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