Fire Sale: Hotel Owner Tried to Pay to Get Property Burned Down

By Chris Roberts
|  Tuesday, Jul 12, 2011  |  Updated 1:39 PM PDT
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Fire Sale: Hotel Owner Tried to Pay to Get Property Burned Down

AP

A Tiburon man reportedly tried to pay to have his hotel burned down. (AP Photo/Jim McKnight)

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In a situation reminscient of the predictable plot of a bad movie, a Tiburon man plead guilty to hiring someone to burn his Oakland hotel building down.

Richard Earl Singer, 44, of Tiburon, is owner of the Hotel Menlo in Oakland, a flophouse so decrepit that Singer is being sued in a separate case over claims that the place is "uninhabitable," according to the Marin Independent Journal.

Federal investigators say that Singer approached an undercover informant with a cash offer, money available to anyone willing to burn down the Hotel Menlo in order for Singer to collect the maximum insurance payout.

Singer had offered the informant in December some $65,000 to have the hotel burned down, according to reports.

He plead guilty in federal court to a charge of solicitation to commit arson. Singer owns another Oakland hotel that's involved in lawsuits for poor maintenance conditions, according to the newspaper.

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