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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

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News + PoliticsSheriff evicts 100-year-old

Sheriff evicts 100-year-old

Vicky Hennessy says she "did the right thing" as protesters shout "shame."

The San Francisco Sheriff’s Office quietly showed up at the home of Iris Canada this morning at around 11:30 and changed the locks. Canada, who is 100 years old, was evicted – while she was out, apparently at a senior center where she goes during the day.

There was no notice, so no protesters were on hand. The whole process happened quickly.

Canada has critical medicine in the house – but her ability to get access to retrieve her possessions is now controlled not by the sheriff but by the notorious anti-tenant law firm that represented the owner.

It was a stunning end to a battle that’s been going on for more than a year, as the last African American tenant in a building now owned by white people who want to convert to condos tried to save the place she’s lived in for more than half a century.

It happened, Canada’s supporters pointed out during a raucous protest in front of the Sheriff’s Office, during Black History Month and around the 40th anniversary of the eviction of the I-Hotel.

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Superior Court Judge A. James Robertson II this week ordered the sheriff to evict Canada “at the earliest possible date that was safe.”

Sheriff Vicki Hennessy, facing a large crowd of angry protesters outside her office, said she decided that it was safer to do the eviction while Canada was out of the house. “I think we did the right thing,” she said as the crowd shouted “shame.” (I have to give her credit, at least she came out and dealt with the crowd; the mayor would have been hiding under his desk.)

She said that the court “ordered us to give no notice,” although the court order was not that clear. When I asked her, she told me that one of the reasons she had given no notice was that she didn’t want to deal with a lot of protesters out in front of the house while the deputies were doing the eviction.

Protesters pack the hall outside the sheriff's office
Protesters pack the hall outside the sheriff’s office

She also said that she was worried about Canada’s health: If the deputies had to forcibly remove her from her home, Canada, who has had serious health complications from previous eviction orders, might not have survived. “I was afraid the stress of the eviction would be too much for her,” the sheriff said.

“This was a very difficult decision for me,” Hennessy said. “It was hard for me.” She was shouted down by protesters who asked what the sheriff would have done if her mother or grandmother was the one facing eviction.

Canada’s lawyer, Dennis Zaragoza, was preparing today to file a writ to appeal the judge’s order. The sheriff could have waiting to see what the outcome of that was before eviction Canada, but her legal counsel, Mark Nicco, said he didn’t know an appeal was underway.

Canada’s lawyer was on the phone with tenant activist Tommi Avicolli Mecca during the back-and-forth with the sheriff, and he said that at an earlier hearing, he had told Nicco that he would appeal any eviction order.

Nicco said he hadn’t heard that.

Hennessy said she was “between a rock and a hard place.” She said she sent deputies to Canada’s house over the last three days to get in touch with her, but nobody was home.

She said that she hadn’t called Canada’s lawyer to try to get in touch.

When I asked her what would have happened if she hadn’t done the eviction so quickly, she said: “I don’t think anything would have happened right away.”

Eventually, she said, she might have been held in contempt of court.

But this was a huge deal: Whatever the law says, the San Francisco sheriff has just evicted a 100-year-old frail woman to pave the way for wealthy white people to do a condo conversion.

It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Tim Redmond
Tim Redmond has been a political and investigative reporter in San Francisco for more than 30 years. He spent much of that time as executive editor of the Bay Guardian. He is the founder of 48hills.
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  1. She lost her suit – not because she was in the hospital or went to Disneyworld. She lost because it was determined she broke a term in her lease. Without the details of what that lease said, both of us are barking up a tree, agreed?

  2. She clearly lives in her apartment here. The only one spouting alternate facts is you, and in that regard, you make the Trumpettes look truthful.

  3. An interesting article. It does fill in some details, and it also raises some questions about the actions of the judge.

  4. If someone goes on an extended trip, which is legally their right, that does not mean they have moved out. An “impression” is not fact. It is more likely seeing what you want to see.

  5. However, that was just speculation on the part of the niece. As I understand the situation, Canada was a “co-owner with Life Estate” (?). So presumably the costs would be ‘shared’ with the other owner (Owens?).

    However, it is pointless to debate this further with the info presented by 48Hills. Without direct link to the relevant docs and complete reporting on the events, its pretty much a crap-shoot or emotional rationalization.

    Your take is “even sleazier …”; my take is “no good deed goes unpunished”. Peace.

  6. Now, that is an interesting twist. If she would have incurred those costs, it sounds like the landlord was even sleazier than previously thought. it would give him what he wants, and force her out without him being expose as the greedy scumbag.

  7. Is rather odd that we all are debating “theories” about the facts of this case. 48 Hills, as the prime journalism source, should have posted links to the available court docs and legal agreements. However, why would they want to let facts get in the way of a good emotional catharsis, right?

    I think it was Bay City News that quotes Merruouns (the niece) as saying they were afraid that if they sign the con-con docs, that Iris – as the co-owner of a Life Estate to what would then become a condominium, would incur bldg and maintenance costs beyond her ability to pay (or more likely, beyond the $700/mth she’s paying now). That is certainly a valid question; but is also something that could be worked out around the whole “signing” issue.

    If you are going to heap scorn and impugn motives on a “greedy scumbag” , you really ought to spread some around to the other five TIC owners as well.

  8. As I replied to you above. You can’t understand what you are reading so it’s a waste of time to try to communicate with you.

  9. I read what she said. She was clearly referring to what the landlord claimed. You are trying to make it say something it does not, even though it is clear you are wrong.

    The sheriff has stated that she made sure that Mrs. Canada was out. So, that is another thing you have chosen to ignore. And Mrs. Canada was cut off from access to her medicine.

  10. Traveling. Ok. Most people who do that make arrangements for things to be taken care of in their absence – if in fact they have an intention to return.

    IIRC, Owens documented she was not there for almost 2 yrs. She also had a duty to “continuously occupy”, iirc. But letting conditions deteriorate, not paying bills, moving your stuff out (which, iirc, is what the photo’s show – as opposed to all the knick-knacks she is posed before in 48Hills coverage) – might give one the impression that someone no longer lives there.

    What would your definition be?

  11. I quoted you what Sana said; doubt it if you wish. Better yet, go back and (re)read it.

    “Living” vs “residency” (or “domicile” – whatever the legal term). I believe thats’ already been determined. She may have stayed there recently; but having meds someplace doesn’t mean you don’t have duplicate meds somewhere else (like where you are spending most of your time). Are you saying she’s there every day? (and even if she is, see above paragraph).

    Its my understanding that the Sheriff will typically do evictions around noon. In this case it was 11:30a; so not such a ‘big surprise’.

  12. Again, she was on an extended trip. Of course the neighbors did not see her. She was iut of the state. She is allowed to travel. And not all judges are that impartial. As to the photos, they would show what the landlord wanted.

  13. No, that is not what she said. She was saying that was the landlord’s claim. If she is not living there, why did the sheriff have to wait until she was OUT? If she was not living there, why was she separated from her medicine? Are you claiming she pops over from Oakland every day, so she can take her pills?

