Hotel is Listed for Sale at $3.5 Million
By Lynda Carson
Despite the arrest of Richard Singer for his involvement in offering to pay someone $65,000 to burn down the Menlo Hotel, illegal evictions are still taking place at the low-income residential hotel, in violation of Oakland’s rent law known as Measure EE. Residents at the hotel say that RMD Services is still trying to illegally evict tenants that are not being represented by an attorney.
According to court records, Richard Singer, the owner of the Menlo Hotel handed over his passport and a Deed of Trust to one of his properties on Thursday January 20, in an effort to make bail.
Singer was arrested on suspicion of hiring someone to burn down the residential hotel. Known in the courts as USA v. Singer, case number 4-11-mj-70034-MAG-1, Singer has been charged with the solicitation of arson of a commercial building used in interstate commerce, a federal felony, and faces a $125,000 fine, and 10 years in prison if convicted, according to officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.
During an interview with Wade McAllister, who was frightened into giving up his housing at the Menlo Hotel, McAllister said, “I have lived at the Menlo Hotel for around 3 years, am 51 years old, and am the initiator of the lawsuit against the Menlo Hotel for the problems with the elevator, bed bugs, cock roaches, and many other problems there. I was served an illegal eviction notice lately and moved from the hotel on December 31, after being in fear of losing my life. There were still around 15 occupied rooms at the Menlo when I moved out. I feel that this has been a retaliatory action against me, because I am the initial person who started the lawsuit that eventually involved around 40 other tenants at the hotel. I am filing a complaint against Richard Singer with the Oakland Police Department for trying to place our lives at risk. I have been so frightened, that I am having trouble sleeping at night. I want to teach Mr. Singer a lesson, that he cannot treat people the way he has treated us at the Menlo Hotel.”
Federal officials say that Singer wanted the hotel burned down on Jan. 15, to collect a maximum allowable insurance payment, with the planned arson scam. Fake “30 Day Notices” to vacate their housing were served by RMD Services to the residents of the hotel on Dec. 15, in an effort to empty the building of its residents by Jan. 15. The same day that Singer planned to have the building burned down, according to federal officials.
In the U.S. District Court of Northern California, the USA is being represented by Keslie Anne Stewart of the U.S. Attorney’s office at 1301 Clay St., in Oakland, and Richard Singer is being represented by Oakland attorney Paul Delano Wolf. Neither Wolf nor Stewart responded to my calls, in an effort to interview them about the alleged arson scam involving Singer at the Menlo Hotel.
According to Harbor Bay Realty in Alameda, the Menlo Hotel is listed at being for sale for around $3.5 million, and the sale is pending, with someone currently being interested in buying the hotel.
Lynda Carson may be reached at email@example.com