Well-Known Local Landlord Faces Charges over Deposits

The California Bureau of Real Estate has filed a complaint against Alameda landlord Don Lindsey. As a founding member of Alamedans for Fair Rents, an organization of the city’s property owners and managers, Lindsey has stood front and center in the recent rent debate in the city.

The complaint, which the bureau filed on Dec. 16, 2015, alleges that Lindsey and his company, Lindsey Properties, Inc. failed to properly deposit money received from tenants in the proper trust accounts. The bureau alleges that at the time of its audit — from Jan. 1, 2013, and Oct. 31, 2014 — Lindsey’s trust account was $72,465. 52 short. 

Lindsey said in a statement he released in response to this allegation that the bureau’s investigators do not properly understand Yardi, the property management software that his company uses. He said that his company has always maintained a trust account for clients’ money, separate from all other accounts and “at no time were any monies co-mingled or used in any way other than accepted practices.” 

The complaint also alleges that Lindsey’s company failed to reconcile the trust account on a monthly basis as required by law. Lindsey said that his company’s certified public accountant has reconciled every bank statement for his clients’ trust accounts back to 2008 and noted no irregularities. 

In addition the complaint accuses Lindsey and his company of failing to maintain hard copies of his trust account checks, of allowing two unlicensed persons to make withdrawals from the account and of failing to disclose Lindsey’s broker license number on the company’s website. 

Lindsey countered by pointing out that the bank no longer provides hard copies of checks, that he did not realize the names of currently unlicensed persons remained on the account and that his license number was not on the website. 

He pointed out that he listed his family members as signatories on the original trust account, and that they were licensed when he listed them.  He said that he had forgotten that they were on the account. He referred to issues like not having his broker license number on the website as “small procedural items which we have answered.”

The hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m., Monday, March 7.