Nationwide — Anne Kihagi, an African American businesswoman and real estate investor, has been the victim of judicial injustice in San Francisco. Judge Angela Bradstreet has perpetrated many injustices against Ms. Kihagi, chief among them that she was harassing tenants. Ms. Kihagi, says though, that the tenants were harassing her, even circulating a group email detailing how they planned to harm her and her businesses.
Judge Bradstreet awarded a sum of $140,000 to two female tenants locked in a domestic dispute that moved out. The judge awarded this sum on the basis the couple broke up because they experienced harassment from Ms. Kihagi, even though she never met these tenants. Can you imagine a ruling that a landlord broke up a relationship? Yet the same judge would ignore threats of harm to the landlord from this same couple?
This monetary award is just one of many outrageous rulings by Judge Bradstreet, culminating in over $5 million for the city of San Francisco. Ms. Kihagi brought all of these rulings to the Court of Appeals; however, none of them were overturned as the higher court does not evaluate ruling on facts, even when the facts are unsupported.
After losing more than $5 million in these outrageous rulings, Ms. Kihagi was then victimized by Umpqua Bank, the lender on three of her properties. Although she never missed a mortgage payment in over a decade, the bank claimed she defaulted on her loans due to not providing financial information. Ms. Kihagi had never been asked to provide such information, but suddenly last year, the bank wanted it provided in 30 days else they would declare her loans to be in technical default.
Ms. Kihagi received a payoff demand in March 2019 and wired nearly $2 million to the bank within 3 weeks. However, the bank rejected the money without explanation. Upon appearing in court, the bank said Ms. Kihagi’s payment was short $29,000. This was not true; however, the bank refused to cooperate with the escrow company and stated they would refuse any additional money wired to them.
Judge Charles Haimes was assigned to Ms. Kihagi’s case and sadly
followed in Judge Bradstreet’s steps. He found that Ms. Kihagi should
not be permitted to pay her mortgages or receive payoff demands, all of
which are basic owner protections in California civil code 2903. This
resulted in Umpqua Bank selling her properties at nearly $5 million
below their commercial value.
How is it possible that a bank can force an owner to sell instead of accepting the loan payoff? Without ever foreclosing. Just by relying on the power of the Court to provide remedies that the laws in California would not permit against any homeowner. What happened to due process within the court system?
This systematic break down of the law is a clear illustration of discrimination against an African American business owner the city does not like. Ms. Kihagi’s experience is not an isolated case; it could happen to anyone, especially people of color.
It is very dangerous if we turn a blink eye to these abuses. We need to demand more from our elected officials within the judicial system. They cannot be allowed to abuse their power because they believe they are above the law. Every time the justice system fails someone, it contributes to the culture of injustice and creates the opportunity for more people to be violated. The courts of San Francisco must be held to higher standards.