Google’s Public Policy Manager Leslie Miller recently told Claudia Tirado, a teacher and one of six tenants being evicted by Google lawyer Jack Halprin, that there was nothing Google could do about the eviction.
Miller called Tirado earlier this summer after another Google employee, Rachel Whetstone, met Tirado when the teacher was protesting at Google’s I/O conference in June. At the time, Whetstone promised to intervene to see what she could do about Tirado’s situation at 812 Guerrero.
Halprin purchased the property in 2012 for $1.4 million and after moving into the building, he evicted one tenant, saying that he and his partner wanted the unit. In the end, Halprin’s partner never joined him. In 2013, he served the remaining six tenants with Ellis Act eviction notices.
Tirado had hoped the Google executives would be able to do something, but was told there was nothing they could do. It is a private matter. Regardless, Tirado said that she hoped Google would support any new legislation to reform the Ellis Act, a state law that was meant to help landlords get out of the business. Increasingly it has been used by new owners to evict tenants so that the units can be sold.
Legislation sponsored by State Senator Mark Leno would have reformed the Ellis Act by requiring landlords who want to use it, to own the property for five years. Although it was supported by Salesforce, Twitter, Zygna and other tech companies, Leno’s legislation failed this summer.
While it could be taken up again, it is unlikely to happen soon enough to help Tirado and the other tenants—one of whom has since left. Those remaining are fighting the eviction and filed for disability extensions. At the same time, they are suing Halprin for neglecting to maintain the building, abusing his right to enter their units and acting in bad faith.
Halprin has asked for a jury trial.