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Released by: District Attorney
For Immediate Release

FG Meadows Ordered to Pay Penalties of $40,000, Restitution to Tenants in Price Gouging Case

Santa Rosa, CA  –  May 30, 2019  –  District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that FG Meadows, LLC, the owner and operator of the Meadows at Fountaingrove Apartments in Santa Rosa, agreed to a Stipulated Judgment, approved and ordered by Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Elliot Daum, resolving allegations of price gouging. Pursuant to the Judgment, the corporation must pay $40,000 in civil penalties, and $5,000 in investigative costs to the District Attorney’s Office, and pay restitution to all affected tenants of the amounts collected in excess of the allowable rent increases for violating Penal Code 396‘s price gouging restrictions that applied after the Declaration of Emergency was declared following the October 2017 wild fires in Sonoma County. The corporation and their counsel cooperated in the investigation and resolution of this matter and promptly refunded the excess rental payments to their tenants.

Landlords should be aware that the restrictions under Penal Code 396 currently remain in effect through May 31, 2019 by Executive Order of the Governor. That deadline may be extended by further order of the Governor. In addition, the County of Sonoma and the City of Santa Rosa have recently extended their local declarations of emergency which extend the protections under Penal Code 396. Currently, the County’s declaration remains in effect at least through July 21, 2019 in Sonoma County. Additional restrictions may apply under the City of Santa Rosa’s declaration. The local agencies are required to review the need for continuing the local emergency once every 60 days. 

District Attorney Ravitch stated: “This case is part of the ongoing efforts of my office to ensure that victims of the fire and residents are not further victimized by landlords taking advantage of the challenging rental market in Sonoma County after the loss of over 5,000 homes in our community from the devastating wild fires. Residents are encourage to report cases of suspected price gouging to their local law enforcement agency who will refer verified cases to the District Attorney’s Office for prosecution.”

Deputy District Attorneys Caroline Fowler and Matt Cheever handled the prosecution of this matter with the assistance of District Attorney Investigator Mark Azzouni.

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Contact Information

Joan Croft
Media Coordinator
Office of the District Attorney
County of Sonoma
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Room 212 J
Santa Rosa, CA 95403
38.466524, -122.726273