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Reddy Realty alive despite convictions

By Devona Walker, Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday July 03, 2002

Landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy may have pleaded guilty to various felonies including tax evasion and the importation of minors for illegal sexual activity but his holdings in the city of Berkeley and his net worth have apparently not been marred by his transgressions. 

“They may have convicted him but they did not take away his property,” said Michael Caplan of Neighborhood Services for Berkeley. “The two issues are unrelated. It’s my guess that he owns a fair percentage of all the available housing in the entire city, and that he is still worth upwards of $50 million.” 

An inconclusive search with property records showed that Reddy currently has at least 20 properties in the city of Berkeley, some individually assessed at $665,000. It is believed, however, that the Reddy family owns far more than what has come up in this property records search.  

The realty company works with various property managers that often serve as liaisons between the family and renters, according to Caplan. 

Last year, the Rent Stabilization Board sent letters to various Reddy Realty tenants, making them aware of their rights. 

“He’s the not the worst slum lord in the city, but he has a pretty bad history,” said Paul Hogarth of the Rent Stabilization Board. “So the rent board sent out letters to all Reddy’s tenants informing them of their rights because Reddy has had such a problem with the habitability of his properties.” 

Hogarth went on to say that cynically, one could probably guess how many properties were owned by Reddy just by looking. 

“It’s very easy to find out which properties are Reddy properties. They’re the ones that are painted pink,” said Paul Hogarth of the Rent Stabilization Board. 

Officially, however, the city appears to be able to divulge very little about the current property holdings of Reddy Realty. 

“We are very limited as to how much information we can release,” said a spokesperson of Berkeley’s property records division. “Not that much of this information is open to the public.” 

Reddy, a 63-year-old multimillionaire property owner pleaded guilty on March, 7, 2001 to various charges after a young female tenant of one of his apartment units died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty heating unit. 

A subsequent investigation into the woman’s death opened Reddy up to tax evasion, immigration fraud and importation of minors into the United States for illegal sexual activity convictions. 

Though various victims in the case say that Reddy was also guilty of rape and statutory rape charges in this case, he was not convicted on these charges. 

Reddy’s attorney George Cotsirilos was unavailable yesterday for a comment.