  14. I have seen nothing where the niece has claimed a right to buy for $200,000. But the claim that she had moved out is a lie. The judge bought into the landlord’s lie.

  15. IIRC, Owens entered evidence of pix of the empty apt, with trash strewn about like many occupants do when the leave a place. It wasn’t pix of dusty furniture that just hadn’t been attended for several months. There were also statements from neighbors about not having seen here for a long time. There was also damage to the unit. I think she also missed a few rent & utility payments somewhere in there — not quite what you’d expect of someone that was just ‘away’ – though it could be. However, all that stuff was adjudicated. To call the claims “lies” is a bit overboard, since they were presented with evidence enuf to convince an impartial third party.

    As for “signing away rights”, she had already agreed to sign the docs. Is it “coercion” to urge someone to do something they previously said they would do (in exchange for reduced rent?!)

  16. Sana did state that, above. in response to Bella Dancer (“Does Ms. Canada live with her niece? Yes, she does.”). Canadas lawyer said it was only part time. I think you are confusing ‘living with” with “residence” (the legal definition). As for “residence’, the judge seems to have already ruled on that (against Canada). Yes, she may still have a key and have access (or did). But even her lawyers state that she doesn’t live on Page St full time.

    As for the medications, she still had access to the property But that doesn’t prove she “lives” there – even if she left something there. don’t you think that really ought to be decided by a judge, by someone who’s heard all the facts from both sides? Oh, but it was decided by a judge.

    And yet, the landlords attorneys have still held out (according to Sana) the offer to let her stay – with caregivers! – IF SHE WILL ONLY SIGN THE DOCUMENTS. Impute unwholesome motives to others all you want; they’re just in the realm of opinion, and we can see they’re rather skewed opinion at that.

  17. This case gets more confusing the more I read the comments.

    In a condo conversion, an existing tenant (not sure if Canada qualifies; let court decide) is giving Right of First Refusal at the profered listing price. So, say the seller offers her the unit at $1M, but the lists (and sells, thought that is less established) it for $0.5M; she would have a legitimate claim. But there is no way that a unit listed for $500k should be sold to tenant at below-market ($200?K), as the niece seems to be demanding. If the unit is listed at $1M and goes beyond 90 days, then if its sold for $500k, the tenant will have no claim to a $1M sale, nor a $500k sale, nor a $200k sale.

    The judge has already determined that Canada broke her agreement by not residing as pledged; thus the eviction. You can use emotional words like “cheat”, but unless you can alter the facts, there’s no legitimate beef on her part.

    And I’m a little off-put that Owens generosity seems to get shoveled in the dust bin (lowering the rent, offer to let her stay if she’ll just sign). But … I’ll chalk that up to emotions ruling the responses.

  18. I am sure the greedy scumbag landlord greatly appreciates your efforts to shill for him. But I am not buying it. This began with the landlord lying about her not living there when she was on an extended trip with a dying relative. You call it “just doing business.” I would call it an attempt to speed up a process that he decided was taking too long. He was trying to change the conditions of a previous agreement that was in the way of him cashing in quickly on converting to condos, and made the claim that the niece was going to somehow have a claim on the property. Now, if this was true, Mrs. Canada have every right to decline to sign it away, and attempting to pressure her into signing would amount to coercion and would constitute elder abuse. If, as is far more likely, this was an excuse cooked up by the scumbag landlord’s sleazy attorneys, it would appear to be fraud. Now, calling something “legal theft” is told malarkey. If it is legal, it is not theft, and if it is not legal, then it would not happen. Again, if such a thing were possible, then attempting to force Mrs. Canada to sign papers forfeiting such a claim would constitute abuse. Of course, when you have a judge in your pocket, you can get way with almost anything.

  19. You need to back up statements like that, chris12bb. As it happens, this one is not only inaccurate, it is backwards. Mrs. Canada was advised by the, yes, “housing professionals” to accept the offer(s) from the landlord — which they had initiated and helped arrange for her: staying in the apartment until she died, same rent, no eviction. All she had to do was say yes. Instead of declaring her wishes or signing papers to that effect, Mrs. Canada, on the “very poor advice” given by her niece and the lawyer hired by her niece, refused to declare or sign anything at all. Meanwhile the niece went to work trying to screw the landlord out of his property for herself. The Court had no option but to … finally … find in favor of the eviction. Mrs. C was victimized by her own family, and by no one else.

  20. Read the original posts (all the stuff left out of this one). What it boils down to is this: (1) landlord was just doing business (if you want to call that “greedy,” that’s your problem AND beside the point of niece’s scam) (2) Mrs. Canada was given option of staying there, same rent, for her lifetime. (3) full home care from SF agencies available to her. (4) Mrs. C refused to answer any offers. All cool. Got it so far? (5) Niece, who hired the lawyers, has Mrs. C convinced to refuse to answer the offers, which takes them off the table, then goes on with scheme to get apartment (which will be condo when Mrs. C leaves … dies or is evicted) for herself and cheat landlord: first she wants to move in (not legal), then as “companion/caregiver, whatever” which would mean — since she is a relative — she could then argue residence and thus “inherit” valuable immediately saleable property. This is called THEFT, but it would be legal theft if she were allowed to get away with it. All this is confirmed. Go read all the court decisions: all online – If you’re too lazy to do that, it’s also repeated elsewhere in the Comments posted here. You have stereotypes stuck in your head: they exist — but not in this case. Next time, read everything before you comment and don’t get carried away by biased so-called “journalism.”

    That said, I have great respect for Tim Redmond and, in this case, wish I could go along with him, but this is very bad journalism posted under the heading (see top of the page) of NEWS-POLITICS. It is not news if it’s only half the story. In fact, it’s not a good “Op-Ed” piece either; it is not ETHICAL for a journalist to write as if the whole story — which he knows — does not exist. He should have, at the very least, posted link(s) to the other valid and (sorry, Geek Girl) fair and legal arguments.

  21. It’s not as cut and dry as you make it sound. There is residence and there is domicile, and the judge had leeway to make interpretations. Ms. Niece’s actions should have been of little consideration.

  22. As I said, I think this is the scumbag landlords attempt at misdirection. It would be odd if she did have such a claim. But making that accusation allows the landlord to claim the niece is at fault.

  23. “I think you are so scared that she might, you are missing the point. ”

    this isn’t about me, I’m just looking for clarification. I don’t see how the niece would come to have a right to own or occupy the unit either, I think we’re debating a theory.

  24. I think you are so scared that she might, you are missing the point. Clearly the greedy landlord wants us to think that is what this is all about. That he is so scared that the niece might go to court, and claim such a right, which would, at the very least, slow down his efforts to cash in. I don’t believe that the niece has any such right, and that the landlord is more afraid that Mrs. Canada might live another 10-20 years. He wants his money NOW. And he has evicted a 100 year-old woman in order to get it.

    My point was, IF, and I don’t see how, the niece had such a right, the landlord was trying to negate that right. But I have seen no indication that such a right actually exists, outside of the scumbag landlord’s imagination, or more likely that of his sleazy lawyers.

