Tenants win reprieve in eviction fight with 500 Capp Street Foundation founder

Owner of David Ireland house had hoped to use adjacent property to house visiting artists

A landlord and arts philanthropist who attempted to evict an immigrant family from a Mission District residence in order to provide temporary lodging for artists has agreed to suspend the eviction amid growing criticism, attorneys for both parties have confirmed.

The San Francisco Examiner first reported in April that Carlie Wilmans, founder of the 500 Capp Street Foundation, which operates the former home of conceptual artist David Ireland at 500 Capp St., sued her tenants at an adjacent residential building after they fought efforts to remove them.

Tenderloin Housing Clinic attorney Steve Collier, who has been working with the tenants to prevent their displacement, told the Examiner last month that the parties were “pursuing settlement where the landlord would drop the Ellis eviction.”

Wilman’s attorney, Scott Freedman of the real estate law firm Zacks, Freedman and Patterson PC, the real estate law firm, confirmed on Wednesday that the parties are “discussing a resolution along those lines,” but declined to provide details because the settlement had not been finalized.

Wilmans has stated in court documents that she purchased the two-unit residential home at 3463-3465 20th St. in 2016 with the intention to vacate it. Several years earlier, Wilmans bought the adjacent home-turned-museum of artist David Ireland, who died in 2009, and launched a years-long effort to conserve it at 500 Capp St.

At the time, both of the units in the residential building were occupied. Wilmans successfully evicted tenants in the first floor unit for breaching lease agreements, and moved to evict a Chinese family of six remaining on the top floor unit.

On Wednesday, neither Wilmans nor representatives of her foundation were immediately available for comment on the settlement.

In April, the 500 Capp St. Foundation issued a statement aiming to distance itself from the eviction proceedings, claiming that “the staff and the board were unaware of the details in regards to the legal proceedings.” Wilmans is listed as the founder and chair of 500 Capp Street foundation’s board of trustees.

The eviction of vulnerable tenants in the midst of San Francisco’s housing crisis did not sit well with tenant advocacy and community groups.

On Wednesday, Deepa Varma, executive director of the Mission District-based Tenants Union, said that by halting the eviction, Wilmans is “doing the right thing.”

“We hope other landlords can be inspired by this example,” said Varma.

The foundation became the target of a protest earlier this month after one of two curators, Bob Linder, was fired. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Linder’s firing was due to budget shortcomings, and that last week, the remaining curator, Diego Villabolos, resigned.

Mission Local, which first reported on the potential settlement Tuesday, indicated that Linder was critical of Wilman’s plans to evict her tenants.

lwaxmann@sfexaminer.com

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