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'Worst living conditions ever': Local condominiums under investigation for code violations

The Desert Garden Condominiums are under investigation by the City of Las Vegas after multiple code violations. (KSNV)

Joshua Stark, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police sergeant, says he responded in October to Desert Garden Condominiums on Bonanza Road twice in a 24-hour period for a shooting and a murder.

Stark says that’s when he discovered what he describes as the worst living conditions he’s ever seen.

“Glass all over the ground," he said. "There's no more grass, there's no more plant life, and everything's dead. Multiple buildings are boarded up, and windows are broken all over the place. There's glass everywhere. Kids are out there playing in glass and animal feces, broken walls. I can go on."

Tammy Gilliland has lived in the complex for three years and says the problems don’t stop at the broken glass and boarded up windows.

“It's not safe, it's not clean. It's disgusting. There's mold, there are bugs, there are roaches, ants. There are even bed bugs. There are bed bugs!" Gilliland explained.

Tenant Kevin Dafney said that aside from the mold in his cabinets, he doesn’t have the basic household appliances he was promised when he moved in four months before, including a refrigerator and stove.

So who’s accountable?

Sgt. Stark says he and his officers are doing all they can.

They’ve condemned more than 30 units, and in recent months they’ve been at the complex every week along with the city of Las Vegas fire crews and code enforcement.

They’ve removed squatters and issued citations, but this complex has 148 units with at least 40 different owners, some of whom live out of state.

"A lot of these owners are behind [Limited Liability Companies], so finding that actual human being whose responsible is a lot of work," Stark explained.

Dan Wright is one owner with at least 36 units, and he says he knows the conditions are bad, but he can’t fix it all on his own.

“I mean, I wish we had a million dollars to do all this, but we just don't,” Wright said.

Some might ask if the conditions are so bad, why don’t the tenants move?

Most residents say it’s all they can afford with their income.

“This is the last option some people have, but it doesn't have to be the worst option,” said Kevin Dafney.

News 3 reached out to the city of Las Vegas to try to learn what’s being done about these code violations, but the city could only confirm that there is an open investigation.

In the meantime, LVMPD says they are looking for community partners to help clean up the complex.

Anyone interested can reach out to LVMPD’s Bolden Area Command Center at 702-828-3347.

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