Code Enforcement Strike Teams’ Prosecution Results in Biggest Civil and Criminal Fines Ever
June 30, 2008
- An illegal boarding house owner will have to pay more than $23,900 in civil and criminal penalties.
- These fines are the largest ever resulting from a case by the Enhanced Code Enforcement Strike Teams.
- Since their inception last June, the teams have prosecuted more than 132 civil and criminal cases.
Marking its one-year anniversary, Fairfax County’s Strike Teams have won the largest fines ever against an illegal boarding house owner. The courts imposed more than $23,900 in fines against Nelson Hernandez of 5809 Hanover Ave., Springfield.
“When we created the Code Enforcement Strike Teams one year ago, the Board of Supervisors wanted to send a message into the community that willful violation of fire, health and zoning standards would not be tolerated,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Gerald E. Connolly. “The recent successes of the Strike Teams are proof that conditions are improving, and we anticipate even greater progress with a third team hitting the streets this month.”
Hernandez was convicted of violating zoning, building and fire safety codes. The strike teams found multiple occupants living in five basement bedrooms. These bedrooms lacked the required emergency exits, and the ceiling was lined with Styrofoam, creating a major fire hazard.
To date, the teams have prosecuted 132 civil and criminal cases, and the teams have investigated more than 350 cases in total. Last June, their first criminal case produced a $1,000 fine for Raimundo Guevara, co-owner of 6306 Dana Ave., Springfield. The teams also prosecuted a case last year that resulted in jail time for another boarding house owner.
This year the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors funded the creation of a third strike team. It became operational this month.
Residents can report a suspected illegal boarding house online.
The Enhanced Code Enforcement Strike Teams are responsible for investigating residential properties suspected to be illegal boarding houses or with suspected violations. While the teams first seek voluntary compliance to remedy violations, they will bring civil or criminal prosecution to stop landlords who are profiting from systematically violating zoning, building and safety ordinances.
For more information, call Merni Fitzgerald, Office of Public Affairs, at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.
Fairfax County Office of Public Affairs
12000 Government Center Parkway, Suite 551
Fairfax, VA 22035-0065
Contact: Merni Fitzgerald, Director of Public Affairs
703-324-3187, TTY 711, Fax 703-324-2010
Media Pager: 703-324-NEWS (6397)
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