A landlord of East Palo Alto apartment pleaded no contest to felony vandalism on Wednesday for damaging the cars of his tenants in an attempt to force them to move from their rent-controlled units, the San Mateo County District Attorney's office said.
Nemat Matt Maleksalehi, 74, owns an apartment complex on the 1700 block of Woodland Avenue. Police determined that he broke the car windows of three tenants who live in the rent-controlled units, allegedly in order to get them to move out so he could increase the rent for new tenants. Nothing was stolen from the vehicles.
East Palo Alto's ordinance allows landlords to raise rents to market levels once a new tenant takes over the unit. The rent increase is then subject to the rent-control provisions limiting rent increases to once annually at a specified percentage.
Maleksalehi pleaded no contest in exchange for a maximum one-year county jail sentence and payment of full restitution. He is scheduled for sentencing on March 20 and remains out of custody on supervised own recognizance.
His son, Auria Maleksalehi, is charged with one misdemeanor count of dissuasion of a witness. His case is set for jury trial on March 20 and for a pretrial conference on Feb. 15. He is also out of custody on supervised own recognizance.