleged.

Petra Navarro and Torres are charged with operating an unlicensed residential care facility.

Petra Navarro is additionally charged with willful cruelty to nine elderly residents and two dependent adults residing at the Sparling Street residence. She and Silvina Torres are also charged with more than a dozen other Health and Safety and City Municipal Code violations, Elliott said.

On Aug. 2, the City Code Enforcement Division posted a notice at the Sparling Street facility ordering Petra Navarro and Torres to vacate the building, pay relocation benefits to the 11 residents and make repairs. They did not comply, according to Elliott.

Five days later, city attorney investigators discovered that all of the occupants were gone from the facility. Investigators found seven of them at a facility on Kostner Drive, the home of Petra Navarro’s daughter, Jaquelinne Navarro, according to the City Attorney’s Office. The elderly residents had reportedly been transported in the back of a pickup truck, according to Elliott.

An inspection of the Kostner Drive facility revealed similar Health and Safety and City Municipal Code violations to those on Sparling Street, Elliott said.

Jaquelinne Navarro and Bragg are charged with a host of Health and Safety and Municipal Code violations. Petra and Jaquelinne Navarro are also charged with willful cruelty to seven victims at the Kostner Drive facility.

One elderly occupant was being housed in a garage that lacked ventilation, Elliott said, and another was found in a tent on the side of the house. All were suffering from heat exposure, and most of them were transported to local hospitals for medical treatment and evaluation, according to Elliott. All seven have been removed from the Kostner Drive facility.

According to Elliott, the City Attorney’s Office has secured $26,620, or $2,420 per victim, from city funds. The money can be used for relocation and residential expenses.

The City Attorney’s Nuisance Abatement Unit will seek to recover those costs from Petra Navarro and Silvina Torres at an administrative hearing set for Nov. 28.

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