SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office filed a criminal complaint charging Adam Shekhter, Saul Reuben Robin, Edward Jose Valentin, My Suite, LLC, 1238 10th Street LLC, and 1433 Euclid LLC (“defendants”) with tenant harassment, maintaining a public nuisance, and violating local zoning laws.

According to a press release from the city of Santa Monica, the Code Enforcement Division of the City’s Planning & Community Development Department investigated the case after receiving several complaints from the public. The investigation exposed that the defendants knowingly disobeyed repeated instructions from Code Enforcement, failed to fully comply with the city’s tenant relocation order, and used unlawful tactics – such as illegal buyout and eviction notices – in an attempt to unlawfully terminate the lawful tenancies of one or more tenants.  The investigation revealed that the defendants operated group residential housing rental operations without first obtaining required use permits from the city of Santa Monica. Following the investigation, the case was referred to the City Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.

On December 18, 2018, Deputy City Attorney Eda Suh filed criminal charges against the defendants. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tamara Hall ordered the defendants to appear in court on February 13, 2019, to answer the charges.

“The City of Santa Monica has consistently dedicated policies to producing, protecting and preserving housing and combatting tenant harassment in our community,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Yibin Shen. “City prosecutors and enforcement staff will take action when individuals knowingly violate local law for personal financial gain at others’ expense.  We are committed to enforcing the City’s laws and ensuring that victims from all income levels and backgrounds can receive equal justice under the law.”

City law protects tenants from unlawful harassment by landlords.  Landlords cannot influence or attempt to influence a tenant to vacate a rental housing unit through fraud, intimidation or coercion.  City law requires a use permit before shared living quarters that constitute a group residential use can be offered for rent in a multi-unit residential district.

The Santa Monica City Attorney’s Office is asking anyone who is encountering similar or related violations to immediately contact the Code Enforcement Division at (310) 458-4984 or visit their website to file a complaint.