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The Dario Pini case went from a high boil to a low simmer over the past two weeks, as the various parties met in court to hash out who will replace William Hoffman, appointed to oversee Health & Safety Code repairs on eight of Pini’s dilapidated Santa Barbara properties. Hoffman’s name was offered by Pini and his mortgage lenders in a court trial in April 2018 that culminated two decades spent by city building inspectors trying fruitlessly to get the feckless landlord to rid his apartment buildings of toxic mold, vermin, and substandard repairs.
The pent-up animosity between Hoffman and Pini was unleashed when Hoffman’s attorney, Fernando Landa, bitterly complained that for his client, the name calling and accusations of criminal conduct in open court was hard. He added that for Hoffman’s property management company, Trigild, and his law firm, the Pini receivership has been a strain.
Pini’s attorney, Paul Burns, capitalized on the moment by returning to the attack. Judge Colleen Sterne quickly brought the room back to order; she had already told Pini to leave her courtroom for shouting aloud from the audience that he’d given Hoffman $3.5 million — the receivership requires rents to be put in a receiver’s trust and Pini to pay the receiver’s fees and repair costs.