California Hotel Tenants Can Stay

Thursday, October 30, 2008
Oakland Tribune

California hotel tenants can stay: Low-income residents living at the California Hotel in Oakland can remain in their apartments, a judge decided Wednesday as he continued a restraining order preventing the building's owners from evicting tenants, an attorney representing the tenants said.

In addition, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Richard Keller approved the appointment of a trustee to both manage the building and search for a potential buyer.

"We had a great victory in court," said John Murcko, an attorney representing about 50 low-income tenants still living in the building. "I have never seen anything like this in my life."

Murcko sued Oakland Community Housing, a private business that owns the building, after it sent eviction notices to tenants in July. Oakland Community Housing wanted to sell the property after it said it ran out of money.

The company had been running the hotel as a low-income apartment complex and received millions of dollars from the city in return for a promise to keep the building open to low-income tenants for 30 years.

Murcko's lawsuit sought to prevent the evictions and win damages for tenants who in the lawsuit said they lived in squalor because Oakland Community Housing did not maintain the property.

In making his ruling Tuesday, Keller made Anna Omura, an attorney at the Eviction Defense Center, the trustee of the hotel, giving her the right to collect rents, hire a management company and seek potential buyers.

Murcko and Omura are scheduled to appear in court early next year to discuss potential buyers of the property.

FAIR USE NOTICE. This document may contain copyrighted material the use of which may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Tenants Together is making this article available on our website in an effort to advance the understanding of tenant rights issues in California. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law. If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

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