  25. IF the niece would have had a legal right to own the property, then the landlord was trying to take this illegally.

    what exactly does this mean? How would the niece have to come to have a legal right to the property?

  26. Oh, I guess you missed Maxine Hall Health Center, and Western Addition Senior Citizens. There are also two in Japantown, and others that she could easily go to, like Curry, and as someone else has pointed out, Canon Kipp. Did you consider that she would easily qualify for Paratransit, which would take her wherever she needed to go? Or are you just intent on shilling for a greedy scumbag landlord.

  27. He still owns the TIC and, if you can read well enough, and you read his comments, he occasionally spends weekends in his equity-growing TIC, stymied by a renter in the building.

    and ‘justthisonecomment’, your comments and quaint, unsubstantitated trip down memory lane was nasty and if you don’t see that it was nasty, you must be a very very nasty person

  28. Define “near?” There are several that are in that area. Next door, no. Close enough she could get to, yes. Please, spare us the lies…

  29. Sana did NOT say she was living with her niece. That is the claim of the landlord. Obviously, it is not true, as the article reports that she was “cut off from her medicine.” The landlord is only concerned with being able to make as much money as possible. If he has to effectively kill a 100 year-old woman to do it, he is quite willing.

  30. This all began, years ago, when she took an extended trip with a dying relative. She went on a trip. She did not move out. The greedy landlord, who was looking to get out of a lifetime estate, that was lasting longer than he probably planned, lied about her not living there, and got a judge to buy it.

  31. IF the niece would have had a legal right to own the property, then the landlord was trying to take this illegally. By using this as a bargaining chip in trying to force Mrs. Canada to sign away certain rights, he was engaged in coercion. The landlord is trying to use the niece to hide the fact that he is a greedy scumbag.

  32. He lied to get the life estate terminated. She had taken an extended trip with a dying relative. That was not “moving out.” But he claimed it was, so he could give the judge and excuse. Then he tried to force the poor woman to sign away right, which can only be called “coercion,” but what the heck, he clearly had a judge in his pocket, and got what he wanted.

  33. It is kind of hard to approach this sort of outrage “objectively.” You are not being objective either. You are simply repeating the lies of the landlord, who is trying to blame the niece. Either she did, or did not, have a legitimate clam on the unit. If she did not, then his claims were moot. If she did, then he was so concerned about cheating her out of it, that he ran roughshod over a 100 year old woman to get extra money.

  34. Mrs. Canada had no reason to refuse “to answer questions in writing or at deposition, and to allow inspection of the apartment” except … perhaps … on advice of her niece. Why else? This is not going to be in the court reports but is germane to the matter (extra-legally, of course).

  35. I hope you’re not putting this example forward as an option for Mrs. Canada because it has nothing to do with her situation. The viager system does not include a relative who would inherit ownership of the home – and be able to sell it.

    That is what the argument has been here.

  36. “Tim’s opinion as clear in the opinion piece above is that no matter what
    the legal complications a 100 year old woman shouldn’t have to lose her
    home.” No matter what the legal complications. And this is what Tim is saying. And that is the crux of the matter. So, forget the law. A lot of things “shouldn’t” happen or “just don’t” apply … under law. So, the hell with the law.

    Something is wrong here, and it’s not just Mrs. Canada being evicted. There were many options that could have been followed through on, under the law. Ms. Niece lives in Alameda County, I believe. The health care assistance and eligibility isn’t as easy or readily available there as in San Francisco so the Other Residence — with the Niece, which is what has been going on for the past two years — is not such a desirable option. Yes, Mrs. Canada had another home. But as an outcome, that would not line Ms. Niece’s pockets with gold. Ms. Niece decided to circumvent the law; the law won. It wasn’t the popular vote (sound familiar?), but it was how it works. It does work . . . and it does have exceptions, but this was not one of them.

  37. Closer to the truth, I think. I am making a guess here but it is one that is backed by at least four of my nursing years that was spent in home care: Mrs. Canada may well have rejected home care aides or visiting nurses in favor of a known, and hovering, relative — in spite of the fact that the aides (not the relatives) are the most knowledgeable about home care, and are often the most compassionate and dedicated. That is their job, without distraction from their lives the relatives or friends might have, and the ones I worked with had very “satisfied customers.” This hasn’t been brought up but it could have been a (the) major stumbling block that allowed the niece to come in and mess up the works.

  38. Interesting how extreme left-wingers who believe profit is evil and property is theift believe the lies of greedy tenants who believe they are entitled to have their lifestyles subsided by housing profiders who are not related to them and owe them nothing.

  39. Thank you for putting in some of the information that should have been in the article, or linked to it, in the first place. Mrs. Canada was given the option to have a lifetime residency. Part of the argument was that she needed a companion – not to be sarcastic, but most centenarians do – only the niece decided that that companion (apparently) was to be the niece. The problem the landlord had with that was that the niece would then be considered a resident and able to inherit the property (for nothing!) which would give her – not the owner of the property – the right to sell it. What a neat scam.

    Perhaps that “right” of the niece should have been the legal bone of contention, requiring instead that the occupancy would be for Mrs. Canada’s lifetime only, just as it would have been with a paid companion. In fact, as Mrs. Canada was a resident (legally, if not actually – and I’m not sure of the facts of this since we know she spent regular time in San Francisco and not all of it in Oakland, as has been suggested), there is no reason why she would not have been eligible for home care from qualified aides. No inheritance would have been in question and Mrs. C could have remained there without problems. The niece’s greed, indeed, is the crime and the tragedy of this case.

  40. Okay, Sana. So it isn’t a blog; it’s journalism. If so, it’s noooot quite objective journalism in this case. If it were, there would have been if not a rehash of the original arguments then a link to those reports which 48 Hills had published previously. At least one of them, did discuss the “opposition” lawyers’ arguments (which obviously prevailed) that the niece was very much involved and that if Mrs. Canada continued as a tenant, the niece would be in line to inherit the apartment and continue the real estate blockage as well as have a ginormous profit motive.

    I am as sorry as anyone screaming about this (Tommi Avicolli Mecca, for instance, is an old, dear and well-respected friend) but the objectors should have been after the niece to get the hell out of the situation (to block her!) and it would have been possible to fight righteously instead of half-right in this case. The niece, who I believe is not even a San Francisco resident, is the spoiler here, and this is not a minor side issue that should be ignored in an article about Mrs. Canada’s eviction.

    I am not arguing the case — it has already been aired — I just fault 48 Hills for allowing bias HOWEVER WELL MEANT to override journalism, a word that should not require the understood “objective” as an adjective in front of it.

    Last, I take 48 Hills to be what the SF Bay Guardian or its ideals, thankfully, morphed into under the aegis of SF Progressive Media. If I am wrong, then this IS, as a commenter expressed earlier, a blog, not a report. By its own definition, at the top of this page, 48 Hills puts the piece under the heading of News – Politics, not Op-Ed.

  41. She lives in Oakland with her niece. That means she doesn’t live in the apartment anymore, and the lifetime lease agreement no longer applies.
    This evidence is extremely clear. It makes a great clickbait article, but its not accurate. They are just trying to extort money from the LL.
    She isnt being evicted from her home because her home is with her niece in Oakland.

