Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This


Man Sentenced To 15 Years For 2014 Da Vinci Apartment Blaze

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.

Dawud Abdulwali, the man accused of setting a blaze that burned down the Da Vinci apartments project in 2014, was sentenced to 15 years in prison Monday after pleading no contest to arson, reports NBC 4.

The 58-year-old was also ordered to pay restitution, the total of which is believed to be around $100 million.

The Da Vinci apartment complex, which was still under construction at the time of the blaze on December 8, 2014, was a project of noted California developer (and Trump backer) Geoff Palmer. The controversial project was located along the 110 Freeway in downtown L.A. The conflagration, to use an understatement, was pretty damn big:

Support for LAist comes from

As information about Abdulwali was uncovered after the fire, there came a theory that Abdulwali may have done it as a form of political protest. A couple acquaintances of Abdulwali's came forward to say that, around the time of the fire, he'd voiced anger over the 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown. After the fire, and before Abdulwali was taken in by authorities, Abdulwali shared a photo of the blaze (which was originally posted by a friend on Facebook) and commented with "Things are only gonna get worse!!!," according to LA Weekly. On December 23, Abdulwali posted a rant on Facebook that said, among other things, "I wonder how many crooked cops (f--king pigs) have to be slaughtered or how many buildings have to be burned to the ground before the DA of the U.S. gets it right."

In early 2016, the city sued Palmer for $20 million, alleging that his company hadn't taken the proper steps in preventing the arson. According to the suit, GH Palmer Associates had not come up with an appropriate fire protection plan, had not properly installed fire walls or doors, and failed to install security measures that would have prevented unauthorized people from trespassing into the area, among other allegations.