Despite skepticism from anti-eviction activists, the owner of the building at 53-55 Walter Street where longtime tenant David Brenkus is facing an Ellis Act eviction has reached out to SFist to explain that yes, his parents and his brother really are planning to live in the building full time.
After yesterday's post about the war of words between Chronicle columnist C.W. Nevius and 48 Hills editor Tim Redmond with Nevius speaking directly to building owners Ish and Emma Harshawat, and Redmond going off of Anti-Eviction Mapping Project internet research about the family Ish Harshawat wanted to clarify several things about his family's intentions for the building, and why they invoked Ellis rather than doing an owner move-in eviction, which would have been simpler and cheaper.
In Indian families it is common for multiple generations to live in the same household. In this case, my wife, baby, and I; my parents; and my brother will live in the three units that comprise our home. As my parents near retirement, they are now spending much of their time here in SF, where their newborn granddaughter lives and where they will retire. My mother is currently living in the bottom unit helping out with the baby. My wife, our baby, and I live in the middle unit. My brother will live in the top unit.
To the point that Redmond made, via LinkedIn, about the brother, Kavi Harshawat, taking a job working for the Department of Veterans' Affairs in D.C.:
My brother Kavi actually lives in San Francisco the majority of the time and has rented an apartment in the City for the past 6.5 years. He plans to end his lease at his current rental and move into the Walter St. unit as soon as he can (pending David vacating the unit). Kavi currently works at the United States Digital Service for the Department of Veterans Affairs trying to help improve the way the VA processes electronic Benefit Claim Appeals. This job is term-limited and considered a 2-year tour of duty. His responsibilities requires him to visit DC on a monthly basis but allows him to remain in San Francisco the remainder of his time.
And as for why they're not doing an owner move-in (OMI), it turns out there is a good legal reason:
We were advised that we could not file an OMI as the tenant lived there for over ten years and claimed protected status [Ed. Note: Brenkus has claimed he is disabled]; we invoked the Ellis as a last resort when he refused our buyout offer.
Also, he adds, that the ire agains his wife, Emma Acker (she appears to use her maiden name professionally) is somewhat misdirected in that she's not on the title of the building, which Harshawat purchased in 2013 with his parents.
In terms of the de Young curator irony you cite I want to point out that the real irony is that although my wife has been the target of all three protests, in reality she is not on the title and cannot legally evict David Brenkus.
The argument certainly won't end here, as Ellis Act evictions remain a sensitive issue. However, they are legal, and protesting this one doesn't seem likely to stop it.