I am Kellie Hart, founder and president of RIDEWITUS LA, Corp. RWU LA is a community based cycling club that started during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, and later expanded into a bicycle store in April of 2021.
Opening RIDEWITUS LA on Slauson was a dream come true. I graduated from Oakwood University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business management. Entrepreneurship was always my goal. In 2019, two years prior to opening a bike shop at 4601 West Slauson, I attempted to open a car wash at the exact same location. I was scammed by two people trying to illegally lease the space. The day I was supposed to obtain keys at the property, I was met by Sheriffs and other people saying that the people I was dealing with were scammers and the space wasn’t theirs to lease. Total disappointment. One month later, the land was listed For Sale by (unnamed) for nearly $2 million. It sat for two years, so XXX Properties relisted it For Lease. Within 72 hours - I saw it, called, applied, and was approved to lease the space for my bike shop.
Prior to the grand opening events, I invested over $40,000 into 4601 W. Slauson Ave. Everything was in terrible condition. My crew and I remodeled the building, added a double patio, painted everything, cleaned out a live beehive, fought off predators, made it safe, and the list goes on. I wanted to give the community something to believe in on that corner and that’s just what I did. When all construction was completed, and signs and banners were up, I was proud to see what we transformed that space into, and so was my community.
For almost 2 years – RWU LA truly brought life back to a dying Slauson Ave. From bike rides to community events – we turned it up! Concerts, vendor villages, graduation parties, college going away parties, funeral repasts, car shows, you name it – I’ve hosted it. I’m a LA – Crenshaw District Native – outside of what Nip did with The Marathon Clothing store, I hadn’t seen this section pop with such positivity like this ever. 4601 W. Slauson has been a car dealership, a dentist, a few car washes, a tax office, a homeless encampment, a smoke shop, and more. When I made it a bike shop/event space – I saw beautiful things happen. My community supported me 100%. They encouraged me to keep going when things get hard and reminded me that people need RIDEWITUS LA. It was so powerful, and I will never forget the fire ignited in me. Though challenging, expensive, and sometimes uncertain – I managed to KEEP GOING. There have been several trials and tribulations along the way, but I’ve never given up.
On October 5, 2022, I received a phone call from a woman stating she does children’s events and wanted to rent the event space for the entire month of November and December for said events. October 6, we met, negotiated, signed an event space agreement set to begin November 1st, she paid fees, and was given a key to the property. She understood she was not to occupy the space until November 1. We parted ways.
Two days later while discussing arrangements for December’s event space payment, she aggressively informed me she is the rightful owner of the land and she wouldn’t be paying me any more money for HER land. She said she just used me to gain possession of “her” land. She also said there is a pending lawsuit with the “crooks” I have been leasing from and the land was stolen from her years ago. Ummm, excuse me!?
I reached out to the leasing company I have been dealing with. I asked who this woman is and why is she making these claims. They advised she was indeed one of the previous owners of the land but not anymore. I was told she has tried to sue them and appeal decisions at least 5 times, all of which she has lost. (This is all public information.) They told me she is a troublemaker and advised me to cancel any contracts with her.
October 17, against agreement, said woman enters property, parks an unauthorized car on the property, and leaves it. I demanded she move it, she refused. Car towed. October 19 woman becomes upset that locks are changed tells me I won’t be having anymore events at “her” space and rips down a $800 banner for a (then) upcoming event. I had to come out of my pocket to replace the banner immediately. She threatened to return to disrupt the event.
Prior to November 1st, I gave her notice that I would not be going forward with our agreement and offered a partial refund minus damages caused, vehicle storage fees, and breach of contract loss of deposit. She ignored.
November 1, she sent a message stating she would be at the property at noon to get keys since I changed the locks after unauthorized vehicle was left. At 11:30 am she cut my locks off and replaced them with her own. I had a locksmith hers off. She cut mine off again.
Law enforcement became involved. As a result of the situation being so hostile, and her having the agreement, I was told it is now a civil matter and I would have to go through courts and the eviction process to regain access to my the space. They allowed her, in her anger, to rip every one of my banners down. My family and I were threatened and disrespected by her and her brother right in front of the place I sacrificed everything for. Law enforcement did nothing. Hers or not, I know I didn’t deserve that.
The same people who scammed me in 2019 came back.
I had no idea who this woman was or her history when she contacted me. I should have done my research. I don’t know if the land is truly hers or what will happen going forward. I do know legal fees are astronomical and the process is time consuming. I do know I have a son to provide for, and a new store to open. I do know that God is in control, and I have a marathon to continue. It might not be easy, but it will certainly be worth it.
I am thankful to have secured a new space, but there are several (expensive) tasks that must be completed before operations can begin again. Anything you wish to donate to help lighten the load of RIDEWITUS LA’s Comeback on Crenshaw is greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance. Peace and blessings.
Los Angeles, CA