Oakland Sues 3 Hotels for Allegedly Welcoming Prostitutes

Police want to shut down these popular "hubs of prostitution."

By Mike Anderson
|  Wednesday, Dec 22, 2010  |  Updated 7:54 PM PDT
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Oakland Sues 3 Hotels for Allegedly Welcoming Prostitutes

Oakland is suing three hotels in its fight against prostitution.

In the battle against prostitution, Oakland is going after three hotels it says prostitutes regularly use.

The hotels being sued are the Economy Inn at 12th Street and 1st Avenue, the National Lodge at 17th Street and International and the Sage Motel on MacArthur near High Street.

A public nuisance lawsuit seeks $25,000 from each hotel owner and could shut them down for one year, Oakland North reports.

City Attorney John Russo announced the new strategy at a press conference Wednesday where he called the hotels "hubs of prostitution."

"The owners of these hotels cannot turn a blind eye to what's going on in their rooms," he said.

But Hiral Patel, a manager at the National Lodge, said he refuses customers every day and even calls the police when he suspects illegal behavior.

Patel's hotel on International is in an area known as "the track," a hot spot for the sex trade.

“This is the best street for the girls to work, so they want a room,” he told the Bay Citizen. “If I think she's a prostitute or he's a pimp, we don't rent them a room.”

The Bay Area has had prostitution problems in the past. A major sting in 2008 netted about 600 people soliciting sex. Ten percent of them were minors.

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