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Landlord Richard Thomas is sued for millions for cheating tenants
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com )
Monday Feb 21st, 2011 8:43 PM
Oakland landlord is sued for millions for ripping off the security deposits of vulnerable tenants! The case is Alcoser v. Thomas (Case No RG03112134 in Alameda County Superior Court and A124848 in 1st Appellate Division).

Landlord Richard Thomas is sued for millions for cheating tenants

By Lynda Carson -- February 21, 2011

Oakland - Last week, wealthy multi-millionaire landlord and "vexatious litigant," Richard Thomas, of Environment and Land Management, Inc., was whacked in the courts when a state appeals court upheld more than $3 million in punitive damages and attorney's fees after a jury found that he had ripped off and cheated around 200 tenants out of their security deposits, during 1999 through 2007.

The jury found that Thomas cheated the tenants out of their security deposits by fabricating false claims of property damage in his apartments. Thomas owns around 200 rental units in Alameda County, and most of the 186 or more class members involved in the lawsuit reside in properties that are located in Oakland.

Thomas's business records revealed that he overcharged his tenants by making false claims for hundreds of thousands of dollars from tenant's security deposits, while spending less than half of that amount on claimed repairs.

The suit against Thomas began in 2003, and has been an 8 year struggle to seek justice in the courts against the alleged dirty tricks of a landlord ripping off the security deposits of vulnerable tenants.

Tenant's attorney Aram Antaramian of Berkeley said; "Richard Thomas is still a large landowner, and there should be some monitoring of his activities. I hope he changes his way from the past, and only time will tell. There has been a lot of work involved in going after Thomas for ripping off peoples security deposits, and going after him was very difficult."

During 2000, the organization Just Cause Oakland kicked off it's anti-eviction ordinance campaign with a protest of around 30 tenants and activists in front of one of Richard Thomas's buildings near 6th Ave., and E. 19th St., in Oakland, because Thomas was evicting tenants to jack up the rents.

In 2004, Alameda County Superior Court awarded the City of Oakland around $70,000 in sanctions against landlord Thomas for his 2 years of non-compliance with an agreement to monitor his rental activities, while allegedly violating Oakland's rent laws.

Additionally, during 2004 and 2005 more protests were organized by the Campaign for Renters Rights against Thomas for his alleged activities of scamming tenants out of their security deposits and countersuing the former tenants because they filed claims in small claims court, to get their security deposits back. Judge Leo Dorado claimed Thomas was a "vexatious litigant," for his excessive activities in the courts.

Thomas's property management company Environment and Land Management Inc., is located at 3300 Kempton Ave., Oakland. Thomas is expected to appeal the latest ruling against him, and was not available for comment.

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

§Correction: Thomas owns around 150 rental units
by Lynda Carson ( tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com ) Tuesday Feb 22nd, 2011 8:27 PM
Correction: Thomas owns around 150 rental units
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Former tenant/ managerallen sanfordWednesday Oct 31st, 2012 6:35 PM