  42. Merrouins was so skeptical of the motives of Owens (unless resistance was really based on ulterior motives of her own) that her ‘worst fear’ came true – Canada got the boot from her apt.

    OTOH, if the Iris’s had just signed-as-requessted, its likely that Canada would get to ‘live out her life’ (hard to think Owens could pull a dirty with all the publicity)

    Ongoing questions: now that Owens has succeeded in the eviction, does the condo con still go forward? And I know it would be above and (way) beyond the call, but maybe Canada could be restored to her apt for the remaining months of her life (though scheming relatives could still cost him 10’s of thousands of additional dollars if they pulled any schinanigans (see – I said ‘beyond the call’). Still, it would be a nice touch that could restore his reputation.

  43. She’s 100 years old!

    What the Fk is wrong with these people?! She was born in 1917… how do you do this to someone born so long ago?! WHERE ARE ALL THE GOOD PEOPLE?!

  44. You are correct, I definitely heard “My Perogative” on 102.1 this weekend. I remember it distinctly – no joke.

    I’ve got to get my head in my work right now, and it seems you are ready to wrap this up as well. Have a good day and I’ll catch you on a later thread.

  45. Rosh, are you unstable or just lacking in reading comprehension skills? I said I did NOT ask you to stand down, so your comment about “your prerogative” (listening to too much old Bobby Brown music lately?) just makes you look silly.

    Also, whether you wish to acknowledge reality or not, it still exists. You are spouting opinions while criticizing others’ right to state their own opinions. Disagreeing is one thing, you are just being absurd.

    In any event, what is done is done in this matter. It is an issue for the courts to resolve.

  46. I need to acknowledge nothing, and whether I stand down or not is my perogative.

    There is clear indication she lost her home that she first established 50 years ago. That’s six years longer than I’ve even been alive. This woman should be celebrated, not evicted.

  47. Rosh, I did not ask you to stand down. You can have your opinion, so long as you acknowledge it is an opinion, not fact. And, I am not trying to get you to change your mind. But, I disagree with your closing statement in your earlier post, and I think you have no factual basis for it.

    San Francisco, rightfully has some the strictest tenant protections in the nation. I believe Iris should receive the full protection of the law, and if she has not, then it is an issue to bring up on appeal. However, if she received the protections she is entitled to receive, then she had her day in court.

    Now, of course, I do not think either she or anyone else should be left homeless. And, there is not any clear indication that she is now homeless. But, addressing the larger issue of housing people who need to be housed, this is not a problem that will be resolved in court. In a city of great wealth where we have an operating budget bigger than the budgets of some states, I believe the city itself should be building more housing for people who need it, and not relying on either the private or non-profit sector to provide the solution.

  48. I have feigned nothing and I’m not concerned posters only present the facts, but I am concerned when I’m quoted as presenting something I’ve never written, Charlain.

    There is a clear winner and a clear loser – I don’t agree with your opinion. I, again, stand by what I’ve written.

  49. Rosh, a few posters may be caught up with what her niece is allegedly doing, but I have not read anyone justifying Iris’s eviction based on her niece’s behavior. Some have claimed her niece’s interference cost her an offer of a lifetime lease, but no one is claiming Iris forfeited any existing legal right to remain in her unit based on her niece’s behavior.

    The only issue is whether her primary residence is in the Lower Haight or not (and it is a legal issue if she is staying somewhere else most of the time). Unless you have direct access to the evidence presented to the court, you do not know the answer to that question, just like most people posting here. Again, you feign concern that posters only present the facts, but you ended your post with an unfounded conclusion while adding a gratuitous remark about what a “good judge” should do. There is enough unsolicited advice being offered to judges by our clueless President, and we do not need yet another person adding to the pile.

    This sounds like a difficult case with no clear winners, and I cannot say the end result was legally wrong without reviewing the evidence presented to the court.

  50. Reminds me of the great Stephen Colbert appearance at the White House Press Corps dinner while W was President. In character, Colbert said how much he loves this president. He loves his steadfastness. This president believes on Thursday what he believed on Tuesday, no matter what happened on Wednesday.
    Tim, you are believing on Thursday what you believed on Tuesday, ignoring everything that happened on Wednesday. That is not reporting. It is not news analysis. It is W.

  51. I took the original poster to task because of this statement: “…glossed over the fact that Iris Canada has been been abused by her niece, Iris Merriouns.” Notice his language and that he cites his claim as “fact,” a claim that is very disparaging. Then look at my language, which is obviously stated from a personal view point.

    Also, I never claimed the original poster is “very low” and you shouldn’t have attribute that quote to me.

    But here’s the real issue — commenters on here are validating the eviction of the senior Iris based on the behavior of her niece. I don’t care if the younger Iris spends her days knocking ice cream cones out of the hands of children — in no way shape or form is this grounds to evict her aunt, who is 100 years old and has lived at the same address in lower Haight for 50 years. Even if the elder Iris is predominantly staying somewhere else, the lower Haight home is still here primary residence and a good judge should have recognized this.

  52. Iris Canada and her niece Iris Merriouns brought this entire charade upon themselves. For months, the owners agreed to completely restore Iris Canada’s life estate after it was successfully terminated based on Iris Canada’s failure to live there for years. In fact, Peter Owens and the other owners agreed to permit Iris Canada to remain there for the rest of her life, and only requested cooperation with the condo conversion which would have had absolutely no impact on her life estate whatsoever. Iris Canada, and her wardrobe of attorneys, all led by Iris Merriouns instead elected to use the condo conversion cooperation as leverage to force the owners to sell them the property for $600,000, funds that Iris Canada herself clearly does not have.

    Their gamble was unsuccessful and now they have nothing. Iris Canada, Iris Merriouns and their attorneys have nobody to blame but themselves. This is 100% entirely their own making, and they deserve what they get.

  53. Well, I must say, I find it a bit odd that you take another poster to task for posting innuendo and making unsupported claims, and then you turn around and do the very same thing. You don’t know the poster you claim is “very low,” but you make a lot of silly accusations about their connections to the city and “changing the sheets” on their “air bnb.”

    If you want others to stick to the facts, perhaps you should do the same yourself.

  54. Did the original agreement (you know, “life estate” and rent reduction) include the provision that she sign off on the con-con or not?

    If not, then she should stay in her apt. If so, then she should sign or leave.

  55. * 100-Year-Old Iris Canada Stands Her Ground Despite Efforts To Evict Her By Peter Owens *

    The story of 100-Year-Old Iris Canada is before the eyes of the world.

    This article by independent journalist Anh Lê of San Francisco weighs in with input from the evictor as Canada hopes & fights to age in place.

    November 1, 2016

    100-Year Old Iris Canada Stands Her Ground Despite Efforts To Evict Her By Peter Owens

    By Anh Lê

    What will happen to Iris Canada?

    Her attorney, Dennis Zaragoza, went to San Francisco Superior Court on September 20, to obtain a stay of eviction for Canada. The stay of eviction granted by the Court would be effective until 5 pm on September 27.

