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The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that the owner of the Brookdale Inn and Spa pleaded no contest to felony insurance fraud and two misdemeanors related to unpermitted construction and a lack of worker’s compensation insurance. Sanjiv Kakkar, 51, faces less than a year of jail time, a $10,000 fine and restitution to an insurance company when he is sentenced in October. Judge Timothy Volkmann said in court that the sentence might be served through work release or another alternative. Prosecutor Kelly Walker said outside court that the pleas were “appropriate, given the circumstances.”

In 2011, inspectors found disturbed asbestos during a construction project at the Inn. Authorities told Kakkar not to allow anyone in the dining hall. Later that day, Kakkar held a Valentine’s Day luncheon with about 150 senior citizens, prosecutors said. None of the seniors were sickened. Kakkar pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor health and safety code violation for unlawfully operating the dining facility.

Kakkar and his wife, 49-year-old Neelam Kakkar, bought the Brookdale Lodge at 11570 Highway 9 in the summer of 2007 and renamed it. Built in the 1890s, it had hosted Marilyn Monroe and President Herbert Hoover in its heyday. It had 46 hotel rooms, 45 apartments, 30 storage units and a large restaurant and bar.

In 2008, a worker spoke with Sanjiv Kakkar about filing a worker’s compensation claim. But prosecutors said Kakkar dissuaded him from filing the claim. He pleaded no contest to felony insurance fraud related to dissuading the employee. Sanjiv Kakkar also pleaded no contest to felony insurance premium fraud because he paid some employees in cash to reduce the payroll amount he reported to insurers. Sanjiv Kakkar also failed to maintain worker’s compensation insurance, a misdemeanor to which he also pleaded no contest. Neelam Kakkar also had faced charges because she signed her name on some payroll documents, but her charges were dismissed in the plea agreement.

A 2010 civil suit brought by six former employees alleged that Kakkar bounced paychecks, inflicted emotional distress and did not provide rest and meal breaks, according to the civil filing. That case is due back in court July 25 potentially to set a trial date.

Also in 2010, a judge ordered Kakkar to pay $17,000 to the state Department of Fish and Game and other agencies after chemicals used to unclog a kitchen pipe killed about 50 endangered steelhead trout.

In 2009, a fire destroyed 20 apartments and displaced 65 people. County officials red-tagged some buildings on the property after the fire, and some remain closed. The Inn has not reopened since the properties were red-tagged.