Two more investigations underway at neglected mobile home park after fire

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — The video shows flames initially pouring out the window of the trailer inside the Lake Downey Mobile Home Park as residents looked on.


Over a series of 15 minutes, the flames grew. Sheriff’s deputies arrived, with guns drawn, detained a man neighbors called the home’s occupant for a mental health evaluation.

Finally, as flames engulfed the structure, firefighters began to knock them down, leaving a blackened skeleton in their wake.

This was the latest major call to the park, which has frequently been in the headlines for years for a rash of problems. Crime, vandalism and poor- to nonexistent water service contribute to an environment multiple public officials described as “third-world.”

READ: No water, homes torn apart: Residents around mobile home park feel abandoned

WFTV first documented the most recent issues earlier this month, when the residents said their water had been shut off for three months and bulldozers were appearing in the middle of the night to tear down homes – sometimes with people sleeping inside.

A series of Orange County officials confirmed there are various investigations happening into the park Monday. First, an arson investigation is underway to determine if the fire in the trailer was set intentionally. The sheriff’s office said no one was under arrest as of midday.

Code enforcement has opened up a new investigation into the unpermitted demolition of the mobile homes, which could join the series of rules the property owners have flouted for years. Citations for the state of the community pool and a lack of fire hydrants, among other things, have resulted in a $2.6 million dollar lien against the property, which grows by $3,000 per day, officials said.

READ: Police say drugs found during raid of community leader’s home, threaten nuisance crackdown

As of Monday, residents continued to face evictions, but court records showed none had been finalized. The property is under contract to be sold to a Miami-based developer who plans to turn the parcel into apartments.

Until the sale goes through, the current owners are responsible for the issues, even as officials and residents described them as absentee.

Records show the property is owned by the Jain family and run out of a west Orange County urgent care clinic headed by Dr. Usha Jain. She and her husband, Manohar Jain, have accumulated a network of residential and commercial land parcels valued in the tens of millions of dollars, which they own through various LLCs, records show.

READ: Winter Park explores SR 426 takeover after community pressure

Some of the properties have been transferred to LLCs controlled, at least on paper, by their daughter, Sima Jain, an Orlando-based dermatologist. That includes the Lake Downey property.

When WFTV stopped by Usha Jain’s clinic Monday to inquire about the state of the mobile home park, the crew was told Usha and Manohar had not had anything to do with Lake Downey since the transfer in 2020. The couple insisted the team double check state records while asking them to leave the premises.

While state records showed Sima transferred her LLC’s address to a P.O box inside a strip mall, county records still listed the park under Usha’s clinic, and officials referred to the family as a singular unit in the conversations about the situation. Tenants and neighbors also repeatedly spoke about Manohar’s involvement in the running of the property.

Manohar and Usha declined to answer questions about the conditions in the park. Sima did not return a message left at her office. It’s unclear how much the problems have cost taxpayers, and officials continued to express hope the family will be forced to repay some of the money before any sales are finalized.

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