A true politician can cunningly sell you any story. But in the City of San Francisco v. Anne Kihagi, there is no denying that the city attorney sold the public a bag of dirt when he said he was attempting to protect the public. The protection was from a black landlord, Anne Kihagi, who remodeled and made her buildings very beautiful without getting permits for kitchen and bathroom remodels – for which she was penalized over $1.25mm and almost the same for the city attorney’s legal fees, despite their salaries at one-fifth that amount. When the landlord, cried foul and called out the selective enforcement in the city, the case turned into a thinly veiled vindictive message to a landlord from a powerful, unchecked City Attorney who went so far as to allow false information to be presented in the trial.
- “The more secure an office holder, the more his interests would diverge from those of his constituents.” Andrew Jackson.
Has the San Francisco City Attorney, who has no term limits, turned his role into lifetime, professional career and failed to recognize it is a temporary privilege to serve the public.
The case has not only been polarizing, but it has put in the limelight some of the dirty and unethical legal tricks that go into winning political cases, as the City Attorney was not winning till they displaced other judges to get Judge Angela Bradstreet . Think what you want, but after reading some of the rulings by Judge Bradstreet, you can arrive at your own conclusion. When Judge Bradstreet penalized the landlord $5,000 for 2 large men over 6’10” (that’s taller than most basket ball players!) and weighing over 250lbs, who claimed they screamed at seeing their black landlord in their common area on a Sunday afternoon, something is wrong.
Fast forward, Judge Bradstreet awarding millions of penalties later, and appellate rules that rely on premise that if there’s any reasonable basis the judge had an even a small, remote basis for her ruling, they never touch the judgement – yes – even those 6’10” screaming men.
Time to pay the judgement. So, for the owner to pay the city the massive fines, Ms. Kihagi attorneys approached the City to call off their games, or tenants could be evicted to pay each ridiculous fine, which was the only way Ms. Kihagi could afford it.
The City Attorney said they would not make ANY deal with Ms. Kihagi.
Now, the first seven tenants have been served with eviction notices so the units can be individually sold for ownership. This is the only way to get the maximum value for each building so that Ms. Kihagi can pay the out-of-control City.
More than 130 tenants, including elderly will be displaced to pay the city attorney. Ms. Kihagi is saddened and looking for ways she can work with her tenants for solutions – including looking into sources that would work with her tenants so they can in fact become the individual buyers. In fact, her attorneys are talking to the city attorney to see if he would hold off collection for a few more months so Ms. Kihagi can engage with the tenants to look for solutions. But, her attorneys are very skeptical the City Attorney will be interested.
So, in the end, who was really harmed? Maybe in the end, this was just more easy money for a corrupt city that has already stolen million-dollar properties from elderly owners and a $3 million building from a Castro man that could not afford $25k worth of repairs.
Until San Franciscans wake up and speak up, many landlords will soon be following Ms. Kihagi and taking their rentals off the market – and for a city with a staggering housing shortage, no one can afford to be silent.
For more information on Anna Kihagi & West 18th Properties, @annekihagi1 https://annekihagisf.com/