El Centro Mayan Hotel Receivership Project

4To keep our communities safe, the California court system frequently uses the receivership remedy to address public health dangers.

A Health & Safety Receiver is an individual who takes control of a dilapidated, abandoned, and/or nuisance property in order to manage, rehabilitate, or sell it. This includes houses, apartments, motels, and commercial buildings.

Griswold Law recently served as a Health & Safety Receiver in Imperial County and protected the city from a serious threat to the community’s safety.

A Fire at the Mayan Hotel

After a devastating fire destroyed most of the Mayan Hotel in El Centro, California, the Imperial County Superior Court appointed Richardson “Red” Griswold as a Health & Safety Receiver

The fire was so extensive that it destabilized the entire building, making it impossible for the fire department and search and rescue teams to search for victims’ remains in the rubble. There was no way to safely determine if anyone had died in the fire. 

The fire occurred in February 2021 and was likely an act of arson. This historic property had already been closed down by the city in 2018 due to public health concerns. It continued to be inhabited by trespassers in the following years. 

After the fire, there was no way to restore the property, and it was clear that there was an immediate health and safety risk to the community. Community officials feared that the remaining structure could topple at any moment. 

The Receivership Remedy

To quickly transfer management from the property owner to Mr. Griswold, the city filed a lawsuit against the owner. The court found in favor of the city and appointed Griswold Law to serve as receiver. 

Mr. Griswold’s first step was to follow the court’s instruction to immediately secure the building with full-perimeter fencing and 24/7 security professionals. This ensured that no unauthorized individuals had access to the dangerous rubble. 

Next, Griswold Law analyzed the structure and presented a rehabilitation plan to the court, taking into consideration the existence of asbestos within the building materials. The court accepted Mr. Griswold’s plan, which involved a complete demolition of the property. 

Pictures of the fire-damaged property and the initial security process can be found in the video below.

Demolition of the Mayan Hotel

The initial demolition took only one day, at which time it was rendered safe enough for an environmental testing company to step foot on site and collect multiple debris samples to determine if there had been any asbestos contamination. 

Fortunately, the test results came back negative.There was no threat of asbestos exposure for the demolition team. They were able to continue their work and completely clear the rubble and debris within a couple of weeks. 

Check out footage of the demolition in the video below.

Before & After

After the demolition of the Mayan Hotel at the direction of Mr. Griswold, the court directed him to sell the property. 

Mr. Griswold hired a real estate agent to list the property. During the listing period, the City of El Centro presented an offer to Mr. Griswold, which he ultimately accepted. Upon presentation to the court, the sale was approved. 

The City of El Centro plans to develop the land for community use. The community of El Centro has expressed gratitude for Mr. Griswold’s professionalism and efficiency. A building that was endangering the community for years is finally safe again. 

This before-and-after video shows the difference between the property in its unsafe state and its remediated condition. 

Griswold Law Can Help Your Community, Too

If you have concerns about an unsafe property in your community, Griswold Law may be able to help.

Mr. Griswold has been appointed as a court-appointed receiver across numerous counties in California. He and his team have resolved health and safety threats, abandoned and dilapidated properties, failing businesses, distressed properties, conflicts between business partners and ex-spouses, and many other unique and challenging situations. 

To learn more about California receivership services, contact Griswold Law today. 

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