Together, we must stop corruption and prevent Oakland from taking private properties from innocent, hardworking families.
In 2015, City of Oakland in California took Empyrean Towers, a 99 unit building in downtown Oakland from Alice Tse and her mother in the name housing for poor Oakland residents.
The building used to be called Menlo Hotel and it has a tainted history of abuse by former owner. Alice’s mother began owning the building since 2011 and Alice became the building manager. Alice gradually restored the property over a course of 4 years. In 2012 and 2013, the building was once vibrant with good tenants and participated in the festive Oakland First Friday events. The nightmare began in 2014 when Empyrean couldn’t escape the faith of a residential hotel (SRO) full of transient weekly renters who move in and out of SRO hotels.
In July 2014, 30 minutes after serving Notices to Pay Rent on nonpaying weekly renters, someone set Empyrean on fire in retaliation.
Notorious tenant group Eviction Defense Center (EDC), along with City Attorney Melosa Granda, began passing out flyers from door to door inside Empyrean and asking tenants to “create” complaints to the Building Dept and to go on a “rent strike”. KTVU Channel 2 interviewed nonpaying tenants and shot footage of substandard housing conditions inside their units. However, KTVU failed to mention in their report that tenants had not paid rent for months by the time of their interview. While being filmed by KTVU, City Inspector reopened violations when items went broken again by nonpaying renters after repairs. A month later, a nonpaying weekly renter with criminal background, tainted his own faucet that led to a water contamination hoax and resulted in a building-wide emergency evacuation televised by KTVU.
Oakland could not justify a forceful takeover while Alice cooperated with abating violations again and again. An unethical City Attorney resorted to lying in court, stating that more than a hundred people were getting sick from drinking the water every day despite knowing that the water was clean. The lie allowed the court to put in a Receiver the same day. The Receiver went through the equity in the building in no time, forcing the building into Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Most ironically, the same nonpaying renter with the water contamination claim was later arrested for attempting to stab someone inside Empyrean Towers.
In March 2016, the Mayor of Oakland publicly appeared in court with her councilmen to apply pressure on the Bankruptcy Judge to approve an affordable housing group, Resources for Community Development (RCD), an option to buy for $4.5million when other bidders offered $5.5million. In March 2017, RCD finally purchased the building now worth almost $7million for $4.5million using HUD’s federal money. RCD and Oakland together created a housing project costing $20 million of federal funds and state funds from tax payers.
Most egregiously, Oakland has now turned to Alice’s elderly mother in order to get to her last few properties in her retirement.
The professional tenants are just tools used by Oakland and EDC to take from private property owners, in the name of better housing for the poor. However, the same tenants who haven’t paid rent for years are now facing eviction by new owner RCD. Just last month, these tenants filed new lawsuits alleging the same inhabitable conditions against the Receiver who took over the building management from the Alice 2 years ago.
The Empyrean lawsuit was created by Oakland Attorney. The water contamination was a HOAX allowing Oakland to publicly take Empyrean from Alice’s mother. Oakland lost face big time in their Ghost Ship Scandal. Now they found scapegoats in an innocent family who has already been forced out of their own building 2 years ago. On top of all that, Oakland wants to take an elderly to the cleaners by taking everything the mother owns. What gives?
On 5/26/2017 Protest
Wei Xin Article
World Journal Article
政府租客?手索? ?裔房?|：逼人走?路 | 世界新??
Epoch Times Article
?裔?I主房?被充公 ??^屋主?援要求公正?Υ?/span> | ?W克?市府 | ?埯??·? | 大?元
TV News Videos
Oakland property owner draws support – Video | KTVU
奥克兰“房客赶走房东”事件升级 抗议民众齐聚市府讨说法 – 美国中文网
Supporter Video of Protest
Protest against Oakland, CA for robbing a family of Empyrean Towers – YouTube
华裔业主房产被充公 发声抗议获支援(租管政策_屋主团体) – YouTube
?W克?市府控告?裔?I主 5.26 (?) – YouTube
Communism in Oakland, CA? Oakland Empyrean Towers scandal hits Mainstream Chinese Media (Subtitles) – YouTube
City residents vs Oakland, CA tensions increase after unfair treatment of private property owner – YouTube
Original Story on Empyrean Towers
Wei Xin Articles
华人控诉：房东的悲歌！加州开始”打土豪,分田地” – 华人社区 BackChina Network
Wen Xue City Article
Civil Rights Article
奥克兰业主痛失产权的时序表 | WeiDB.com
Epoch Times Articles
?W克??I主怎?邮?チ俗约旱?怯睿?/span> | 北加州?W克? | ??I租??/span> | 房?|?? | 大?元
?W克?被告?I主 ?金山的房?早被瞄??/span> | 短租平? | ?埯??•? | Empyrean Towers | 大?元
?W克??裔房?|能否逃?「被共?」？ | ?埯??·? | Empyrean Towers | 被告?I主 | 大?元
World Journal Article
?散房酒店出租 房?|?糇?噩??/span> | 世界新??
News Reports Videos
Oakland, CA causes family to lose 99 unit Empyrean Towers in downtown – YouTube
房客竟把房东赶走! 加州法案如此保护租客？ – 美国中文网