City takes aim at hotel plagued with police calls

A Marina district hotel allegedly crawling with bedbugs, rats and criminals is the target of a lawsuit by City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

The Bridge Motel, a single resident occupancy hotel on Lombard Street, was the site of 91 police calls in the last seven months alone, according to Herrera. Among the calls were incidents involving violence, drugs, grand theft, weapons possession and terrorist threats.

The lawsuit, filed Monday, details dozens of troubling incidents since August 2008, including a tenant throwing hypodermic needles into neighboring yards and arrests for armed robbery, burglary, domestic violence, car theft, failure to register as a sex offender, vandalism and multiple drug offenses.

The owners of the hotel — Tarunkumar, Vindodkumar, Vyomesh and Sangita Patel — regularly flouted fire and public safety codes, according to the lawsuit. Hotel operators-managers Mohammed and Nasir Shaikh are accused of locking residents out of bathrooms and a community shower, letting the building go without heat and maintaining filthy conditions that included rat, cockroach and bedbug infestations.

“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,” Herrera said. “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.”

Attorney Rich Stratton, who represents the Patels and the Shaikhs, said he was surprised by the lawsuit, because his clients had been working diligently with the City Attorney’s Office over the past several months to clean up the Bridge, evicting problem tenants and reviewing the hotel’s management.

“I think we’ve made considerable progress already, so I’m disappointed they filed the suit,” Stratton said. “I don’t think the owners and current managers are in any way defiant. They’re quite anxious to resolve these issues in a long-term way that benefits the neighbors and The City.”

Part of the hotel’s problems stem from being an SRO surrounded by mid-range and upscale tourist hotels, Stratton said.

A front-desk clerk named Toby at the neighboring Marina Motel said the Bridge attracts a rough, loud clientele.

“There is a lot of drinking, drugs, people yelling at night in the back parking lot,” he said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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