Updated August 4, 2020 - 10:14 am
A judge set bail at $50,000 for Adolfo Orozco, the landlord of a downtown Las Vegas apartment building where six people died in a fire in December, and ordered him to contract with a licensed management company for his other properties.
Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman also set bail for Orozco’s co-defendant, Malinda Mier, at $10,000.
“The biggest danger the community faces from you is any tenant who rents a property from you,” the judge said. “There’s no question that there’s issues of habitability and safety on your properties. … You’re not to have any decision-making with respect to issues of safety or habitability on your properties.”
Along with other conditions, Zimmerman ordered both to surrender their passports and not have any contact with fire victims or witnesses.
Orozco, 44, told the judge on Monday that he owns homes in Napa, California, and Las Vegas, where he has lived since 2013. He said he rented out seven houses and two four-unit apartment buildings.
Along with one count of manslaughter for each of the six victims, Orozco and Mier face 15 counts of performance of an act or neglect of duty in disregard of safety resulting in substantial bodily harm or death. Orozco also faces four counts of preventing or dissuading witness or victim from reporting crime or commencing prosecution with use of a deadly weapon. All charges are felonies.
Prosecutors have said that once an investigation into the Dec. 21 fire began, Orozco threatened the apartment’s manager and his fiancee and tried to persuade them not to talk to detectives “by brandishing a modified AK-47 style assault rifle and offering money” for them to leave town. Zimmerman also ordered Orozco to surrender his firearms to his lawyer.
While Mier, 40, did not have an ownership stake in the Alpine apartments, she ran a property management company for Orozco, she has said. Zimmerman said the two defendants were “situated separately,” and she did not believe Mier was as much of a danger to the community as Orozco.
Orozco’s lawyer, Paola Armeni, has said he is married with three children and has kept in contact with prosecutors since the December fire.
Armeni suggested that the former live-in manager of the Alpine Motel Apartments, Jason Casteel, was culpable for the deaths.
An investigation into the deadly fire, which also left 13 injured and dozens displaced, found more than 40 potential fire code violations, including a rear exit door that had been bolted shut.
In a criminal complaint filed last week, prosecutors said Orozco and Mier failed to replace or fix a back door exit and didn’t replace a broken fire alarm panel.
They also didn’t fix inoperable automated fire doors and failed to provide proper heating systems in the apartments, which led to tenants using stoves and ovens for heat, the complaint stated.
Authorities have said that the fire was traced to a stove in a first-floor apartment.