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Repairs made, lawsuit dismissed against owner of apartment complex in Union Plaza

A lawsuit against the owner of an apartment complex in Union Plaza was dismissed Thursday after he made repairs to the building.

Attorneys for tenants living in the apartment complex at 219 W. Overland Drive in downtown El Paso said they are satisfied with the repairs owner Don Luciano made.

After a walk-through yesterday, attorneys on both sides reached an agreement and were satisfied. The case was then dismissed Thursday morning.

"It is unfortunate that it took a threat of jail time to make the repairs during the last three months," said attorney Veronica Carvajal. "But we are happy our clients are finally living in a place that is dignified and is safe."

The complex is a building located in the city's master plan of the arena footprint. KFOX14 has previously reported the building was cited for code violations.

Luciano was given a 30 day-day correction notice, but he told the city he wouldn't make improvements and gave residents a 30-day notice to leave.

In a separate lawsuit, attorneys representing the tenants wanted him to make the repairs -- and a judge agreed.

The owner had until yesterday to make repairs to the roof, fumigate to get rid of bed bugs, fix the heating and add more lighting, according to a court order.

"We had complained back in early November about the infestation of bed bugs and Mr. Luciano did not take any affirmative steps to address that concern," Carvajal said.

"He has now fumigated and has agreed to fumigate again if the issue arises," Carvajal said.

"I'm just glad on behalf of all the parties that the matter was resolved amicably," said Mannie Kalman, attorney for Don Luciano.

Most residents have already been re-located to other units Luciano owns in the city. Luciano plans to close the building, despite the repairs.

The few tenants still living in the building said they don't know where they will go yet.

"They've been moving people around, you know," said tenant Eduardo Munoz. "She might not have one, actually, for me. But she said she was going to try to have one for me. I don't know what's going to happen."

Carvajal said she hopes this case serves as an example for other landlords.

"We hope this sends a strong message to landlords who are good at collecting rent, but very bad about making the repairs the law requires," she said.

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