Magistrate confronts Dania Beach landlord over ‘terrible’ conditions; city asks state to intervene

Dania Beach code compliance notifies Florida Department of Health about Ori Gal’s violations

DANIA BEACH, Fla. – Ori Gal owns residential real estate in Dania Beach. A mother and her three children live in one of his rodent-infested apartments with mold, and termite damage and without a proper ceiling, or working kitchen.

Tina Mast said she has been forced to wash the dishes in a bathroom tub. There were electrical wires exposed. There was a galvanized steel roofing panel instead of a wall. There was a hole under a bedroom window.

Gal, the registered agent of 307 W Dixie LLC, is charging her $1,100 on monthly rent.

“My kids are tired of living here. I have tried to move. I want to move, but I can’t,” Tina Mast said through tears.

The conditions are so bad that Dania Beach code compliance officers notified the Florida Department of Health, but the state inspectors had yet to show up on Friday afternoon.

For now, Mast is using foam insulation all over the edge of the tub in an effort to keep the rats out. Mast said the apartment wasn’t this way when she moved in. Last July, a pipe from an upstairs apartment burst.

At first, the landlord sent someone out to stop the leak and clear out the water damage, but it has been eight months, and the rest hasn’t been repaired.

“It is truly honestly not my fault. I didn’t do this,” Mast said adding that she has contacted Gal to request fixes.

Gal’s response, according to Mast, “Tell your cousins to go pay rent someplace else.” By cousins, Mast said, Gal was referring to the rats.

Mast wasn’t the only tenant who reported having to deal with Gal’s insults. He was caught on Ralph Fox’s surveillance Ring camera spray painting a message.

“He wrote, ‘FAT ASS’ on the door,” Fox said.

Gal turned the blame on his tenants and announced that pretty soon he was going to have eight apartments available for rent since he was in the process of evicting Mast and seven others for being behind on their rent. He also accused Mast of not allowing workers inside the apartment — an allegation she profusely denied.

“I have been asking this man for months, since last year, to get my apartment fixed — that’s all I want,” Mast said.

Attorney Harry Michael Hipler, a special magistrate in code enforcement proceedings, described the situation that Mast is facing in Gal’s apartment as “really unacceptable,” “intolerable” and “terrible.”

“I saw these photos and they are disgusting really,” Hipler told Gal during a hearing on Thursday in Dania Beach after the city issued him about $131,800 in fines.

Hipler ordered Gal to get an exterminator to solve the rat problem: “You need to get this taken care of within five days.”

If Gal doesn’t, Hipler warned, he may face a $200 daily fine until he does.

Hipler also gave Gal 10 days to pull permits and get the apartment where Mast is living in order or face an additional $250 daily fine.

“I have every interest in fixing this apartment,” Gal said adding, “There has been a series of my mistakes.”

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About the Author:

Jeff Weinsier joined Local 10 News in September 1994. He is currently an investigative reporter for Local 10. He is also responsible for the very popular Dirty Dining segments.