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Today In WTF: Councilman Says Squatter Forced Him From Home, District

Facing a District Attorney's office inquiry over a claim that he has not been living in his own district, Councilman Richard Alarcon came clean today with an admission that he hasn't been living at his registered residence since late October, but the admission came with a bizarre twist.

The councilman said a squatter broke into the home and stayed there for at least 24 hours before he came home and discovered that a suspect had practically ransacked the place. Alarcon's story, first reported in the Los Angeles Times and subsequently in City News Service, was confirmed to the Weekly by a member of his staff.

Alarcon said that because of the damage, including defecation in the bathtub, pictures taken off walls, removed doorknobs, and clothes tossed in the street, his family was freaked out and his daughter did not want to sleep there. He says police from the Mission Divison were called and actually had to break down the door to get the suspect out.

He said he did not know where he had been during the 24 to 48 hours the man had taken up temporary residence. (Maybe at his other residence, outside the district, where he admits he's been living since October?).

Alarcon said he moved about a block away to a nearby home owned by his wife while repairs, apparently still ongoing, were made to the other house.

Unfortunately for him, the Sun Valley residence is not in his district, and he even once lobbied to have his district's lines redrawn to include it. Alarcon insists, however, that the District Attorney's office will see things his way. The office had served search warrants on both homes Tuesday as part of its investigation of his residence. Living outside one's district is illegal.

It wasn't clear why Alarcon took him 24 hours -- some serious squatting time -- to reveal this most entertaining yarn. When he was asked about the D.A.'s investigation Thursday he called the matter "a very simple misunderstanding" but failed to pull the squatter out of his hat.

At a press conference Friday, Alarcon said, "I'm fully confident that when the whole story is understood by the court, by the District Attorney, by whoever needs to know, that it would be very clear that we live in Panorama City."

"My focus is on getting this thing behind us," he said, "because frankly some of it is ridiculous."

Indeed.


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