Roach motel owner, millionaire, and Tiburon resident, Richard Singer, has been arrested and is facing a ten year prison sentence, a $125,000 fine, and arson charges for allegedly plotting to torch his Oakland Menlo Hotel for insurance money.
This is the last stop for a saga that began in mid-December when Menlo Hotel residents received “fake 30-day eviction notices” from the building's property managers, RMD Services. 40 of the 80 Menlo residents, who insist they suffered deplorable conditions such as bed bugs, poor plumbing, rodents, and a non-functioning fire alarm system, banded together during the evictions and are currently filing a lawsuit against Singer for $80 million. 30 other residents have filed individual suits against Singer and RMD, as well.
While lawsuits were still being filed in January, Singer's larger plan unraveled when an employer at RMD tipped off officials about Singer's scheme. According to the source, Singer had agreed to pay someone $65,000 to torch Menlo Hotel on January 15th, the last day tenants had to move out according to their eviction notice. By this move out date, many Menlo residents had not yet vacated the building.
RMD Services has a long legal history of neglect in regards to Richard Singer's Menlo property. In 2009, lose wiring and safety hazards awarded Menlo resident, Wade McAllister, a $3,000 settlement for “medical defects” on account of “infestation of parasites, rodents, and insects.” Many residents are hesitant to talk, fearing retribution. “They know they cannot really kick people out of the units, based on tenant protection laws, but they know they can make it unpleasant for you,” said one resident who wished to remain anonymous.
(by Renée Grelecki)