Posted: 10:55 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, 2012

SF landlord under fire after tenant's fatal fall through stairs


A San Francisco landlord is being accused of negligence following the death of a tenant who fell through a crumbling staircase.

Some of the tenants of the Nob Hill apartment building told KTVU they've complained for years. Renters said they've made repeated requests to have the staircases replaced. They are saddened and disgusted that a woman died before the repairs were made.

For twenty years, Rory Moore served those drowning their sorrows at Cresta's bar on Polk Street. A picture of the 62-year-old bartender hangs on the wall.

"It's just tragic. It's horrible," said neighbor Francisco Narganes. He found Moore on her back and in pain last month on the staircase at the Hillgate Manor apartment building on Taylor Street.

She was on her way to do laundry when the stairs gave way, according to Narganes.

"The stairs are clearly rotten and definitely treacherous," he said.

Moore suffered internal injuries including a lacerated kidney in the three-story fall.  After weeks in intensive care, she died last Sunday.

"You can see here. I can pull the wood and crumble," said Yo Yoshida, a fellow tenant who showed KTVU the extent of the deterioration to the stairs. He said he's complained for years.

"This is an actual stair and you can stick a pencil right through it," said Yoshida.

He had had an accident himself that he said finally got a response from management. But he admitted it wasn't much.

"They only replaced the stair I fell through," said Yoshida.  "As I showed them, the entire stairwell is ready to collapse."

KTVU tried to ask building manager Damon Lembi about the conditions. But no one answered his door.

His family along with its company Citi-Apartments has been the subject of several lawsuits. A court settlement last year called on the business to make changes, including responding to tenants' request for repairs within 72 hours.

"For the amount of times they've been notified of the dangers of the stairs for three people falling through they are still only replacing some of the stairs," said Yoshida.

Neighbors said the woman's family has hired an attorney.

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