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Rough Month for Meruelo Firms; Two Plead 'No Contest' to Charges

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2008, at 03:06PM

Richard Meruelo might be glad to get out of February and move onto March with a cleaner slate. This month has seen two firms he controls settle criminal charges, both times resulting in probation and penalties.

On the 13th the Alameda Produce Market, which Meruelo owns, pled "no contest" to charges of health and building and safety offenses. In exchange for the plea, personal charges against Meruelo were dropped. The Market was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to repay the cost of prosecution. In the time since charges were initially brought the Market had invested $600,000 in bringing the facility back up to code.

Today it was Meruelo Maddux Properties who pled "no contest" to three misdemeanor counts stemming from the demolition of industrial buildings in Chinatown without the necessary permits. The seven-story building at 1060 Vignes street was demolished in September of 2005. In exchange for the plea the firm was sentenced to three years probation, $247,500 in fines, and again ordered to pay costs for prosecution.

Meruelo Maddux is largest property-owner in Downtown, and is the developer of the 717 W. 9th residential project rising next to Ralphs.

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