Antioch property owner threatens class action lawsuit against City and Council for renter eviction moratorium

By Allen Payton

Antioch Realtor and rental property owner Mark Jordan sent a “Cease and Desist Demand” to the members of the Antioch City Council on Friday, April 3 in response to their vote on March 31 to place a moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial properties. The council’s actions give renters up to 90 days to repay for each month of rent they are unable to pay during the coronavirus pandemic. (See related article)

Following is Jordan’s email sent to Mayor Sean Wright and the four council members:

“Mr. Write (sic) and Council Members,

Please be advised that this letter constitutes a Cease and Desist Demand concerning the City of Antioch’s tortious interference in the terms of all rental agreements executed within the City of Antioch and which effect non owner occupied real property both residential and commercial.  (See action taken by Council March 31, 2020).

This Demand in no way acts to invalidate or argue the validity of Executive Order N-28-20 issued by the State of California.

You must rescind and revoke your order made March 31, 2020 and cease from your unlawful actions.  If you fail to act it is highly likely you will be faced with class action litigation which will most likely include significant punitive damages.  Understand clearly, this will most likely cost the City of Antioch million of dollars. You are not acting within the authority of Executive Order N-28-20.

Yes, I fully understand the nature of our world wide heath issue and the shelter in place order issued by the County Health Department. I further understand, and have read Governor Newsom’s Executive Order N-28-20.  The question is; have any of you?

In your meeting of March 31, 2020 you have gone far beyond the State’s granted authority.  There is nothing within the Paragraphs 1 through 6 inclusive, granting you the power to determine the deferred rent payment and time period for a deferred payment.  This City governmental interference is therefore tortious interference at its face.

These are matters to be determined by the parties to the contracts and are subject to judicial review, not City dictate.

Given that you have acted illegally it is my position that your entire moratorium and action taken is without force or effect. Please remember you have no power or authority except through the State of California and an authority granted to you by the State. Please review the State Constitution.

Your rescission of the moratorium is required immediately.

Mark Jordan

In the past, Jordan has been successful suing the city. In 2016 he sued the City of Antioch for misappropriating funds from the water fees paid by residents and using them to pay for police. As a result, the City had to repay the water fund the amount that had been spent on police services. (See related article)

Asked if he had lined up other property owners to join him in a class action lawsuit, Jordan simply responded, “No I have not.

An email to City Attorney Thomas Smith was sent Saturday morning seeking a response to questions about the threatened lawsuit. Please check back later for updates to this report.

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