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Owner, manager of Salt Lake motel encouraged prostitution, police say

Salt Lake police investigate a stabbing at the Salt City Inn motel in Salt Lake City on May 30, 2012.
Salt Lake police investigate a stabbing at the Salt City Inn motel in Salt Lake City on May 30, 2012.
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The owner and manager of a Salt Lake motel face criminal charges accusing them of encouraging prostitutes to use their rooms for business.

Rezvan Saisani, 55, and Sameer Syed, 29, were charged Tuesday in 3rd District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and money laundering, second-degree felonies; three counts of exploiting prostitution, a third-degree felony; and being a public nuisance, a class B misdemeanor.

The Statewide Enforcement of Crimes by Undocumented Residents task force in the Utah Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with Salt Lake police, began investigating the Salt City Inn, 1025 N. 900 West, during the summer of 2019 because it was “being used for commercial sex and drug trafficking,” according to charging documents.

Saisani is listed in court documents as the owner and operator of Salt City Inn and Syed as the manager.

“Agents received multiple tips that Saisani and Syed were not only aware of the City Inn property being used for commercial sex and drug trafficking, but Saisani and Syed encouraged such activity in order to benefit financially,” the charges state.

The men collected “visitor fees” from “every party visiting a commercial sex worker at the City Inn. Agents were told that fee was a minimum of $10 and was paid directly to Saisani or Syed by any party coming onto the City Inn property to engage in a transaction with one of the commercial sex workers residing long term at the City Inn,” according to charging documents.

The men would also trade free rent with some of the prostitutes in exchange for sex acts, the charges state.

Investigators conducted undercover operations at the motel as part of their investigation. Several prostitutes were also interviewed for the investigation, many of whom told police that Saisani (and) Syed knew commercial sex work was happening at the motel and encouraged it, the charging documents allege.

Agents obtained six search warrants for rooms and locations at the Salt City Inn. Those warrants were served in early February and resulted in several people being charged with drug distribution.

James Butler Brown, 51, was charged Tuesday with exploiting prostitution, a third-degree felony, and two counts of aiding prostitution, a class A misdemeanor. According to charging documents, Brown was a resident at the Salt City Inn, sold narcotics from his room and would refer his drug clients to the commercial sex workers.

Prosecutors also noted that Saisani “has significant financial resources should he choose to flee the jurisdiction.”