By Devin Fehely

REDWOOD CITY (KPIX 5) — An East Palo Alto landlord accused of bullying his tenants makes his first court appearance.

Nemat Malek Salehi was allegedly caught on camera damaging tenants’ cars.

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Salehi emerged from court defiant, having refused a deal that would have seen the East Palo Alto landlord admit guilt and agree to pay back the tenants whose cars he’s accused of vandalizing.

San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said, “Malek Salehi is facing three counts of criminal destruction of property.”

Police and prosecutors say he used a BB gun to shoot out the car windows of low-income tenants in an effort to force them out of their rent-controlled apartments.

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However, when viewing the black and white surveillance footage released to the media, it’s difficult to tell what exactly is happening. The viewer also can’t see the suspect’s face as he is presumably inside a vehicle with an indecipherable license plate number.

And while Salehi refused to answer questions, many in the court of public opinion have already reached a conclusion about the case.

Neighbor Mary Beth Carrico said, “There’s something wrong. There’s no empathy. It just greed.”

East Palo Alto Vice Mayor Larry Moody said, “I was very upset that a landlord would go to such lengths to force a tenant out.”

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Wagstaffe says Salehi damaged not only cars, “But the sense of community that binds us together.”