A bankruptcy judge today approved the sale of the North Oakland property that used to be the headquarters of Your Black Muslim Bakery to a group acting on behalf of a nonprofit organization that serves people with AIDS and other critical illnesses. Eric Nyberg, the attorney for bankruptcy trustee Tevis Thompson, told U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Edward Jellen that NCK LLC, a limited liability corporation that acted on behalf of tenant Vital Life Services, submitted the winning bid of $1,052,000 at “a rather vigorous auction” Wednesday.
Founded in 1987, Vital Life is a nondenominational organization that currently is located on Shattuck Avenue in Oakland.
The only other bidder was Paulette Arbuckle, a longtime resident of the neighborhood near the bakery, who bid $1,052,000.
Jellen approved the sale to NCK, which plans to pay cash for the property at 5832 Shattuck Avenue in Oakland, and approved Arbuckle as a backup should the sale fall through.
Nyberg said extensive publicity about the bakery's financial and criminal problems “may have had negative consequences” in causing some potential bidders to back out.
But he told Jellen that he believes the winning bid was “the best price possible” and “a fair price.”
Outside court, Vital Life executive director Mary Margaret Bush said, “This is like heaven – it doesn't get any better than this” because the organization needed to find a new site.
Bush said, “We love the neighborhood” because it's accessible via public transit.
The bakery, which was founded by Yusuf Bey in 1968 and also had operations at the Oakland and San Francisco airports as well as the Oakland Coliseum, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2006 so it
could reorganize and find a way to repay its creditors.
But in August Jellen moved the bakery into Chapter 7 liquidation so it would be sold in order to satisfy its creditors.
The bakery was shut down when more than 200 police officers raided the facility on Aug. 3, the day after Oakland Post Editor Chauncey Bailey, 57, was shot to death in downtown Oakland, allegedly because of stories he'd written about the bakery's problems.
Yusuf Bey IV, 21, the founder's grandson, was arrested for a kidnapping incident in May.
Also arrested in the raid was the bakery's handyman, 19-year-old Devaughndre Broussard, who has been charged with murdering Bailey.
Oakland Assistant Police Chief Howard Jordan said several days after the raid that he believed Bey was involved in Bailey's death in some fashion but so far Broussard is the only person who has been charged in connection with the incident.
At a preliminary hearing last week, a judge ruled that there's enough evidence to have Broussard stand trial on murder charges.
Nyberg said at today's hearing that because the bakery “is a landmark” and started out by providing a community service, he believes that it's appropriate that the facility will be used by “a community-based nonprofit organization.”
R.N. Field Construction of San Francisco will renovate the bakery facility at a cost of up to $1 million, according to Kurt Zimmerman, the group's principal and senior project manager.
Zimmerman, who also represents NCK, said he also thinks it's good that the facility will be used for community-oriented services.
Zimmerman said the bakery is in “a difficult situation” but it formerly “had something good going.”
He said, “It's sad that it went somewhat south.”
Zimmerman said he hopes that Oakland officials will issue permits soon so that renovation work can get started, as Vital Life hopes to open its new doors by April 30.
Zimmerman said he “saw opportunity” when the bakery facility was put on the market and he hopes “we can bring it back to life.”
— Bay City News