Antique fair owner files claim against city

A woman who spent almost a decade hosting an antique and trinket fair at U.N. Plaza but had her market stripped from her by the Board of Supervisors is fighting back with a $1 million claim against The City.

Berkeley resident Mary Millman lost her permit Thursday and she is asking for $100,000 for “each of the ten years I developed and operated a public outdoor market in San Francisco” in the claim.

Last month, the Board of Supervisors voted 7-4 to approve Mayor Gavin Newsom’s resolution to revoke her right to charge vendors to set up shop in a space that is blocks from City Hall.

The City will now attempt to run its own market, a prospect that the Real Estate Division claims will reap hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

Millman warned supervisors, however, that The City probably cannot make more than $500,000 per year by renting out the space.

The Real Estate Division is also planning to hire at least two city employees to help run the fair.

Officials pointed out that in the past two years, Millman hasn’t paid rent. Millman said the Recreation and Park Department stopped accepting her checks, and she would be glad to pay any money owed.

“For years we had someone making money on city property without paying a penny,” said Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, who voted to reject Millman’s permit. “This is not a personal issue; this is about business.”

Several supporters have already spoken out against revoking Millman’s permit, saying the small marketplace, which is held three times per week, is a vibrant alternative to the rampant drug dealing and homeless that frequent U.N. Plaza.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, who voted for Millman to keep her permit, said The City didn’t properly manage the rental relationship and now a small business owner is paying for it.

“If you look at U.N. Plaza just being a drug and crime zone over the years, to me the market’s value has been priceless,” Dufty said.

“It’s a shame they’re being tossed.”

Millman’s market is not to be confused with the farmers market, which operates on different days, but the battle is similar to a recent attempt to revoke the permit of the nonprofit agency that runs it. The Board of Supervisors did not approve a resolution revoking that permit.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalMarketvendors

Just Posted

The Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street was one of many hotels that took in homeless people as part of The City’s shelter-in-place hotel program during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Closing hotels could disconnect hundreds from critical health care services

‘That baseline of humanity and dignity goes a long way’

Pachama, a Bay Area startup, is using technology to study forests and harness the carbon-consuming power of trees. (Courtesy Agustina Perretta/Pachama)
Golden Gate Park visitors may take a survey about options regarding private car access on John F. Kennedy Drive, which has been the subject of controversy during the pandemic.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Your chance to weigh in: Should JFK remain closed to cars?

Host of mobility improvements for Golden Gate Park proposed

Dreamforce returned to San Francisco in person this week – but with a tiny sliver of past attendance. (Courtesy Salesforce)
Dreamforce returns with hundreds on hand, down from 170,000 in the past

High hopes for a larger Salesforce conference shriveled during the summer

San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott said retail thefts in The City are underreported crimes. (Daniel Montes/Bay City News)
S.F. unveils initiative to tackle rise in retail thefts

Incidents are not victimless crimes, mayor says

Most Read