Herrera Sues Bridge Motel for ‘Egregious Pattern’ of Crime, Safety Code Violations

Litigation against owners and operators of notorious Marina District residential hotel seeks tough court-ordered injunction, penalties

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 26, 2009) — City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against the owners and operators of the Bridge Motel, a notorious residential hotel in the City’s Marina District that has been the site of at least 91 calls to police in the last seven months alone for incidents relating to violence, drugs, grand theft, weapons possessions, terrorist threats and a variety of other illegal and nuisance activity. The civil complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning additionally details a pattern of housing, fire and health code violations by owners and management, who repeatedly defied notices of violation and orders of abatement by inspectors from San Francisco’s Building, Fire and Health Departments.

“The Bridge Motel has plagued its neighbors and residents for far too long with an egregious pattern of crime and safety code violations,” said Herrera. “This establishment’s owners and operators have demonstrated a shocking disregard for health and safety, and a defiant attitude toward the City inspectors who pushed them to obey the law. We have no choice but to seek a tough, enforceable court order to end this public nuisance, and to impose penalties to ensure it never happens again. I am very grateful to the San Francisco Police, Fire, Building, and Public Health Departments for all of their efforts and assistance in enabling us to bring this litigation today.”

Named as defendants in the Herrera’s lawsuit are Tarunkumar, Vinodkumar, Sangita and Vyomesh Patel, who, together with their affiliated trusts, own the property at 2524 Lombard Street; and Mohammed and Nasir Shaikh, who are believed to operate the Bridge Motel. The City Attorney’s complaint details a panoply of criminal activity since August 2008 that establish the residential hotel as a public nuisance within the meaning of state law, including arrests for: armed robbery, burglary, theft and forcible entry; battery and domestic violence; possession of stolen property, including a stolen vehicle; fraudulent use of an automated teller card; counterfeit currency; failure to register as a sex offender; drug sales and possession, including methamphetamine and heroin possession; throwing hypodermic needles into neighboring yards; terrorist threats, malicious mischief, vandalism to property and vehicles; parole and probation violations; and warrant arrests. The complaint also enumerates a raft of code violations dating back to 2005, including notices of violations from the Department of Building Inspection involving fire safety, lack of heating, insufficient and inoperable bathrooms; clogged toilets, broken sinks and faucets; water leaks, broken windows and sash frames; missing guardrails; deteriorated concrete; damaged walls; accumulated garbage and debris; and rodent infestation. Code violations repeatedly identified by the Department of Public Health since 2006 include extensive cockroach and bedbug infestation; overflowing garbage and refuse throughout the building; befouled carpeting; mold; and lack of running water. The Fire Department Bureau of Fire Protection additionally identified code violations since 2006 that include: hazardous accumulation of combustible materials and trash; electrical extension cords used in lieu of permanent wiring; lack of working smoke detectors; lack of proof of fire alarm certification; blocked exit stairways; and double-sided locks in violation of the San Francisco Fire Code. The case is City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Tarunkumar K. Patel et al., San Francisco Superior Court, Filed Oct. 26, 2009. Additional information on the case is available on the City Attorney’s Web site at https://www.sfcityattorney.org.