HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (FOX 11) - Is a building in Hollywood an artists collective, illegal housing, or a magnet for crime?
Depending on whom you ask, it could be all three.
4:30 Wednesday morning, the LAPD raided the building at 6362 Hollywood Boulevard.
In all, nearly 70 people, including four minors were detained.
Police say, they entered the building looking for guns and drugs.
They found it, but the bigger problem seemed to be the people living in the space, approved only as a commercial property.
Ultimately, police claim they found suspects and at least one person with a felony warrant, but most were cited for trespassing.
City council member Mitch O’Farrell called the property owner a, “stereotypical slumlord.” And, vowed to “... go after him, whatever it takes to bring his enterprise down, because he is accommodating crime in Hollywood...”
I asked him, if the city would do anything to help the displaced. He countered my description of those removed from the building and called them “squatters living in anarchy.”
But Bill Nowell said, he’d been there since 2016 as a paying tenant. He called his space an art studio, but admitted he had no other residence.
Eddie Miller claimed he, too, had a lease agreement with Denley Investment. He said, his rent was $1500 per room and he rented two of them. He set them up as recording studios, then charged people to use them.
Both men told me, in December the management company refused to take their December rent; then sometime in March, they were individually told, they needed the leave, for NOT paying their rent.
Bill said, he was willing to pay and pay the back rent, but he claims he never heard back from he company.
We met Eddie as he worried about all of his equipment and personal things, including his cellphone and wallet.
He yelled at the attorney, Amir Amini, for Denley to give back his security deposit. Things got heated, but eventually, he calmed down and said, he got a check for part of his deposit.
Amini also agreed to return to the building to help people retrieve their property.
He, personally, had access to the building and we saw him yelling out a window, to a man who directed him to find his valuables.
But Amini couldn’t find them. He became the messenger of bad news, for tenants who say, they lost expensive jewelry, wallets and the place they called a live/work space.
But the city of LA might it saved their lives by keeping them out of a dangerous building and fire hazard.
Portions of video used in this story are restricted to the Los Angeles area.