Mediator ordered over fate of chimp

first_imgPOMONA – A judge ordered Tuesday that West Covina and Moe the chimp’s owners use a mediator to decide on the 40-year-old primate’s fate. Pomona Superior Court Judge Abraham Khan said the two sides must work together to uphold a settlement they reached in 2002 that the city would pay $225,000 for a home to house Moe in Baldwin Park. However, the 2002 agreement is outdated, Khan said, and the parties should consult real-estate experts to calculate how home values in Baldwin Park have changed since 2002. “They certainly can’t purchase a house for that much \,” Khan said. • Photo Gallery: Oct. ’04: Moe the chimp For More Infocenter_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBasketball roundup: Sierra Canyon, Birmingham set to face off in tournament quarterfinalsThe judge also urged St. James and LaDonna Davis to take down the “Free Moe” signs from in front of their Vincent Avenue home, as agreed. “I would like to do what’s best for all those involved,” LaDonna Davis said outside the court. “The city needs to step up.” St. James Davis, still recovering from a savage mauling by two chimps at the animal sanctuary where Moe lives, said he just wants to be able to see his “son.” He has not seen Moe since the March 2005 attack, in which Moe was not involved. “I would heal a lot better if we could be together again,” St. James Davis said, speaking through a surgical mask covering his facial injuries. “I miss him with all my heart.” Tuesday’s hearing came after a years-long battle between the Davises and West Covina. In 1999, police and animal control personnel removed Moe from the Davises’ home after he bit a woman, saying they were harboring a wild animal. The couple then sued the city for civil rights violations and settled the lawsuit in 2002 for $100,000 and a $225,000 home for Moe in Baldwin Park. The house was to be purchased by the city and leased to the Davises for $1 a year. “This \ is not an award of damages,” said West Covina City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman. “It was intended as a benefit for Moe for housing purposes.” However, officials in Baldwin Park did not want Moe in the city, and the sale of the property fell through. West Covina paid the Davises $100,000 in July 2005. “Where I’m confused is why nobody did anything in this case for so long,” Khan said. Alvarez-Glasman said it was agreed the Davises and their then-attorney, Heber Meeks, would look for a new home for Moe. But Meeks, a member of the military, was deployed to Iraq. Ernest Algorri, the Davises’ attorney, said the city turned its back on the couple and Moe, creating a chain of events that led to the attack on St. James Davis. “If Moe had been returned home … obviously the Davises would not have to go all the way to Kern County, where the attacks” happened, Algorri said. Alvarez-Glasman said the city had not turned its back on the Davises, but wants this case to come to a conclusion. “The city’s been very compassionate in trying to solve this very delicate problem,” he said. [email protected] (626)962-8811, Ext.2472160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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