    Peter Owens, one of the three co-owners of the building where Ms. Canada lives, has been trying to evict her from her home.

    Iris Canada, a 100-year old African American woman who has lived at her apartment in San Francisco for 40 years, continues to battle efforts to evict her by Owens. Canada, who lives at 670 Page Street, moved to San Francisco with her husband from Texas and worked as a nurse at San Francisco General Hospital.

    This reporter reached out to Owens to get his perspective. Owens stated on September 22, “When we bought the building in 2002, we granted her, completely voluntarily and free of charge, a Life Estate right to live out her life for $700/month because it was the right thing to do. We are not evicting Ms. Canada. We have not wavered from that commitment.”

    The story is almost like that of David and Goliath.

    Peter Owens, his wife Carolyn Radisch, and his brother Steven Owens, bought the apartment building, as a “tenancy-in-common” (T.I.C), and tried to convert the other apartment units into condominiums. Owens and his family have resided in Vermont and New Hampshire. Owens once worked as a planner at the Presidio Trust in San Francisco. His most recent job was as Director of the Office of Economic Development in Burlington, Vermont. He resigned from that post in April 2016.

    Owens hired the powerful law firm of Zacks, Freedman, and Patterson. Andrew Zacks’ law firm is well known in San Francisco for representing landlords and evicting tenants. Mark Chernov of the law firm has been representing Owens at court sessions.

    After a series of attorneys and even periods of time without the assistance of an attorney, Canada is now represented by Dennis Zaragoza, a Latino attorney.

    Judge A. John Robertson II has been presiding over the case.

    On August 9, Robertson ruled that Canada must pay Owens the $164,000 which he has been demanding from her, to pay his own lawyers’ fees.

    Following an August 12 court session, Iris Canada’s supporters went to the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant Street to hold a press conference. Rev. Amos Brown, minister at Third Baptist Church and president of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP, condemned Owens’ ongoing efforts to evict Canada.

    After the press conference, Canada’s supporters went to District Attorney George Gascon’s office, to demand that he file elder abuse charges against Owens. They demanded to meet with Gascon or an assistant district attorney. The District Attorney’s media spokesperson, Maxwell Szabo , said that they could not meet with Gascon or any assistant district attorney.

    At the court hearing on August 17, Judge Robertson announced that he had made a tentative decision to deny another motion by Zaragoza on Canada’s behalf, a motion regarding jurisdiction of the case. Zaragoza had filed a motion arguing that the case should be handled by the federal court, rather than the San Francisco Superior Court.

    This case involves other issues besides Owens’ demand that Canada pay $164,000 for his own lawyers’ fees.

    Owens also demands that Canada sign papers to allow him to turn the apartment units into condominiums. Canada’s niece, Iris Merriouns, states that Owens is violating the law because he has not followed the “first right of refusal” requirement, to allow Canada to purchase the apartment unit.

    Owens had also demanded of the court, and Judge Robertson had ordered in previous rulings, that Canada live at her apartment by herself, with no other occupant, even a family member or a caregiver.

    When asked why he continued his efforts to get her evicted even though he claimed he cared about her well being, on July 23rd Owens said, “That is absolutely true. We care about Iris and we want to see her back in her home. We have never wanted Iris Canada’s home, We have never wanted Iris Canada’s money.”

    When asked about the Superior Court judge’s ruling that Canada pay him for his own attorney’s fees totaling $164,000 based on his demand, Owens replied, “That is not correct. We never asked for any money. It was Iris Canada’s attorney’s that asked for relief from the forfeiture the court had ordered. But state law says that the relief MUST be tied to making the plaintiff whole. That was what the judge ordered—we did not demand it or ask for it. But we have never wanted her money, only her cooperation.”

    According to Canada’s family and witnesses, Canada has been harassed by occupants from the other apartment units turned into condos. The alleged harrasment comes in the form of loud pounding on her front door and banging on the walls. When this reporter asked Owens whether he heard about this harrasment and what his response was, Owens stated, “I have no direct knowledge of any harassment.”

    When asked about Canada’s supporters’ view that Owens’ efforts to evict her are part of the gentrification in San Francisco, one that has seen its African American community decline, Owens stated, “We could have evicted Iris Canada in 2003. We did not. Instead, because she was an elderly woman on a fixed income that had lived in the building for many decades, we figured out how to keep her in her home for the rest of her life for $700/mo. That was worked to prevent displacement not promote it. As I have said until I am blue in the face, we do not want to evict Iris.”

    The California Association for Retired Persons (CARA), which consists of 65,000 members, has stood with Iris Canada to make sure that she is not evicted. CARA called efforts to evict Canada unwarranted, a form of elder abuse, among other things. When this reporter asked Owens what he thought of CARA’s claims, Owens answered, “I think those characterizations are unfair and uninformed. Far from elder abuse or discrimination, would not any reasonable person conclude we are acting with great care and concern for Ms. Canada’s welfare?”

    In September, Tommi Avicola Mecca, a counselor at the Housing Rights Committee in San Francisco, stated, “If he (Owens) isn’t trying to evict her (Iris Canada) and he cares so much for her, why has he gone forward with getting the court order? Why is he giving her until the end of the month to sign the agreement or he’s going to evict? His actions speak louder than his words.”

    On September 13, Canada was rushed to San Francisco General Hospital Emergency Room and hospitalized, after seeing an eviction notice posted at her apartment door. Canada is now back at her home.

    Zaragoza, Canada’s lawyer, has been going to the San Francisco Superior Court numerous times in September and October, asking the judge to issue stays of eviction. The judge has granted the stays, each of which lasts for seven days.

    One of the remaining questions is: Can Peter Owens and his family and Iris Canada and her family come to a mutually agreeable settlement that allows Canada to live at her home in peace, a settlement in which the interests of both sides are taken into account and acknowledged?

    Also, how will the judicial system address the remaining issues in this case, a case that involves a 100 year old San Francisco woman who has lived at her home for over four decades?

    Tommi Avicola Mecca stated recently, “I think it’s obvious that the only right thing to do in this case is to let Iris Canada stay in her home for the rest of her life. That’s all she wants. She is 100. Let her be.”

    Where this story of David and Goliath will end is not known yet.

    Iris Canada, 100 years old, continues to battle on.

    Anh Lê is an independent journalist in San Francisco.

    (Anh Lê had reached out to Iris Merriouns, Iris Canada’s grand-niece, and Dennis Zaragoza, for comments for this article.)

    Copyright Anh Lê November 1, 2016

  56. “It’s complicated” does not obviate the need for you to present facts on your way to “You just don’t. Period.” If your conclusion is going to be “No. No matter what,” as you’ve said, you are saying that facts don’t matter. That is the problem here. Facts don’t matter in your presentation of this story. Your conclusion is “you just don’t,” a foregone conclusion, with no place for facts and no modulation of your conclusion based on facts.

  57. I looked into how news ethics are morphing with the times. University of Wisconsin had a good look at it. Here’s a snippet that seems relevant:


    A media revolution is transforming, fundamentally and irrevocably, the nature of journalism and its ethics. The means to publish is now in the hands of citizens, while the internet encourages new forms of journalism that are interactive and immediate.

