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Menlo Hotel tenants sue RMD Services in Oakland
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Saturday Dec 19th, 2009 1:43 AM
Oakland tenants file suit against RMD Services 1, LLC, and it's founder Ryan Isaac Nathan, for the slum-like conditions existing at Oakland's downtown Menlo Hotel!


Menlo Hotel tenants sue RMD Services in Oakland

By Lynda Carson -- December 19, 2009

Oakland - Residents of Oakland's Menlo Hotel recently filed suit against RMD Services 1, LLC, and it's founder Ryan Isaac Nathan, formerly of East Malaysia, who was formerly known as Suren Narayan Swaminathan, before changing his name.

The complaints in the suit range from minor code violations throughout the hotel to more serious violations involving lack of heat in the building, lack of elevator service for the residents, plumbing problems, and infestations of bed bugs, rodents and cock roaches.

Attorney's Andrew Wolff and Bruce Nelson are assisting attorney Nabiel Ahmed, in representing the residents who have filed suit against RMD Services 1, LLC, and it's founder Ryan Nathan.

Currently there is a total of 17 residents that are being represented by attorney Wolff, and 14 other residents who are being represented by attorney Nelson, in the numerous law suits filed against RMD Services 1, LLC, for the violation of a variety of California's Health and Safety Codes at the Menlo Hotel.

"The residents of the Menlo Hotel have spent weeks without any heat and it was freezing cold in Oakland last week," said attorney Wolff, "and in addition to infestations of rodents and bed bugs, making matters worse the front desk clerk keeps people from using the elevator, leaving people in wheel chairs on the upper floors trapped in the building. The residents of the hotel deserve much better," Wolff said.

During a discussion with the founder of RMD Services 1, LLC, "I have been losing business ever since the Oakland Post recently did a story about my being sued," said Ryan Nathan, "and various organizations in the Bay Area continue to pull their tenants from my rental properties. I have around 40 employees and with so many tenants fleeing my rental units, I do not know if i can keep all of my employees working. People have been calling me on the phone and have been calling me names since it became public that my company RMD Services 1, LLC, and I have been sued by the renters of the Menlo Hotel."

According to Ryan Nathan he provides housing to low-income renters, and the mission of RMD Services is to combat chronic poverty, welfare dependency and homelessness among families with children, mental health problems, substance abuse problems, and the HIV/AIDS population.

Ryan Nathan is the founder of RMD Services 1, LLC, RMD Services II, LLC, and Second Chance Housing, a service provider that Nathan claims has non profit status (501c3 charity organization), with the organization's EIN number being 83-0491483.

Despite Nathan's assertions, Second Chance Housing does not appear on the current list of tax exempt organizations in Alameda County since it was incorporated on 12/20/2007, and a search of the EIN # 83-0491483 or the name Second Chance Housing reveals that 990 tax filings for the organization do not appear in the records of the Foundation Center, or Guide Star when doing a search on 990 tax filings.

In addition, Ryan Nathan claims that RMD Services 1, LLC, has been serving the community since 2000, however state records reveal that RMD Services 1, LLC, and RMD Services II, LLC, were not incorporated in California until 2/24/2004.

Currently RMD Services 1, LLC, is managing and maintaining the Menlo Hotel and Ridge Hotel in Oakland for the Prize Group, LLC, a corporation owned by Richard Singer of San Francisco. Richard Singer also owns the Hotel Des Arts and Olympic Hotel in San Francisco, among other properties.

Currently RMD Services is offering listings for available rental units in Oakland at six locations or more, throughout the City of Oakland.

When going after his tenants with evictions and unlawful detainers, Ryan Nathan hires The Shepherd Group and uses Michael Shepherd, a brutal hard nosed attorney to dump his tenants on the streets when evicting them for being late with their rent payments.

Ryan Nathan states that his company RMD Services 1, LLC, exists to help the low-income renters in the Oakland community, but his own documents reveal a picture somewhat different than the one Ryan Nathan has been promoting in his PR literature.

When sticking it too the little guy, RMD Services 1, LLC, knows how to do the job well.

For example, one document reveals that when low-income renters apply for a rental unit at one of Nathan's properties, RMD Services 1, LLC, requires an immediate deposit equal to 25% of one months rents in advance, in addition to $20 per applicant for a credit check, just to apply for a rental unit at one of his bed bug infested locations.

Currently RMD Services 1, LLC, is asking for $1,095 for a 2 bed room unit in east Oakland, meaning that any of the low-income renters that try to qualify for moving into the rental unit and files an application, they have to pay $250 and more up front, just to find out if they qualify for residing there.

RMD Services 1, LLC, claims that they will refund the deposit money back if someone does not qualify to reside in one of their rental units, but they also claim that RMD Services 1, LLC, will not refund the deposit money back if the applicant decides not to move into one of their rental units after filing an application.

In addition to the above mentioned deposit, there is an additional deposit equal to $500 for non agency referrals and a $750 deposit for those with agency referrals, according to RMD Services 1, LLC, documents, for those that decide to move into one of their properties.

The City of Oakland has conducted an all-out inspection of the Menlo Hotel recently as a result of the law suits being filed against RMD Services and the good reporting of the Oakland Post, in covering the story about the bleak conditions faced by the residents of the Menlo Hotel.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com