Code enforcement finds trash, multiple families living in historic Downey mansion

By Alex Dominguez

DOWNEY – An unusual sequence of events has brought Downey’s historic Rives Mansion back into controversy.

The Rives Mansion is no stranger to being the center of conflict, as the property on the corner of Paramount Boulevard and Third Street made headlines two years ago when it was discovered that the mansion was facing foreclosure, thwarting plans to convert the location into an upscale steakhouse. 

While things surrounding the mansion have been relatively quiet since then, a new incident has caught the attention of the city. 

Downey Police, code enforcement and hazmat arrived at the mansion in the afternoon hours of May 4 after one of the property’s fences fell over, exposing Third Street to a large amount of trash.

While hazmat units tended to the garbage, eviction notices were placed on the mansion, sending several individuals who had been inhabiting the property scrambling.

Those notices were later taken down, however, when it was discovered that there were several families with children currently occupying the property. 

Several people had illegally rented out space on the property, including the back shed and tower, a city official said. The city had been unaware of the illegal residency until neighbors of the mansion called to report the toppled fence.

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The official also said that it is believed that it was the large amount of trash that caused the fence to fall. 

According to documents obtained from Norwalk Superior Court, mansion owner Carmen Rivera and Wells Fargo Bank – who are foreclosing on the mansion – have been tied up in court since January this year after an unlawful detainer complaint was filed last December. 

Multiple attempts to contact Rivera for comment were unsuccessful.