Logan Heights

Former Pro Skateboarder Sues City After Warehouse Floods

Tod Swank wants to city to pay for the damages and make sure it never happens again

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Tod Swank couldn’t believe what he saw on Dec. 6, 2018.

“Basically, looked like a tornado ran through the building,” said Swank, who owns a large warehouse in Logan Heights.

“I was bummed,” he remembered feeling after seeing water flood the warehouse.

I’d rather work with the city rather than work against it.

Tod Swank, Property Owner

Swank said City of San Diego storm drains backed up and flooded the streets outside. He said the flooding penetrated his warehouse and put it under 3 feet of water.

“Blew out those doors to the workshop,” he said pointing at a downstairs area, “and brought all this debris through.”

Swank is a former professional skateboard and current owner of Toy Machine and Foundation Skateboards. He bought the warehouse in 1998 to house those businesses before moving them to a new location. Swank now rents the space to other tenants.

At least, he says he’s trying to rent it out.

Swank said potential tenants are scared away by the potential of the warehouse flooding again.

Swank filed a claim with the City of San Diego for the damage, but he said it was rejected.

He filed a lawsuit in State Superior Court against the city on Feb. 4. He couldn’t say how much the damage cost him to repair because the warehouse is still undergoing inspections. The lawsuit said he’s losing at least $12,500 a month because he can’t rent out the space. He also wanted to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Swank said he wants the city to maintain the storm drains in his neighborhood.

NBC 7 forwarded a copy of the lawsuit to the City of San Diego. A city spokesman said the city can’t comment on pending litigation.  However, he added, “The City of San Diego actively monitors and regularly maintains its entire system of stormwater facilities. Every channel throughout the city is assessed every year.” 

Swank admitted he isn’t excited about suing the city, but he said his business is suffering.

“I’d rather work with the city rather than work against it,” he said.

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