A Santa Monica motel owner is being sued for $150,000 in civil penalties on 60 separate alleged violations of the city business and professional code and for unfair competition.
The suit, filed by the Santa Monica city attorney's office, charges that Siroos Farzam, 49, a resident of Brentwood, knowingly permitted the use of his motels for prostitution that sometimes involved minors, failed to meet safety, health and fire codes, forcefully removed tenants, fired employees who refused to go along with his orders, and forced long-term tenants to move from one unit to another in order to circumvent local and state laws protecting tenants.
The lawsuit also charges that Farzam added 13 units to the Ocean Park Motel without obtaining the necessary permits, that he failed to comply with state and federal laws regarding employee tax withholding, reporting requirements and worker's compensation.
According to the suit, Farzam also failed to accurately report and pay to the city of Santa Monica the proper amount of transient occupancy tax, to report the annual gross income from the three motels and to pay city business license fees.
The motels named in the lawsuit are the Ocean Park Motel, 2452 Lincoln Blvd.; Santa Monica Motel, 2102 Lincoln Blvd.; and the Auto Motel, 1447 Ocean Ave.
Holtzman said Farzam has owned the motels since 1982 but that he sold the Ocean Park Motel after the suit was filed in April.
Deputy City Atty. Jeffrey Holtzman said that numerous complaints about conditions at Farzam's motels have been received by the consumer complaint division of the city attorney's office.
Holtzman said the unfair competition charge stems from alleged operation of a business in violation of state and local laws. He said that when a business fails to meet minimum standards of operation, this practice constitutes unfair competition as defined by the state Business and Professions Code.
On Monday, Santa Monica Superior Court Judge David M. Rothman denied a request by Farzam that the suit be dismissed. Farzam had claimed that the suit against him did not state sufficient cause and that the accusations in it were not specific enough for him to defend himself.
Rothman gave Farzam 30 days to reply to his ruling.
Farzam could not be reached for comment, and his attorney, Leonard Gross, said he had no comment.