The city attorney sued Deutsche Bank on Wednesday, claiming the giant international lender illegally evicted tenants from foreclosed properties and left dozens of homes and apartments to rot, many in low-income neighborhoods.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, accuses the bank of violating federal, state and city laws and seeks potentially hundreds of millions of dollars in reimbursements to the city and to evicted tenants.
The bank's subsidiaries, Deutsche Bank National Trust Co. and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas, are the city's largest slumlords, according to the lawsuit.
The city attorney's office contends the bank failed to act properly as trustee to more than 160 homes and other residences with owners who couldn't meet their loan obligations during and after the 2008 international financial meltdown.
"It's time to recognize that the fraud committed on Wall Street turns into blight on Main Street," City Attorney Carmen A. Trutanich said at a news conference.
He said the bank's subsidiaries acted as trustees for trusts composed of mortgage-backed securities involving at least 2,000 properties across the country.
The complaint focuses mainly on properties in low-income areas of the city, specifically South Los Angeles and the northeastern San Fernando Valley, but Trutanich said it could be amended to include more homes if further problems are found.