Through a court-ordered inspection last month, city officials discovered that the home at 15250 Woodglen Drive has been used to house 30 pregnant Chinese women visiting the United States to have their children on American soil, city and law enforcement officials said.
That complaint revealed a variety of details about the alleged running of a hotel from a residential home, which is against city code enforcement law.
The inspection said a resident was charged $150 a day for a medium-size room. An invoice showed another tenant paid $27,000 for her prenatal and postpartum care.
According to a nuisance and code violation complaint filed with the West Valley Superior Court in Rancho Cucamonga, officials observed raw sewage "flowing down" the property and determined that the septic system was failing.
From Oct. 10 to Nov. 6, the property meter read a usage of more than 100,000 gallons of water, or an average of about 4,000 gallons per day. The septic system was designed to handle at most 1,500 gallons a day, the complaint reads.
While posting the notice of violation on the property, city staff observed a lobby, dining area, dining schedule, sitting areas, and a luggage dolly, as well as an area in the lobby that contained brochures, including "USA Los Angeles Hermas International Guidance on How to Have an American Baby," according to the complaint.
Mayor Peter Rogers said the city is fully engaged in this issue, and if similar issues arise they will be dealt with in a similar fashion.
"Until the 14th Amendment of the (United States) Constitution is amended or eliminated, what is being done by the operators of these birthing tourism programs is not illegal," Rogers said at last week's City Council meeting.
The 14th Amendment says a child is born in the United States should receive a birth certificate and is therefore granted citizenship.
"But if they choose to open a hotel in a residential neighbor that is an issue we will chase down and enforce through code enforcement," Rogers said.
City staff inspected the property on Sept. 17, 18, 26 and 28.
The court-ordered inspection was on Nov. 19 and the public complaint was filed on Dec. 7.
The public complaint against the co-homeowners allege violations of a number a code enforcement regulations, including converting a seven- bedroom, six 1/2-bathroom house into the maternity hotel operation.
The defendants - Hai Yong Wu and Yi Wang - own the 1974 built home through a California-based corporation, Los Angeles Hermas, Inc.
"This type of action will allow our office to seek an immediate order that would require that the operations at the property cease and that the property cannot be inhabited until it is brought into compliance with the city's zoning and building and safety codes," said City Attorney Mark Hensley at the Dec. 11 council meeting.
Hensley said there is the possibility of a court hearing within the next four weeks.
Multiple calls made to Wu's translator, Sabrina Chen, have not been returned. Calls to the three phone numbers listed on a gate at the Woodglen home were also not returned.
On Wednesday, a male picked up and after the reporter identified themselves, he hung up.
"No English," he said.
Hensley said the complaint is in the process of being served to Wu and Wang.
City staff issued a notice of violations to Wu and Wang on Oct. 1 requiring them to repair the failing septic system and obtain permits for the unpermitted construction and stop using the property as a hotel.
Once city staff obtained the court order to inspect the property, they also found that each room was furnished as a hotel room, with matching bedding and furniture, monogrammed towels and a portable hot water kettle. Each room had its own key, thermostat and bathrobe, the complaint reads.
The inspection also revealed the home had been subdivided, without permits, there were no smoke or carbon monoxide alarms in any of the 17 bedrooms, two rooms lacked emergency escape windows and a secondary kitchen was found in a pantry area with unpermitted gas, plumbing and electrical connections.
"The home needs to be used for residential purpose and not commercial purposes, and there is a potential that some modifications could be allowed to remain if there are plans for them, but there are some modifications there is no way can comply," Hensley said.
At last week's City Council meeting, a member of the grassroots group Not in Chino Hills said she, along with other residents near the home, were happy the last couple of days because they didn't observe "traffic of pregnant girls" going up and down the hill.
"And we noticed that the lights were off at the mansion when it got dark, so we thought, `Wow, maybe they're out?"' said Linda Spencer.
"Then today (Dec. 11) we were a little skeptical, not that they were moving back in, but because there were construction trucks and they were marking the sewer lines and they were working on the house.
"We're not sure what that means but the traffic has been next to zero the last few days, so we took that as a good sign."
The mission of the local group is to preserve the city as a family-oriented community.
"We want to continue to enjoy our beautiful city, and we welcome everyone, but, to preserve what we cherish, we must also protect our city," the Not in Chino Hills website says.
Hensley said he's not sure if anyone is still occupying the home or if there is any activity inside.
While law enforcement and city officials have confirmed that wealthy Chinese women have been staying at the 7,964-square-foot Woodglen Drive home, they mentioned that pregnant Chinese women were also residing at Green Valley Apartments at 14901 Frost Ave. until they give birth at area hospitals.
No charges have been filed against Green Valley Apartments, which is owned by Lewis Operating Corp.
Hensley said he doesn't believe the city has received any complaints against Green Valley Apartments.
Earlier this month, the spokeswoman of Not in Chino Hills alleged that a mansion in the Grand Pointe community is also operating as a maternity hotel.
City officials didn't want to comment on the alleged third location.
"If a complaint comes in, we will investigate it as we do with all code cases," City Manager Mike Fleager has said.
Reach Canan via email, call her at 909-987-6397 ext. 425, or find her on Twitter @ChinoValleyNow.