Despite the homeowner of the Sylmar makeshift RV park being ordered to remove the RVs from the property, 18 of the initial 23 still remain. (SFVS Staff)

More than six weeks after Cruz Florian Godoy was ordered to vacate the makeshift RV park on her residential property in Sylmar – and clean up the putrid conditions it created – she was back in court in Van Nuys for a progress report on Sept. 7, when an attorney for the City of Los Angeles told the judge that 18 RVs remain on site, only five fewer than reported in late July.

During the first hearing on July 26, Godoy was fined, charged with two misdemeanors, ordered to vacate all tenants and given 45 days to remove all of the RVs and clean up the property. Despite the lack of progress, Godoy was given 90 more days to complete the mandated clean-up. She is scheduled to return to the Van Nuys courthouse for another hearing on Dec. 7, and the city attorney told Judge Alicia Blanco they expect all the RVs to finally be gone by that date.

Nancy Roman Caino, who lives directly across the street from Godoy’s property, said she is appalled by the additional time she received to finish cleaning and angry about the lack of true repercussions for a woman she describes as an “unrepentant menace” to her entire neighborhood. 

“It’s a joke – we’ve been fighting to get justice over this situation for so long, and we are still suffering,” she told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol. Caino and other neighbors had complained for nearly four years to local authorities and LA City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez about issues stemming from the tightly-packed RVs Godoy rented out on her property, the worst being human waste spilling onto the streets from jerry-rigged plumbing from the RVs.

And the nauseating foul smells that accompanied the shoddy plumbing still linger to this day – especially in the afternoons and evenings, according to Caino, who attended the Sept. 7 hearing.

“The smells are still unbearable, and they always flare up at night. Those of us who live closest are still breathing in all of that contaminated air every day,” she said, adding that she and several other neighbors have experienced similar intestinal issues. “We all have similar symptoms.”

Although the majority of tenants left in late July, Caino and her neighbor Hector Rivera both said they suspect that some new tenants may be living on the premises, because they hear noises day and night, see people coming and going at all hours, and occasionally hear generators running.

Rivera, who lives less than two blocks away from the Hubbard Street property, told the San Fernando Valley Sun/el Sol that he doesn’t understand why the judge seems to be so lenient towards Godoy despite not meeting the mandated requirements.

“You can still smell the stench on certain days, especially with the wind blowing and with the heat,” said Rivera, noting that he believes numerous people are still living on the property.

“We’ve seen them, I’ve seen them – people coming in and going out all the time, with new vehicles, different vehicles,” he said. “But they keep letting her get away with everything.”

At the Sept. 7 hearing, the city attorney said Godoy told inspectors that towing companies have reportedly refused to remove the remaining RVs because Godoy said she is not the registered owner of the vehicles, but claims a potential buyer may purchase up to five of the RVs.

Following the hearing, Godoy admitted to reporters outside the courthouse that she has “not sold anything” yet, and that the court-mandated clean-up of her property was progressing slowly.

“It can’t be this way – we are angry and frustrated,” said Caino. “Why is the judge so benevolent with her? I can’t understand. They haven’t done anything – nothing, nothing, nothing.”

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