SAN FRANCISCO – 01-23-2019 ( — The San Francisco City Attorney has said that they won’t make any deal with landlord, Anne Kihagi, and are not concerned if tenants lose their homes. That’s right – the City has flippantly denied the opportunity to do exactly what it claims is its priority: preventing tenant displacement. 

The City Attorney’s case was personal from the onset, and instead of securing tenants’ homes, the City Attorney is more concerned about the glory of winning an imbalanced case against a single landlord whose hands were tied so the city could walk to an easy court victory.

The City framed their crusade against landlord Anne Kihagi as being for the protection of tenants, but as the case developed, the City’s true intent became clear. Their goal was to oppress and overwhelm Ms. Kihagi at all costs – just because she woman challenged their abusive practices, like prejudiced selective enforcement and disturbing interference with building permits. As Ms. Kihagi’s side of the story has been released, it has become clear that she is not the villain here.

When the City didn’t win in court in early 2016, they turned to even dirtier strategies: bombarding Ms. Kihagi with impossible amounts of discovery work, drastically slashing her trial preparation time, revoking her right to testify in her own case, and inspiring and enabling Judge Angela Bradstreet’s outrageously biased rulings.

Soon, Ms. Kihagi was being charged $5,000 because a 6’10” male couple said Ms. Kihagi’s polite introduction of herself in a common area on a quiet Sunday sent them screaming with fear. This and other ridiculous rulings amounted to the largest gross penalty ever extracted from a landlord – a whopping $2.5 million, not even including the multi-million-dollar attorney fees (despite their actual salaries of one-fifth the amount). Rulings and charges like these made it clear that the City cared more about punishing a successful black woman than facilitating true justice. 

As this drama comes to a close, the City’s priority continues to be prejudice. As a result of the crippling fines imposed, Ms. Kihagi is planning to remove several of her units from rental so that she can sell each for its rightful value; while doing so, she is fervently trying not to displace any of her tenants.

Ms. Kihagi’s attorneys informed the City of her sale intentions so that they had the option to negotiate, knowing that otherwise the tenants would be displaced. For a City that lauds itself as a protector of tenants, it seems only natural that the City would cooperate and work out a deal for its beloved tenants.

Was this case ever about the tenants? Or, as Ms. Kihagi has said, was it always intended as a lesson to never fight with the City of San Francisco?

Furthermore, how is it that, in a city with a rapidly dwindling African-American population, most of the City Attorney’s battles are against black businessowners? As Ms. Kihagi’s attorneys explained, the thinly veiled vengeance behind City of San Francisco v. Kihagi was merely retaliation for a strong black woman standing up to the mighty, unchecked City

When a City Attorney prioritizes his personal fights over the true role of his office, dangerous forces are undoubtedly at work – in word, in deed, and in office. 


For more information on Anna Kihagi & West 18th Properties, @annekihagi1 

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