After originally charging landlord Dario Pini with felony commercial burglary, the District Attorney’s Office dropped his case to an infraction Friday morning. The resolution of the case came a week after the DA’s Office had dropped the charge from a felony to an alleged petty theft misdemeanor. The $75 infraction was also dismissed because of the day Pini spent at the County Jail.
Judge Brian Hill said that after his review of the case — which included extensive settlement discussions over the past two days — there was “virtually no likelihood” that the DA’s Office would be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Pini had prior intent to steal. “The DA, I think in this case, is doing the right thing,” Hill said.
Pini was arrested in March for allegedly stealing construction materials of limited value from a property that did not belong to him, located at 318 West Carrillo Street.
Joshua Lynn, Pini’s attorney, said the case's outcome was appropriate. “He certainly meant no offense to anybody,” Lynn said, explaining Pini has ongoing arrangements with several contractors that allows him to take materials that are no longer useful at certain sites. Lynn said his client is “utterly dedicated” to reusing and recycling materials.
In this case, Lynn said, Pini mistakenly thought the property was owned by a particular family, but was wrong. He was there for 20 to 30 minutes in broad daylight and didn’t take anything, Lynn said. “It was clearly a mistake,” he went on.
Pini's arrest came months after the city filed a major lawsuit against him, alleging that many of his properties were public nuisances. And it came weeks before the City Council shut down a proposed project of his on the Westside in a hearing where Pini’s reputation as a slumlord was a central theme.