Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Mik gets correction notice, evicts tenant


MIK HOUSE — District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco has two unpermitted apartments behind his house in a rural portion of El Dorado Hills, which he was allegedly renting until recently. He was in court last week evicting the last of his tenants, who did not go quietly. Democrat photo by Mike Roberts

From page A1 | March 27, 2013 | 10 Comments

District 1 Supervisor Ron Mikulaco won permission to evict tenant Casey McCoy in Unlawful Detainer court hearing on March 22. Judge Stephen B.R. Keller also ordered McCoy to pay the supervisor $1,563.33 for back rent and filing fees.

The victory came with the revelation that Mikulaco was renting two unpermitted apartments attached to the home in a rural portion of District 1 zoned for one dwelling, two with proper permits, per 5 acres.

El Dorado County Code Enforcement Officer Judy Hickenlooper found “two detached carports converted to studio apartments without permits,” and a “travel trailer set up for occupancy without permits” in early January, according to case notes in the county’s Land Management Information System.

Mikulaco declined to say what, if any, part he had in building out the apartments, referring the Mountain Democrat to his attorney Stephen Valentine, who likewise declined to comment on the alleged building code and zoning infractions. “This was an unlawful detainer, an eviction proceeding, that’s all,” he said after court.

McCoy is the last tenant on site. He has two automotive restoration projects and a boat under tarps on the rural parcel. He argued in court that the apartment was never a legal rental, and requested another 60 days to find a place to live and store his vehicles.

“If we accept your argument, you are trespassing,” said Keller.

McCoy rented the apartment for $700 a month in October of 2011. Rent included electricity, water and an Internet connection, he said. There was no written lease, although McCoy argued in court that he and Mikulaco had a “12-month verbal agreement.”

Keller ruled the rental agreement was month-to-month and terminated it.

Outside of court McCoy spoke with the Mountain Democrat and outlined a litany of problems that began when he moved in: The apartment had no heat, kitchen stove or cabinets. The roof leaked in the bedroom and when it rained hard the runoff flowed into the kitchen, the result of an improperly sealed foundation, he said.

Mikulaco rectified the stove and cabinet deficiencies within the first three months but the other problems remained outstanding for the duration of his tenancy, said McCoy.

The Code Enforcement investigation was triggered by a complaint from a neighbor, according to Valentine.

Mikulaco received a Notice to Correct from the county on Jan. 15, 2013. The following week he told McCoy about the investigation and informed him that he’d have to vacate.

In court McCoy defended his subsequent decision to stop paying rent as a reaction to the unsafe living conditions and Mikulaco’s alleged unresponsiveness. He started to argue that the apartment didn’t meet habitability standards defined in California state law, but was stopped short by Judge Keller, who informed him that he had relinquished tenant rights when he stopped paying rent in February.

Valentine filed for a three-day notice to pay rent or quit against McCoy in early February. It was delivered on or about Feb. 15.

“We were going to give him 60 days, but then he stopped paying rent,” said Valentine.

McCoy told the Mountain Democrat that the other apartment had similar problems and was occupied by a series of short-term tenants. An old travel trailer on the rural site was also occupied until recently, he said; none were heated. “You could see your breath in there,” said McCoy.

An eviction notice will be posted on McCoy’s door this week, said Valentine. Sherriff’s deputies will return the following Tuesday or Thursday to either remove the door or install a new lock, he added.

Earlier last week Mikulaco spoke with the Mountain Democrat and defended his actions. “I’m following the rules. I got a notice to correct. I’m fixing it,” he said.

A notice to correct is not a violation, he said. “I’m not asking for special treatment.”

He conceded that until recently he had a homeless vet camping in a travel trailer on his property, and said the trailer was scheduled to be hauled off.

Valentine played down the case’s significance.

“Things like this happen all the time,” he said. “They tell you to get a permit … or they tell you the zoning isn’t right.”

In many cases the structure was built before the code or zoning was in place, he added.

In this case, “The minute he’s out of there we’re compliant,” said Valentine.

After the hearing McCoy said he was “floored” that he was being asked to pay Mikulaco $1,563.33 and vowed to fight the judgment. “I’m a Marine, that’s what we do.”

The former Marine called Mikulaco a “slumlord” during and after the hearing. “He knew this was never a legal place to rent.”

Development Services Director Roger Trout was adamant that Mikulaco’s case was handled like any other. “We have over 1,000 code enforcement cases open at any time,” he said. “Any structure with someone living in it gets priority.”

