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Oakland Hotel Travelers Tenants Settle Wrongful Eviction Suit
by Posted by Lynda Carson
Tuesday May 14th, 2019 9:37 PM
Plaintiffs Peter Howe, Joshua Daniels, William Prather and Orlando Chavez (through his successor) have settled their lawsuit for tenant harassment and wrongful eviction against the owners and management of Oakland’s Hotel Travelers, including defendants Danny Haber, Dion Ross and Alon Gutman, for a total payment of $575,000!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 14, 2019

OAKLAND HOTEL TRAVELERS TENANTS SETTLE WRONGFUL EVICTION SUIT

Oakland - Plaintiffs Peter Howe, Joshua Daniels, William Prather and Orlando Chavez (through his successor) have settled their lawsuit for tenant harassment and wrongful eviction against the owners and management of Oakland’s Hotel Travelers, including defendants Danny Haber, Dion Ross and Alon Gutman, for a total payment of $575,000.

The Negev, a company founded by Haber and Gutman that previously operated at least one “hacker house” in San Francisco, convinced an investor to purchase the Hotel Travelers, at the time a single-room occupancy (SRO) hotel at 392 11th Street in downtown Oakland.

The plan was to transform the SRO by completely demolishing each floor to the studs and then duplicating one of the Negev’s floorplans from one of its City properties (designed to create a high collision rate amongst its young occupants). At the time of the April 1, 2016, purchase, each floor at the SRO housed several elderly and/or disabled tenants. One of the first things the new ownership did was to take the sole elevator out of service.

Although the City of Oakland approved permits for construction to be performed at Hotel Travelers, it asked Haber to confirm there would be no tenant displacements. Haber confirmed this, yet other documents indicate that the plan was to demolish all of the floors in favor of a new layout that would appeal to “young professionals.” Meanwhile, Haber communicated to the existing tenants that they would no longer be able to afford their rooms after the construction was done and an “exemption” from rent control was obtained, while aggressively pursuing agreements with them to permanently vacate their units. “Implementation Specialist” Dion Ross maintained a spreadsheet of the displacement status. When Plaintiffs would not agree to leave, construction was performed “right around them.”

Peter Howe, one of the tenants who said the last straw was living in a construction zone where even his floor’s common area bathroom/shower was destroyed, said: “I am very happy that Oakland’s Just Cause Ordinance provides recourse for losing what was once our SRO home!” William Prather was the only Plaintiff able to retain his tenancy, although he was also subjected to a construction zone, and for stretches of time he was deprived of any water supply. Prather praised the Tenant Protection Ordinance: “I was not evicted and I am very thankful for the settlement and Oakland’s strong tenant laws!”

Rocio Toriz, an attorney for Plaintiffs, said: “We are proud that our clients did not give up! Oakland tenants have valuable rights independent of socioeconomic factors…. learn your rights if your landlord threatens you with eviction!”

All press inquiries should be directed to: Robert Salinas at (510) 663-9240 or by email to bob [at] ssrplaw.com.


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