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Koreatown Apartment Owner Agrees to Pay $2.5 Million in Settlement of Discrimination Lawsuit Brought by Tenants

One of the five Koreatown apartment buildings cited in a 2016 lawsuit filed on behalf of 15 tenants is shown in an undated photo. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

One of the five Koreatown apartment buildings cited in a 2016 lawsuit filed on behalf of 15 tenants is shown in an undated photo. (Credit: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

A real estate investment firm has agreed to pay $2.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging that it pressured Latino and mentally disabled tenants to leave its rent-controlled Koreatown buildings so it could raise the rents.

While denying they had done anything wrong, the Century City investment firm Optimus Properties LLC and several affiliated companies agreed to abide by fair housing laws to make physical repairs to the tenants’ apartments and to ensure that property managers and onsite managers receive fair-housing training.

In a novel form of relief worked out over days of negotiations, they agreed to reserve the next seven vacancies in its buildings for tenants receiving rent subsidies under the federal Section 8 program.

Optimus also agreed to accept late rent payments from three disabled tenants who had received multiple eviction notices for delaying payment up to five days until they received their Social Security checks.

Read the full story on LATimes.com