Glendale neighbors allege car shop operates illegally

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A car shop operation on a quiet Glendale block has neighbors asking whether the shop is legal or not.THE COURIER
A car shop operation on a quiet Glendale block has neighbors asking whether the shop is legal or not.

Neighbors on one Glendale block say the nearby garage is a chronic nuisance.

“These people are lawless all day, every day,” said one woman who wished to remain anonymous.

The garage, nestled on a quiet block in Glendale, sees dozens of cars every day. Neighbors complain the owners’ cars stay parked on the sidewalks and down the street for days, inconveniencing residents.

“Everybody has to accommodate them,” said the woman. “If you’re a mom pushing a baby stroller, you have to go around them. They take over. They’re like bullies.”

However, owners Elsie Serrano and Oscar Ortega claimed they are running a completely legal operation.

“I have receipts for everything I have done here,” Serrano said.

The shop’s license to sell cars is up to date, and both Serrano and Ortega are licensed to run their business.

However, neighbors allege they do not sell vehicles, but illegally repair them.

Ortega said his store brings cars to a nearby Getty station for service and if the station is too busy, he will do an oil change or fix brakes himself. He added that the store also legally washes cars. However, neighbors said they have seen workers do larger-scale repairs.

“They’re fixing collision and mechanical problems,” said Danny, a resident who withheld his last name. “You can smell chemicals along our block. These are people that have no morals, no respect.”

Ortega said Danny is a “bully” with a temper, and the two have gotten into several arguments.

“I’m running a business. I don’t want to get into trouble,” he said.

Ortega said he does not need a license for his 79th Avenue garage because it is part of his business, adding there are no advertising signs on the site.

The owners frequently have their large family visit the site, and several neighbors said they blast music and intimidate residents at all hours of the day.

“People are just afraid of them,” said the woman. “Neighbors say, ‘I just lock my door and hide in my backyard. I don’t want them to bother me.’”

Other residents have taken video footage of the workers allegedly pushing cars up the street and rushing them into the garage.

The 104th Precinct has paid many visits to the site, handing out numerous tickets and summonses. Neighbors said police officers have told workers to shut down the operation, though the 104th did not return calls for comment.

The Fire Department has allegedly shut the site down four times, but the shop continues to reopen. The woman said she has not seen any police or fire presence at the site since April.

“It is things like this that help determine which way a neighborhood goes,” said Craig Caruana, community activist and City Council candidate.

Caruana has been working with Danny’s family to put an end to what they call a chaotic situation. However, the owners maintain their innocence. The site’s landlord could not be reached for comment as of press time.

 

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