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News from: City of Oakland

March 26, 2015

Oakland City Attorney Sues to Shut Down Violent East Oakland Motel 

Complaint by City’s Neighborhood Law Corps is the latest in a series of civil lawsuits targeting epicenters of criminal activity in Oakland

Oakland, CA — Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker has filed the latest in a series of public nuisance lawsuits to disrupt patterns of crime and violence at properties in Oakland.    

The latest lawsuit by the City Attorney’s Neighborhood Law Corps asks the Alameda County Superior Court to shut down the Starlite Motel at 10000 MacArthur Boulevard.  This East Oakland business has been the source of hundreds of calls for service to the Oakland Police Department for crimes including homicide, assault with a deadly weapon and domestic violence. Many of the crimes have been related to drug sales and prostitution at the motel.

“Evidence in our lawsuit shows that the Starlite has been an epicenter of crime and violence in the community,” City Attorney Barbara Parker said today.

“This motel is not just a nuisance to neighbors – the high volume of calls for service also consumes an extraordinary amount of police resources,” Parker said. “With this lawsuit we hope to disrupt the pattern of violence emanating from this one property and thereby free up precious police resources to provide vital services to our community.”

Parker also thanked the Oakland Police Department’s Command Area 5 officers for their help on the civil complaint.

In the past five years, the Oakland Police Department has received more than 335 calls for service at the property. Many of the crimes at the Starlite have involved firearms, including:

  • In May 2014 officers responded after a shootout between a motel guest and three other people.
  • In September 2013 officers arrested a motel guest for assault with a deadly weapon after a woman was shot in the arm in one of the rooms.
  • In July 2012 officers responded to the homicide of a woman who was shot and killed at the motel.
  • In June 2012 officers arrested an ex-felon in possession of several guns, including at least one stolen gun.

The lawsuit filed March 6 (Alameda County Superior Court Case No. RG15761249) calls for the closure of the Starlite for one year, the maximum closure allowed under state law. The complaint also asks the Court for an injunction to prevent the motel owners from operating and maintaining their business in a way that begets criminal and nuisance activity, and seeks $25,000 in civil penalties from each defendant.

The Starlite is owned by the Kalyan family through two revocable trusts. The lawsuit names the trustees of the trusts: Rajendra, Pushpa, Bhupendra and Bhartiben Kalyan.

The Neighborhood Law Corps is an award-winning unit in the City Attorney’s Office that uses civil law to address sources of criminal and nuisance activity in Oakland neighborhoods. NLC attorneys work for the City for a two-year period at a salary commensurate with the compensation of a first year Oakland public school teacher. An NLC attorney is assigned to each of the five Oakland Police Command Areas.

Other Neighborhood Law Corps Cases

This month, the City Attorney also secured settlements of public nuisance lawsuits against the owners of the West Grand Hotel and the Hillside Apartments. Those settlements will force landlords to address crime and inhumane living conditions at the rental properties in West and East Oakland.

In recent years, lawsuits by the Neighborhood Law Corps successfully shut down two Oakland hotels that operated as centers of prostitution and the sexual exploitation of children. One of those hotels, the National Lodge, is permanently out of business. The other hotel, the Economy Inn, reopened under new management and has followed strict operating conditions.