Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Longtime Santa Monica Attorney Rosario Perry Dead at 75

"Rosario truly loved Santa Monica. He was engaged his entire life politically and professionally."

Rosario Perry has died of cancer. He was 75. The longtime landlord's attorney based on Pico Blvd, represented property owners across four decades in Santa Monica.

"Rosario truly loved Santa Monica. He was engaged his entire life politically and professionally," said former Santa Monica planning commissioner Sharon Gilpin. "He enjoyed the back and forth of policy discussions and had some great ideas for the City. He was a walking encyclopedia on the history of the City."

Perry graduated from USC Law School in 1973, and briefly worked for the Santa Monica City Attorneys' office. After Santa Monica enacted the Rent Control Charter Amendment in 1979, Perry left City Hall, hung out a shingle, and began to represent small time landlords then common in Santa Monica, including my own parents who once owned a couple of rental units back in the 1980's.

Perry was kind, intelligent, and well regarded by most. He also spoke publicly from time to time about City issues. He represented Santa Monica landlords ACTION Apartment Owners Association against the City in a 2007 California Supreme Court opinion that interpreted the City's tenant harassment ordinance, striking it in part.

"Rosario was my attorney when I sued the Rent Board and won over $15,000 in attorneys fees," remembered Elaine Golden-Gealer. "That infuriated them and they decided to fight back until Rosario warned them he charged over $400 an hour and they would end up paying double, triple or even more if we won again!"

"That stopped them cold and left me as one of the only owners to have won money from the Rent Board because of Rosario's (and Jim Jacobson's) excellent legal work," she added.

"He was always a featured speaker at the standing room only ACTION Apartment Owner's meetings in the Main Library Auditorium. Oh, and he created the sophisticated Santa Monica lease forms used by most owners," she added.


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