    Our media ecology is a chaotic landscape evolving at a furious pace. Professional journalists share the journalistic sphere with tweeters, bloggers, citizen journalists, and social media users.

    Amid every revolution, new possibilities emerge while old practices are threatened. Today is no exception. The economics of professional journalism struggles as audiences migrate online. Shrinkage of newsrooms creates concern for the future of journalism. Yet these fears also prompt experiments in journalism, such as non-profit centers of investigative journalism.


  58. So even if she (repeatedly) overran the toilet/bath?

    So even if she stopped paying her rent?

    So even if she no longer lived there??

  59. I think at that time, Canada was still cycling through lawyers. There was also probably no substantive response to the judgement because Merriouns was still trying to play a game of legal keep-away at the time. She had tried to stay the hearing that resulted in the judgement by filing an 11th-hour appeal (not her first use of this tactic), but the court pointed out she’d already tried appealing on grounds of venue (and even noted where she’d forgotten to change some dates in the copy-paste job).

  60. She could have saved Owens the bill from the lawyers, and pocketed $100+k for herself.

    Guess Merriouns thought she could get a lot more.

    Hope Canada receives the care she needs.

  61. Disturbing how eager some people are to turn a blind eye to inconvenient truths if they don’t comport with their ideology.

  62. Completely ridiculous assertion that she can’t get to a senior center. My aunt used the facilities at Canon Kip extensively last year, and they do facilitate rides. Seniors can hang out at Canon Kip all day, and my aunt says the lunches were always good.

  63. I accept that. I’ve read Tim’s work for a long time and he is someone I look up to, but it did need clarification.

    Every news media operates with a slant. A lot of it is how the information is framed and presented, and obviously which news is covered. It’s easy to do this and still follow the ethical code.

    All in good fun Sana. I’ll retract my posted question to Tim as you’ve answered it for me.

  64. Hi Rosh,

    48 hills isn’t a blog, we are independent news media and are a registered not-for-profit. A lot of our reporting, specially Tim’s pieces, come with his analysis. That’s what sets his pieces apart on the site as well. We’ve reporting without an opinion too but always with a progressive slant. We don’t shy away from that and our politics is obvious. Thanks for your tip on having an opinion section.

  65. Agreed. But you need to respond to those of us questioning where you draw the news/op-ed line. Pull Sana on that one, let us hear it from the boss.

  66. This is where blogs get murky. There is nothing that denotes the piece as an op-ed, but plenty to make it look like investigative reporting. The rules of journalism can go out the window at any moment when it comes to blogs as they are not held to the same standards as traditional print media.

    Is 48 hills completely an op-ed blog, or should we expect investigated issues to be reported with the ethics code in mind? It’s obvious which way you want to go and I thank you for your work and good coverage Ms. Saleem, but it should be made clearer to the readers, from the get go, what is an opinion piece and what is not.

  67. I have read and understand all of the comments here. Of course, like many legal and housing battles, this one is complicated. But I still say, no matter what the issues and complications, you don’t evict someone who is 100 years old. You just don’t. Period.

  68. Dennis Zaragoza and Tommi Avicolli Mecca hold themselves out as housing professionals but have given very poor advice to Ms Canda. I think she and her family have a legal case against them.

  69. After reading the entire discussion I’m wondering why Iris Merriouns doesn’t buy the apt in Iris Canada’s name as the TIC person, right now? Right now Canada has rights to buy it, am I wrong? I’m sure it’s for several million.

  70. Ok everyone, I believe Sana has given us the entire crux of this thing right here

    She lives with her niece, the landlords attorney said they were willing to allow her to get a caretaker and drop all demands if she signed condo conversion papers. At that point Canada’s lawyer only gave me a brief response saying Canada would be signing away her legal rights if she signs the conversions papers. From what I’ve investigated and reported: Canada’s niece wants to buy the place & it doesn’t seem plausible given Canada is 100 years old and gets state support.

    So it comes down to Iris Merriouns. This really has little to do with Iris Canada, but more about Iris Merriouns the neice, wanting real estate in SF.

  71. My name is Rosh. Its been a pleasure chatting and no hard feelings here, but I stand by what I wrote as I did read the original post carefully before I responded.

  72. Thanks, Sana. That’s helpful.
    It leaves me still wondering about where Ms Canada lives according to her and according to others.
    I find this interesting from your earlier reporting:
    “Chernev told 48hills that his client is willing to let Canada stay for the rest of her life is she signs the condo conversion papers.
    “Canada’s attorney Zargoza doesn’t believe the offers are sincere: ‘Signing off the conversion papers means she would lose her right to stay, what is to stop them from using another excuse to try and evict her afterwards,’he said.”
    This is what contracts and courts are for. The matter is already in front of a judge, and if they have a contract they have a contract. If they all represent to the judge that if she signs the conversion papers she can stay for her lifetime (even allow a care-giver one might hope) and whatever money changes hands. Reaching that settlement as part of litigation really doesn’t allow for Mr. Zargoza’s concerns about sincerity. It’s not about sincerity. It’s about a contract and the settlement of a lawsuit and the supervision of a judge.
    That really makes it appear that Ms. Canada was being manipulated by someone purporting to be helping her.

  73. Agreed. It is classic Kellyanne Conway to label this piece as opinion after the fact. Tim stated in a very factual manner that the Sheriff separated Canada from her critical medicine supply.

    There is a difference between printing an opinion and spreading untruths.

  74. Answers to questions from what I’ve know through reporting, in line:

    Where is your earlier reporting on this? See earlier comment
    Since you’ve done that reporting, can you answer a few questions? Yes
    Does Ms. Canada live with her niece? Yes, she does. I asked her lawyer if Cananda lives with her niece full time the response I got was that she occasionally does as she can’t have a caretaker. I was also told that she’s also been away traveling and getting treatment. I then asked Owens’ lawyer about the claim and included his response in the report.
    Where?What would be the harm to Ms. Canada if she signed the condo conversion papers and is permitted to stay for her lifetime?
    I asked the same question of the lawyer and quoted him in my report he said he doesn’t trust their promises.
    Does the niece say she should have Ms. Canada’s rights? I asked the lawyer if niece wants rights or how Canada could ever buy the house as it’s impossible she would get a mortgage and didn’t receive a response.

    Thanks, Sana Saleem

  75. Hey, report here: https://48hills.org/2016/09/14/100-year-old-iris-canada-hospitalised-eviction/
    Quote from Chernev Owens attorney Mark Chernev has disputed claims made by Merriouns in the past ” What you see here is the exploitation of Ms. Canada by her family. My client Mr. Owens has been more then helpful to Ms. Canada. From making sure her food from meals on wheels is delivered to her to ensuring that she’s comfortable. We’ve done everything we can,”

  76. Sana, it’s important that we as readers read the other side, ie, the motivation of the Merriouns as well.

    For instance, just 2 days ago I saw on the DM this horrible story of a B father who “kidnapped” his child & the ex-w trying to give the kid to the McD’s window person “for safety”. DM really ramped this up, inc the comments. But inside the story was a tiny paragraph of the B f’s motivations for what happened (she was drunk, endangering the child) etc. 2 sides are impt.

