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SF sues alleged affordable housing cheats

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San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera speaks at a news conference at City Hall in San Francisco, Calif. Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. (Jessica Christian/2016 S.F. Examiner)
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Two landlords who allegedly abused their ownership of below-market-rate units in San Francisco are facing legal challenges from City Attorney Dennis Herrera.

Herrera filed the lawsuits Wednesday in San Francisco Superior Court, claiming one landlord illegally rented out a below-market-rate unit and the other lied to purchase a second below-market rate unit, according to a statement from the City Attorney’s Office.

“These two new lawsuits go after affordable housing fraud,” Herrera said in the statement. “When people try to game our affordable housing system, they keep homes out of the hands of those who truly need them. We’re putting a stop to that.”

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In one lawsuit, Herrera claims Catherine Bailey rented out a condo at 888 Seventh St. for more than eight years, despite signing an agreement preventing her from doing so without permission from city officials.

In the other, Herrera claims Human Services Agency employee Rita Zakhrabova failed to disclose that she owned a below-market-rate unit at 400 Beale St. when she purchased a second below-market-rate condo at 333 First St. in 2005.

Herrera is seeking penalties of up to $2,500 for each illegal act and penalties of at least $200 per day for Planning Code violations, according to the statement.

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