Pini Popped for Pilfering

Notorious Landlord Arrested on Burglary Charges

Friday, March 22, 2013
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Dario Pini, one of Santa Barbara’s better known landlords, was arrested early in the morning of March 22 for stealing construction materials of limited value from a property that did not belong to him, located at 318 West Carrillo Street. The theft for which Pini was accused occurred last Sunday afternoon. He was arrested, booked into County Jail, and reportedly released all on the same day.

Dario Pini
Click to enlarge photo


Dario Pini

Pini, who owns hundreds of rental units throughout the City of Santa Barbara, is accused of stealing copper tubing, coaxial cables, and water heater pipe tubing from a building renovation project owned by Jim Craviotto. Pini was seen taking the materials from the site by several people who dwell in one of his rental units across the street. One of the witnesses confronted Pini, who police say replied he had the owner’s permission to take the items. Police state that the witness told Pini he did not believe him and threatened to call the police. Pini, at that point, reportedly dropped the materials and left. A subsequent investigation, police say, revealed that Pini did not have Craviotto’s permission to take the materials.

Pini — well known at City Hall and to city police — was identified via a photo lineup and a warrant for his arrest was issued Thursday. He was arrested at 3:10 a.m. on Friday when police were responding to a disturbance by State Street and Cabrillo Boulevard. Police speculate that Pini — known to keep a keen ear on the police scanner — may have been on hand because he shows up frequently when his properties are involved in calls for service. Pini’s version of events is not clear as he was not available for comment, and his attorney Larry Powell said his knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the arrest was limited.

Pini had been the focus of a major public hearing Tuesday night in front of the City Council as Westside residents appealed an approval Pini had received to build a duplex at 1911 Chino Street. Neighborhood residents complained that Pini’s history as a chronic building code violator disqualified his application from consideration. Ultimately, the city council voted unanimously to send Pini’s plans back to the Architectural Board of Review for reconsideration. Councilmembers tied approval of the Chino Street project to Pini resolving any outstanding building code violations, now the subject of a massive lawsuit filed against him by the City Attorney’s office.

At that meeting, councilmembers expressed hope that Pini would turn over a new leaf when it came to building code violations. Pini has been charged on at least one previous occasion for taking materials from other people’s construction sites.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

I guess now we know why he is able to rent so cheap, and why repairs are so slow!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Basura Non Grata!

KimmieDee (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 5:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Pini has been a problem for decades now...and councilmembers expect him to "turn over a new leaf?" Really???

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 5:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In place of a gang injunction how about a Pini injunction?

Herschel_Greenspan (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 5:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In his defense, this is quite obviously yet another smoke screen by the powers that be to distract us from the Illuminati and Paula Lopez's control over Santa Barbara. Dario Pini has long been a scapegoat for the Freemasons.

At least, that's what I heard from a homeless guy at Hot Spots...

anonymau5 (anonymous profile)
March 22, 2013 at 6:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I think we're seeing a man who is cracking up.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 2:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

(This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of use policy.)

bimboteskie (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 3:30 a.m.

This is hysterical. Supposedly he's quite wealthy from all his slumlord activities, yet steals construction supplies? Brain damage, maybe?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 9:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

An enormous amount of attention to one miscreant in a town full of law breakers. Curry and his co - conspiritor Mahoey will be glad to have the limelight removed from their particular oops. Namely, the unlawful and punishable act of being party to the suppressing of evidence. One gets told he is a good guy for retiring and the other gets a pass jail card and a free trip to Rome.

samuel (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Just a minor correction to your article. Although I was the individual who reported this incident to the police after having been alerted to the situation by one of our long-term tenants I am not the sole owner of the property at 316 W. Carrillo Street. That property is jointly owned by several family members as is the property that is adjacent to the demolition site. A correction of this matter would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

jcrav (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 11:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The man is showing his true colors finally.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
March 23, 2013 at 12:34 p.m. (Suggest removal)

AZ, I think Pini has been showing his true colors for many, many years...

LegendaryYeti (anonymous profile)
March 24, 2013 at 12:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Pini has been a problem for decades now...and councilmembers expect him to "turn over a new leaf?" Really???"
-- LegendaryYeti
My thoughts exactly

SezMe (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To be fair, some people do turn their lives around. Can't hurt to hope for the best!

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 1:50 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a feeling that if Pini spent as much money on fixing up his properties as he has (or will) spend on lawyers, his properties (and his reputation) would be in much better shape.

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 2:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

This guy has been doing this type of thievery for years and IMHO he has some serious mental issues. As others have mentioned, he makes thousands and thousands of dollars in cash from all his slum properties, and still feels he must take someone else's property? He has been in trouble with local authorities for years, for exactly this type of crime, as well as zoning violations too many to list here. He buys distressed properties, then nearly destroys them by moving in illegals who are willing to pay whatever he demands and live in some of the worst conditions just to have a roof over their head.

The property at Carrillo and San Pascual is a fine example of what the "Pini machine" can do to a once thriving rental property. He bought it a few years back, evicted the resident managers and longtime residents, then proceeded to convert the apartments to "multiple person residents." Undocumented/illegal aliens live in squalor in every available piece of square footage, including turning dining rooms into bedrooms with plywood walls, and "bunk beds" stacked inside bedroom closets. It was not uncommon to see 10-15 people jammed into a one or two bedroom apartment, all paying cash to slumlord Pini for the privilege of living there. Landscaping is allowed to die, being replaced by dirt.

SBLover35 (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What's sadder still is the next owner will probably have to rent them out of middle to lower class range just to recoup the cost of repairs etc. Once decay sets in, the more expensive it is to reverse.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 6:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

One question that no one has ever answered is if Pini's properties get cleaned up and conforming to code, what happens to about 50% of the residents of his apartments that will be evicted?

Botany (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 7:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Very good question. But doesn't "code" include some definition of number of occupants. I'm a novice here. Was Pini actually under-maintaining his properties as part of a perhaps unspoken "deal" that he'd allow more than the legal number of residents if they didn't complain about his maintenance or whatever practices? Is it possible that the city has been looking the other way, as they do for "illegal" rentals, in the belief that Pini and his ilk actually provide a valuable service? Scary thought.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
March 25, 2013 at 9:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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