OAKLAND, Calif. -- (KRON) -- KRON News is learning more about Derick Ion Almena, the operator of the “Ghost Ship” warehouse that burned in Oakland Friday night, killing dozens of victims.
Almena was charged in January 2015 for a felony and a misdemeanor of receiving stolen property.
The Alameda County Court Office revealed Monday that Almena pleaded guilty to those charges.
Almena spent two days in the Alameda County Jail. He has been on probation for 36 months.
Former tenants of the building say Derick Ion Almena was the operator of the Satya Yuga collective known as the “Ghost Ship.”
Almena, 46, has lived in California since at least 1990, mostly in Los Angeles, where public records show he was evicted from a North Hollywood apartment in Los Angeles in 1993.
Relatives and colleagues of the leader of the Oakland artists’ colony where dozens died in a fire over the weekend say he saw himself as a kind of guru, and craved having followers but cared little for their well-being.
Acquaintances painted a devastating portrait of Almena and his longtime partner, Micah Allison.
They say that Almena ignored complaints about unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the building, that the couple used methamphetamine and other drug and that they lost custody of their three children for several months.
Oakland planning officials opened an investigation last month after repeated complaints from neighbors who said trash was piling up and people were illegally living in the building zoned as a warehouse. An inspector who went to the premises couldn’t get inside, said Darin Ranelletti, of the Oakland Planning Department.
The city had not confirmed people lived there, but a former resident said she had been lured in part by reasonable rents in a region beset with a housing shortage and exorbitant leases driven by the tech boom.
Online records listed the building’s owner as Nar Siu Chor. The Associated Press could not locate a telephone number for her Saturday. Efforts to reach her at other Oakland addresses associated with her were not successful.
A man identified as Derick Ion posted a Facebook message early Saturday, saying, “Everything I worked so hard for is gone. Blessed that my children and Micah were at a hotel safe and sound.” He drew rebukes online from others who said he was warned the building was unsafe.
KDVR / Arapahoe County