To his friends and his colleagues at Google, Jack Halprin was an intelligent tech leader and a kind, generous man. To his tenants, he was an unwilling landlord engaging in a years-long struggle to evict them from their homes at 812 Guerrero. Both are now extending condolences.
Halprin died from cancer Thursday morning, according to a Google employee and a childhood friend. The head of e-discovery at Google had struggled with the illness for around six months, according to a friend who requested he remain anonymous. The Examiner wrote that Halprin’s family announced his passing on Facebook, saying he had passed peacefully.
Earlier, tenants at 812 Guerrero Street said that Halprin had been getting cancer treatments and had been out of town for months at a time.
“He never let go of that irrepressible intensity, irreverence and honesty that we all brought to our first job. If you are up to it, raise Jack’s favorite Jägermeister shot in remembrance,” wrote Greg Buckles in a memorial for Halprin on the e discovery consulting firm site eDJ Group.
“We send our deepest condolences to Jack’s friends and family,” the Anti Eviction Mapping Project wrote on Twitter.
“He was kind, generous, a happy person and he really enjoyed being alive,” his anonymous friend wrote on Facebook. “When I met my friend a couple of years ago, he was surprised that I didn’t already know who he was and that I was willing to be his friend. He told me to google him, so I did. After some reading, I learned that he was known as the ‘evil google lawyer’.”
Elliot Zaret, a former friend who grew up with him in Woodbridge, Connecticut and went to the same elementary and Hebrew school said his death had been confirmed this morning.
“When we were little he was the school “fat kid,” and was picked on a bit,” said Zaret, who said that as the short kid in class, he identified with him. “But he was always nice and had a good sense of humor.”
Later, during junior high school and high school, the friend said, he “transformed his body and became a buff swimmer.”
The two friends both attended Yale University. “In college and after he was something of a party animal,” the friend said. He was an “extremely fun loving guy.”
Zaret said he had never mentioned being sick with cancer and that he mostly put updates on Facebook, “funny things from the Onion.”
Halprin became a news topic after he bought the property at 812 Guerrero Street in 2014 and used an owner-move-in eviction on one unit in the building, followed quickly by Ellis evictions for the rest of the building’s tenants. The four units’ occupants who remain in the building have fought their eviction for more than a year. With the help of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, they have staged protests in front of Google, the Guerrero building, a Google bus stop, and other locations to push back against their eviction.
Three units’ tenants succeeded in getting their evictions quashed in court for nonpayment of relocation fees. Halprin appealed that decision in court. The fourth unit’s sole tenant, a disabled woman, was unable to wage a legal battle and, most recently, was awaiting forcible eviction by sheriff’s deputies.
But according to the anonymous friend, the building was meant to have a philanthropic future.
“I found out that my friend was secretly donating that building to Larkin Street Youth Services, which houses (mostly LGBT) homeless kids,” he wrote. “I hated that people had such an ill opinion of my friend when he was anything but an evil person.”
The intent to donate the building could not be immediately confirmed.
We will update this post with more information as it becomes available. Lydia Chávez contributed reporting.