  77. Rosh, stop. He said he lives out of the city & used to live near Iris. I read what he wrote. He’s not in a TIC anymore. Ooops!

  78. I agree with you Bella!! A simple 2 second check of google…but the media has not been doing fact checking in years it seems.

  79. If only we had a REPORTER around who could do some thorough investigation and REPORT this important story in a careful and complete way! 😮

  80. Thanks, Michael.
    I believe that Tim Redmond has real skill and experience and I would appreciate some solid reporting and even analysis (eg, your comments about procedure that put litigation processes into context) from him. But this is advocacy, not reporting. And it’s not even honest advocacy, so I’m disappointed because I would prefer to be able to rely on 48 Hills.

  81. Where is your earlier reporting on this?
    Since you’ve done that reporting, can you answer a few questions?
    Does Ms. Canada live with her niece?
    What would be the harm to Ms. Canada if she signed the condo conversion papers and is permitted to stay for her lifetime?
    Does the niece say she should have Ms. Canada’s rights?
    Thanks, @disqus_0lHBewoD3y:disqus

  82. Also if you haven’t noticed I’m actually agreeing with you that this case needs more in-depth reporting and that I know for a fact that Owens’ lawyers did offer to meet all demands as mentioned in my earlier reporting on the case. Questions like: how will she lose her rights? How does she intend to buy the condo? (Etc as clearly mentioned in my earlier comments) are definitely worth looking into. Thanks, we always need more critical analysis so we can improve.

  83. Hey no, I’m not implying or stating anything as fact just responding to what I reported on earlier. You’re right though so for being sloppy at times should be cross-checking my woke more often. Thank you!

  84. It works for me, but yes, you can go directly to the court’s website and find it that way. I’d like to know why Canada’s lawyers didn’t provide any substantive response to the summary judgment motion that led to the eviction. I couldn’t find an actual opposition to the motion for summary judgment, which meant that the landlord’s motion was unopposed factually and legally…so she lost. Much of the file shows various discovery motions to get Canada to answer questions in writing or at deposition, and to allow inspection of the apartment, all of which she would not do voluntarily. Eventually, since she was obliged to do all of these things under the rules of civil litigation, the court essentially punished for for failing to cooperate.

  85. @Michael, posting systems like this cut off links, so even when you post the correct link, it’s incomplete when it’s published. But you can search for San Francisco Trial Courts and find Civil Case lists and search by party name. You can search for “Canada,Iris” and find the pleadings. A reporter would read those and report on relevant information in them, along with other relevant information. These are public documents.

  86. This is from the New York Times obituary of Jeanne Calment, published on August 5, 1997:
    “Mrs. Calment left no heirs. She also outlived Andre-Francois Raffray, a lawyer who 32 years ago, when she was merely 90, bought the apartment she used to live in on a contingency contract. He would pay her 2,500 francs (now about $400) a month until she died, and then the apartment would become his.
    “Mr. Raffray died a year ago at 77, after paying Mrs. Calment more than $180,000, better than double the apartment’s market value. His family was still paying when she died.
    “‘In life, one sometimes makes bad deals,” Mrs. Calment said.”

  87. @Michael, these posting systems cut off links for some reason, so posting an accurate link unfortunately doesn’t help. I can tell you that if you look for San Francisco Trial Courts or San Francisco Superior Court and then Civil Case Listings, or something like that, you will get to a page that allows you to search by Name of Party and you can search for “Canada, Iris” and find the pleadings. You’d have to read through a lot to get a lot of usable info. That’s what a good, thorough reporter should do. That research and then report on relevant information in those pleadings and elsewhere.

  88. Thanks for replying, Sana, but if you’re a reporter, you should review your writing and get an editor. You need copy editing. Your writing is sloppy, ungrammatical and, worst, unclear! You also need editing for content. As I said above, this article as presented as “News / Politics” and not as opinion.
    Let’s take this sentence: “She lives with her niece, the landlords attorney said they were willing to allow her to get a caretaker and drop all demands if she signed condo conversion papers.” You seem to be stating as fact that she lives with her niece. Is that correct? If so, where? At her niece’s home? Or at the apartment in question. If she doesn’t live there, what is the argument about? Generally, under rent control and otherwise, a person is only permitted one legal residence.
    How would she be disadvantaged if she signed the condo conversion papers? One of the comments raised this issue. If she could stay for her lifetime, but allow the others in the building to be in more stable situation, what is the damage to her? Maybe there is real damage and maybe there is not. I am interested in knowing. You say you have done the reporting. Can you answer that question?
    Is the only harm going to be harm to the niece, who would like to step into her aunt’s shoes, so to speak, and gain her aunt’s rights?
    This seems to be a complicated situation with the stability of a very old woman at stake. Of course she must be treated with respect and care . But reporting must report FACTS and report them clearly with as much fairness and balance as is possible.
    If I can articulate the questions, the reporting should be able to articulate the answers or say that the reporter doesn’t know the answer, or that the answers are unclear for reasons that will themselves be articulate.
    TIM REDMOND, you know this. In this era of fake news and alternative facts, PLEASE use your skill to back off your advocacy for a bit and REPORT. Thanks.

  89. I don’t think something written under the heading “News / Politics” can be fairly assumed to be “an opinion piece.” This is presented as factual reporting.

  90. This is an opinion piece, check reports earlier that mention both sides and details an interaction between the two attorneys in which Owen’s attorney makes an offer etc etc. What’s not been reported is the allegations about the niece.

  91. But this case is worth an indepth report that covers all aspects including Canada’s family

    It would help to establish a modicum of credibility for 48 Hills if they were to document the role of Canada’s family in this mess.

    Every indication is that her niece wanted to financially benefit from the situation and that it cost Iris the ability to live there for $700 a month.

    That being said, it she almost certainly wasn’t living there or someone would have presented some evidence to that effect by now.

  92. Hey thanks for leaving such a detailed testimony. This is a really important part of the story. One of the reports I did on the issue mentions the back go forth with the lawyers and the niece wanting to buy the place etc. But this case is worth an indepth report that covers all aspects including Canada’s family.

  93. I’ve reported on the case before the allegations from the landlords is that she doesn’t live there. She lives with her niece, the landlords attorney said they were willing to allow her to get a caretaker and drop all demands if she signed condo conversion papers. At that point Canada’s lawyer only gave me a brief response saying Canada would be signing away her legal rights if she signs the conversions papers. From what I’ve investigated and reported: Canada’s niece wants to buy the place & it doesn’t seem plausible given Canada is 100 years old and gets state support. It’s a dire situation and there are legal issues to be considered here which are valid. Tim’s opinion as clear in the opinion piece above is that no matter what the legal complications a 100 year old woman shouldn’t have to lose her home.

