Santa Ana Sues the Red Roof Inn, Calling Motel a ‘Public Nuisance’

October 19, 2020 Updated: October 19, 2020

The city of Santa Ana, California, has filed a public nuisance and narcotics abatement lawsuit against the owners of the Red Roof Inn Santa Ana in an attempt to reduce rampant criminal activity at the downtown motel.

The Red Roof Inn Santa Ana is a 125-unit motel located at 2600 N. Main St. The lawsuit, filed on Oct. 7, is part of the city’s ongoing crackdown on properties that are hosts for gangs, guns, and narcotics activity.

“The purpose of this lawsuit is to improve the conditions of that motel and to stop illegal activities there, to stop the activities that are happening that are affecting the neighborhood and the community and surrounding areas,” Paul Eakins, the city’s public affairs information officer, told The Epoch Times.

The lawsuit is attempting to rectify the matter quickly by requesting a court order that will require the owners of the property to reside on-site until the motel is on par with city code standards.

“This will encourage them to fix the problem quickly,” Eakins said.

The defendants named in the lawsuit include RR Santa Ana LP and Mountain High/Holiday Hill Corporation—the owners and operators of the business—as well as Terry Tognazzini, Patricia Tognazzini, and Daniel Tognazzini, who are the directors and managers of those business entities.

“The hope is that the court will require these remedies by the defendant to fix the situation … so that we can improve community safety,” Eakins said.

Epoch Times Photo
The entrance to the Red Roof Inn motel in Santa Ana, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
Epoch Times Photo
A housekeeper prepares to clean a room at the Red Roof Inn motel in Santa Ana, Calif., on Oct. 12, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

For years, the property has served as a magnet for crime, authorities say.

“The Property has a reputation in the community, and among law enforcement officers, as a location where narcotics sales take place, where individuals frequently loiter, vandalize property, and use narcotics, and as a location frequented by convicted criminals, probationers, and parolees,” the lawsuit states.

Since Jan. 1, 2019, the Santa Ana Police Department has received more than 440 calls for service at the property, and the city receives daily complaints from neighboring residents and businesses, according to the lawsuit.

The city’s Code Enforcement Division inspected the property and discovered more than 140 violations of state building codes, including unsafe modifications, rodent and vermin infestations, lack of working smoke detectors, and other violations caused by lack of proper maintenance, an Oct. 9 Santa Ana news release stated.

The lawsuit seeks to correct these health and safety violations for the well-being of motel guests and the community. The suit calls for the designation of a city-appointed receiver to take over operation of the property, as well as an injunction prohibiting narcotics and other criminal activity on the property.

The filing requests physical and managerial improvements to the property, including an internet-connected video monitoring system, improved lighting, secure gating, and fencing. It also seeks improved tenant screening and 24-hour licensed security guards.

Representatives for the motel, including RR Santa Ana LP, Mountain High/Holiday Hill Corp., Terry Tognazzini, Patricia Tognazzini, and Daniel Tognazzini, didn’t respond to requests for comment by The Epoch Times prior to publication.

A court date has not yet been determined.