Provisions in the County Zoning Ordinance section 7.12.030 make zoning violations a misdemeanor offense, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 fine and/or six month jail time.

“We’d have to send it to the DA, and that would only happen if they fail to comply after we investigate,” said Trout.

Similar enforcement provisions exist in current building codes, he said.


Discussion | 10 comments

  • SparkyMarch 27, 2013 - 6:08 am

    Calling all haters and GOB conspiracy wonks. Where is the venom, the outrage, the slander? The sound of hypocrisy - crickets....

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  • Ken SteersMarch 27, 2013 - 6:52 am

    Sparky, I don't think that anyone anywhere has ever accused Mr Mikulaco of being a political establishment insider. Also in today's turbulent times, it is becoming increasingly hard to wrap oneself around a story of homeless ex-marines being granted shelter. Considering Placerville has a park full of homeless people, this might just be status quo for the foreseeable future. Absorbing what the MD writer has stated. It is a lesson to everyone that in a legal matter it is always wise to continue to honor a contract, in this case pay your rent. That way the judge will have to rule on the merits.

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 27, 2013 - 6:59 pm

    This place is one of the several former Dixon Ranch properties, which most of us who knew them and knew ranching then know they were built largely without a lot of county supervision because the codes back then were very few. Every ranch property usually had in addition to the owners house, a few cabins, bunkhouses, line shacks, additions, garages, barns or whatever for the hired help and ranch needs. This was an old custom. It is only now with the modern codes that it becomes an issue because the ranches have been sold off into small parcels. It seems to me more vets who need a place to call home should be allowed a waiver even if it is an rv or place to camp for awhile on property.

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  • former tenantMarch 27, 2013 - 7:40 pm

    Just want to let you know that the tenant in the trailer was not a older vet. The guy was in his 20's and had a job, ron is a lier and will say anything to make you feel like he's the victom. I had the same problems with ron as McCoy had and that's why I was only their for 3 months. The propane would run out and he wouldn't file it he would just jery rig 5 gal bottles. He is a slumlord!

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  • former tenantMarch 27, 2013 - 7:43 pm

    The addition is not a old addition either he just did the about 3 years ago

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  • Janet SchultzMarch 27, 2013 - 10:51 pm

    The abode in question was rented in October of 2011. Supervisor Mikulco swore to uphold the honor of the constituency. His statement, "once the tenant is evicted, I will be in compliance" does not rise to the level of ethical behavior does it? A saying comes to mind, "if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to hear it, did the tree make a sound?" It is obvious even though ranks (court issued the order and backrent and refused to hear extenuating circumstances) have closed that Mr. Mikulco was indeed a slumlord. Nice that he smoozed his way into the political system.

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  • SparkyMarch 28, 2013 - 7:16 am

    Once elected, outsiders become insiders and there is no return route. GOB rhetoric is a simplistic stereotype portrayal by haters of the insider vs outsider. Hard to believe that the strawberry king of EDH could not follow the rules and is a slum landlord. What the apologists are really saying is that they prefer their insider over someone else's insider. Don't we all...

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  • VeteranMarch 28, 2013 - 8:37 am

    What is it that the former Supervisor John Knight followers hate so much about Mikulaco? Could it be though his energy and hard work he out maneuvered the GOB and the Elections Office ability to control him, maybe its that some worry as a veteran he will become the face of El Dorado County veterans or maybe its as simple as he wont do what he’s told? As for the rent issue, dealing with 20 year olds who for the first few times in their lives have to pay rent are always a difficult situation, even the County has rentals that aren’t perfect. I’ve had rentals/tenants for 40 years, and dealing with tenants it’s never what you think it will be, and no rental is perfect.

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  • VeteranMarch 28, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    Several months ago I was shocked to hear an active republican , veteran and elected Official state during a discussion about then newly elected supervisor Mikulaco, "we need to get rid of that guy,"

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  • 1036-FrankMarch 29, 2013 - 9:29 am

    The ruling faction of Gob's hate an outsider to come in and send one of their own packing. They try to control all aspects of the county and other politicians. This is being seen by outvoting the new guy on a developer requested re-zone which was totally opposed by the people living near it and already there is trouble. It is time to find a new slate of candidates to defeat these interconnected Gob's who's corruption is rampant and counter productive to the resident's interests.

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