Takedown of Frank McHugh

Times staffers Jessica Garrison and Kim Christensen went big on Sunday's page one with an expose on oft-accused L.A. slumlord Frank McHugh. Money grafs:

For more than 50 years, McHugh, 84, has bought apartment buildings mostly in Los Angeles' poorer neighborhoods and filled them primarily with immigrant tenants. And for at least a generation, he has been investigated, cited and denounced by city and county officials. Almost three decades ago, then-City Atty. Ira Reiner accused McHugh of dealing in "blood money" and threatened to send him to jail.

But McHugh continued to buy more properties and build an ever-longer record of flouting health and safety codes.

Prosecutors say McHugh told them last summer that he owned more than 140 Los Angeles properties, which by various estimates housed more than 8,000 people. Many of his buildings have fallen prey to rats, cockroaches and mold, and are plagued by inoperative plumbing and rotting ceilings that cave in with regularity, according to court records.

As part of a plea deal last year that kept him out of jail, McHugh "agreed to sell all of his Los Angeles rentals within three years....McHugh, of Marina del Rey, has declined repeated interview requests. His lawyer, Harold Greenberg, says McHugh is complying with the court order and that he has been targeted unfairly by authorities."

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