If ever there was proof that protesting pays off, this is it.
San Francisco resident Mary Phillips, 98, received an Ellis Act eviction notice last year. California’s Ellis Act allows landlords to temporarily go out of business so they can resell their property at a higher prices.
News of Phillips’ eviction brought an onslaught of protest on Urban Green Investments, the real-estate investment seeking to resell her home.
“[Urban Green] is taking advantage of a political economy that the tech community has fuelled,” said Erin McElroy of Eviction Free San Francisco.
Protesters gathered outside Urban Green’s office on Wednesday and demanded that Phillips, as well as her caretaker, Sarah Brandt, be allowed to remain in their homes.
Although Urban Green did not confront the protesters and has been ignoring press requests for comment, the company clearly felt the community’s ire.
Today Urban Green CEO David McCloskey released a statement saying that Phillips would be allowed to remain in her Mission neighbourhood apartment for the rest of her life cost-free.
“Urban Green Investments and 55 Dolores Street, LLC have offered Mary Phillips the opportunity to remain in her home for the rest of her life with no cost to Mary,” said McCloskey. “This offer was first communicated to Ms. Phillips’ lawyer in March 2014, and has been the topic of negotiation ever since then.”
The statemented suggested that widespread media attention made it necessary to release information about Phillips to the public.
“Contrary to recent reports, we have always planned to provide for Mary in this way,” said McCloskey. “We have made no comment about Ms. Phillips’ situation to this date as we have been negotiating with her attorney in good faith, but the recent media reports have made today’s comment necessary in order to clarify the facts.”
Phillips has been vocal about her desire to remain in her apartment.
“They’re going to have to take me out of here feet first,” she told KRON. “Just because of your age, don’t let people push you around.”
Urban Green made no mention of Phillips’ caretaker, who may still be forced to move despite the company’s concession.
Attorney Steve Collier emailed Business Insider with a reponse to Urban Green’s statement, suggesting the decision to allow Phillips to remain in her apartment was not made in good faith. Collier’s relation to Phillips is unclear.
“The reality is that offering the 98 year old Mary Phillips the opportunity to live alone in a construction zone without her close friend and caregiver being able to stay in the building is an illusory offer, and UGI knows that,” said Collier.”UGI’s efforts in publicizing settlement discussions is an attempt to deflect media attention away from their speculative evictions of seniors and disabled long-term tenants at this and other properties that they have purchased.”
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