For anyone that has been following City of San Francisco v. Kihagi, the case has been a veritable roller coaster of fact and fiction. The City of San Francisco has been working with primarily former tenants of Ms. Anne Kihagi, a local African American landlord, to orchestrate what has become one of the most tense and brutal legal wars against a successful minority defendant. From the City Attorneys’ presentation of dishonest evidence to silencing Ms. Kihagi’s own voice from testimony, the City has relentlessly abused its power to pursue total control of the court proceedings, all while slandering Ms. Kihagi in the media and overwhelming her with countless court appearances and mounds of paperwork.
While vicious white tenants may have incited this battle, the City has fueled and sustained it by whatever means possible, using its hefty political weight to pile on massive financial penalties based upon falsified or dramatized incidents. Judge Bradstreet awarded thousands of dollars for tenants leaving voluntarily, without complaint or injury; a simple request to not block the entrance during an open house, to which the tenant readily complied; and a harmless introduction on a pleasant Sunday afternoon. These innocuous events have all been manipulated and demonized by the City for its own victory, though entirely rooted in fallacy.
Even before court proceedings, the City fought mercilessly to scrub Ms. Kihagi’s case entirely and deny her a trial. Three judges recognized this underhanded attempt, and the assigned presiding judge was systematically removed by the City. Once Judge Bradstreet began presiding, however, the City benefitted just as much as it would have without a trial. Ms. Kihagi has subsequently been buried under tens of thousands of dollars in penalties that all reek of collusion and prejudicial motives.
Though City of San Francisco v. Kihagi hinges on many different questionable accusations, the City has particularly targeted Ms. Kihagi’s buildings. Despite five qualified inspectors assessing first-hand the “good condition” of the properties, Judge Bradstreet awarded the City $1,250,000 based on the testimony of an inspector with no plumbing or electrical experience – and who had never stepped foot in Ms. Kihagi’s buildings.
After much judicial abuse, Ms. Kihagi sought an appeal as a last legal recourse to reverse some of the crippling damages from the lower court proceedings. The City, as one might suspect, did not end its interference and tried to get her appeal denied.
When Ms. Kihagi filed for the appeal, the City petitioned to reduce her preparation time. The court acquiesced and put the appeal on an expedited schedule.
After Ms. Kihagi completed the appeal, the City filed a motion to have her appeal denied even without review, reviving the same strategy they used in lower court. In the lower court, the City’s unethical attempts included allowing witnesses to present false testimony and denying Ms. Kihagi any chance to defend herself. Somehow, this has all gone unpunished.
Undeterred, the City again hurled its power by trying to deny Ms. Kihagi’s appeal. Fortunately, the First District Court of Appeal has recently blocked the request and is proceeding with its review. Ms. Kihagi has won three appeals from the Second District Court of Appeal thus far and believes that the City fears her continued exposition of their unlawful practices. Ms. Kihagi is hopeful that the First District Court of Appeal will continue to restore honesty, justice, and balance to the San Francisco legal system.