  94. I was just visiting an old friend in France whom I refer to as my French grandfather. He is almost 92 and lives alone as he is a widower with no children, so he has nowhere else to go but the home he owns. There is a real estate law in France called “viager”that allows a buyer a discounted price on a home if they let the former owner live out his/her days there. So grandmothers and grandfathers get to live out his days in their home, and the new home buyer gets a discount on real estate prices. It’s something that could work in the United States, especially in cities with a housing crisis. It would be interesting to investigate if we could make that work here in SF, especially for people like Iris Canada. For example – https://www.brickunderground.com/blog/2014/09/does_france_have_the_solution_to_all_our_affordable_housing_woes

  95. You’re being lied to, @AnonymousArtivist:disqus . She doesn’t live there.

    If she did it would be very easy to find a care worker to state that they regularly called on her in her apartment.

    And where are the people in the “senior center where she goes during the day”? None of them will come forward?

    Her niece can’t even provide the name of this senior center?

  96. It wasn’t nasty, it was just careless. You’re “pretty sure” you met Iris “a few times,” and you were moved to write because you believe her niece is engaging in elder abuse. A thousand words later you’ve cited zero facts and posted a link that doesn’t work. There is nothing in the innuendo that you’ve written to back up your accusation of abuse, which is a strong accusation.

    It sounds like you entered into an agreement to buy a TIC and now you’re sour you can’t condo convert. Your claim about not being able to get your equity out is dubious at best. I don’t buy it, and I’d wager you come to the city “2-3 times a month” to change the sheets at your air bnb.

  97. What exactly was so “nasty” about what I said? How was I being “very very low?”

    Was it that I care about the people who live in the neighborhood where I used to live and still spend 2-3 weekends a month?

    Was it that I think the niece is trying to take advantage of her aunt’s situation? The same niece who: “The report said Merriouns broke rules by pressuring parking officials to waive her parking tickets.” per http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Oakland-council-4375281.php

    Actually I am guessing you are just a troll who does not have any answers and is just trying to rile up the “evil landlords” which I am not as I refuse to rent my home out.

    (I guess this is now 2 comments….)

  98. I’m trying to understand what, specifically, you find reprehensible.
    There are a lot of assertions in the comments and I’d like to know if Tim disputes them all. I’d like to know, in this era of “alternative facts” if, for example, a judge ruled that Ms. Canada does not live in the apartment in question. Let’s start with that.

  99. The link to the court documents is abbreviated (not sure why these systems seem to always do that). Can you post the link in a way that works?

  100. Interesting how eager people are to believe the lies of greedy landlords and corporate scum it it soothes their own consciouses

  101. According to the greedy landlord and tenants, who care only about their wallets and not the life of a 100 year old woman. The comments here are beyond reprehensible.

  102. Wow.
    I’ve seen the real estate greed in San Francisco make people do and say some pretty nasty things, but this is very very low of you

  103. The legal issue is that the judge declared that she wasn’t living in the apartment. Tim’s position (from this article) is that there is “a senior center where she goes during the day”.

    Why can’t a legendary investigative journalist like Tim Redmond find the name of the senior center and get some statements from the staff proving that she spends her days there? And why didn’t her lawyer do the same thing?

    Last week’s 48 Hills article on this subject said that

    At 100, Canada needs constant care. It’ hard for her to stay alone in the apartment all the time, so she spends a lot of time with her grand-neice.

    Were there no caregivers who came to visit her when she was NOT living with her niece? None of her neighbors would tell the truth in court?

    Just how are we supposed to believe any of this?

  104. Tim,

    Most of the time I just sit and read what is published here and form my own opinions and leave it at that.

    I think all of the articles on your site have really glossed over the fact that Iris Canada has been been abused by her niece, Iris Merriouns.

    To give you some background I lived in Lower Haight for many years and am pretty sure I met Iris Canada a few times in those years. From what I remember she was friends with Pearl who used to run the laundromat that used to be next to the Grind, where there is a nail spa now. I knew Pearl quite well as that is where I did laundry for years before I saved up for a washer and dryer when expecting my first child. We would always talk about the neighborhood, families, etc. If I was cooking while doing laundry I would always bring her food and she would often bring me items she had baked. I miss her a lot as she moved in with family and out of the neighborhood about 8 years ago when she was in her mid 80s. (Anyone else remember her? She was the best!)

    I would also see Mrs. Canada occasionally outside her building in the 90s and 2000s. I have had a number of dogs over the years and between walking them, friends on her block, walking kids to school, etc I would pass by there a lot. Even though I moved out of the area about 2 years ago, I cannot remember seeing her out in the past 6-8 years. As I said I have a friend who lives on her block. They would only see her once or twice a year if that. Face it, she didnt live there. As someone who has been involved with multiple family members, on both mine and my wifes side, who have lived well into their 90s I realize that most of them cannot live alone and need to live in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility.

    Peter Owens did the right thing and Iris Merriouns tried to capitalize on it. Peter is not only looking out for himself he is looking out for the other 5 people who own TICs in that building. I know quite a bit about this as I own a TIC in San Francisco. As a young couple it was all we could afford at that point. My wife is a nurse and I was in construction and in school. We are now living outside SF and almost have the money for a downpayment on a second home. As one of the people who is in my TIC has rented their unit out and would have to give the tenant a lifetime lease we are not going to condo convert until that tenant moves out (I should say that she wont allow us to convert) This has screwed my family as we cannot access any equity that we have built up in our house and we are not willing to rent our unit out as we would be bound under rent control and cannot kick any tenant out.

    Peter Owens DID NOT have to give Iris Canada a lifetime lease. All he was asking was for her to sign condo conversion papers so he and the others could have separate mortgages and access some of the equity they have worked hard for. He offered Iris Canada the ability to stay in the unit and to drop all of the monies owed if she just signed the condo conversion papers. I believe that Iris Merriouns would not let her do that.

    I have followed this case very closely as it is the neighborhood I lived in for many years. I know many people there. I even know most of our street people. How many of you know Forrest? Calvin? Any of the others? If I was still living in the area I would have been more involved in this. I would have tried to get Adult Protective Services involved to act on behalf of Iris Canada as I personally think she is being abused by her neice. Have a look at all of the court documents: http://webaccess.sftc.org/Scripts/Magic94/mgrqispi94.dll?APPNAME=WEB&PRGNAME=ValidateCaseNumberSHA1&ARGUMENTS=-ACGC14543437
    Have a look at how Iris Canada’s signature was what one would expect from a 90 something and then got a lot “stronger.” Iris Merriouns stated she should have first right to buy the unit. How is a 90 something on SSI going to buy a condo? Did we forget that she also declared bankruptcy recently? Why did she declare bankruptcy? None of this makes any sense.

    It really seems to me like Peter Owens was trying to do the right thing and unfortunately Iris Merriouns’ greed got in the way.

  105. She hasn’t been living there since 2012.
    She’s been living in Oakland with her niece.
    This entire escapade was orchestrated by her niece, whose ultimate objective was to obtain ownership of the unit (at below market rate) by intimidation/extortion tactics.
    Tim’s entire spin on this story is full of distortions, misrepresentations, bigotry and demagoguery.

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