Mark Ridley Thomas Garage

County crews performed work on the garage of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ private home, installing drywall, an air conditioner, appliances and a security system, according to sources familiar with the job. (Paul Pringle / Los Angeles Times / December 31, 2013)

By Paul Pringle and Jack Leonard
January 16, 2014, 8:13 p.m.

Los Angeles city building inspectors launched an investigation Thursday into whether county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has an illegally converted garage at his Leimert Park home, where government employees recently performed thousands of dollars worth of work.

The Los Angeles Building and Safety Department opened the investigation less than a day after The Times reported that county crews installed a security system, drywall, an air conditioner and other appliances in Ridley-Thomas’ detached garage.

A search of city databases found no permits for that work or any other improvements to the garage. A source familiar with the property said the garage was being used as an office, complete with a restroom, and appeared to have been converted before the most recent work was done.

The city Building and Safety Department placed a notice of the investigation on its website. “If anybody calls and complains about a politician or anybody, we’ll go out and investigate,” department spokesman Luke Zamperini said.

Generally, permits must be obtained for the installation of restrooms, air conditioners, electrical wiring and drywall, he said. Violators of the city’s permit rules could be ordered to pay fines and correct any improper work, the department website says.

Ridley-Thomas and his spokeswoman did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

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