Dario Pini

Paul Wellman

Dario Pini

Dario Pini Settles with City Hall

Notorious Landlord Fined and Ordered to Make Repairs

Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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High profile landlord Dario Pini and attorneys for the City of Santa Barbara have reached a settlement over the 64-count complaint they filed last fall alleging that Pini systematically kept 27 rental properties in serious sub-par conditions to the detriment of both his tenants and his neighbors.

According to the proposed settlement, Pini will pay a fine of $35,000; he will also pay an indeterminate amount to hire well-known attorney — and former district attorney — Stan Roden to serve as special master to for the next five years. As such, Roden will be responsible for keeping Pini on track with repairs in a timely fashion, meeting with Pini every quarter to ensure the work gets done.

The settlement is not limited to the 27 properties named in the complaint filed last November by City Attorney Steve Wiley; instead, it encompasses all properties Pini owns within city limits. Should Wiley conclude the process is not working, he still can file an order to show cause with Judge Coleen Stern. Should that occur, the judge would also solicit Roden’s opinion on the matter before rendering a decision. Pini’s attorney Larry Powell described the settlement as “innovative and creative.”

Certainly, it is far less severe than what Wiley initially proposed. Wiley had sought civil fines up to $16,000 a day for each property. In addition, he demanded that Pini’s vast real estate empire be placed in a court receivership, meaning that Pini would lose effective control of his own properties. Wiley has long complained that Pini plays a game of cat-and-mouse with city enforcement officers, cleaning up problem properties only when legal action is threatened and only just enough to address specific allegations, but never providing the sort of ongoing management to make the problem stay away.

In this instance, Powell said his client cleaned up all the alleged problems within 30 days; some, in fact, had been resolved before the lawsuit was ever filed. By appointing Roden as special master, City Hall can keep such disputes out of court — at least initially — thus saving considerable time and money. Pini and Wiley go back decades as legal adversaries with Wiley putting Pini in jail in the early 1990s after a concerted enforcement action launched by the Santa Barbara Police Department.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

And as we all know, replacing damaged parts costs Pini nothing!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 30, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

$35K will be taken out of the petty cash drawer.

Roden better be one great big hard *** or Pini will play him like a pinball machine.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 12:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Pini: SB's own Teflon Don. Does he have something on city officials? Are they in cahoots? I can't imagine any other reasons for Pini's lax treatment over the years.

banjo (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 8:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

He's making the repairs anyway and still has to pay Roden and a $35K fine. How much time and money could he have saved just by keeping his properties maintained well in the first place?

Botany (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 8:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

And don't forget lawyer fees. He must be a Republican, he'll be challenging Doreen Farr next.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 9:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Stan Roden is the greatest choice to work with Dario Pini. Roden is careful, well prepared, assertive without being aggressive, and very very smart. The choice, whoever made it, is excellent.

drdan93109 (anonymous profile)
July 31, 2013 at 2:23 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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