Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

SF Eagle, Kok bars see developments

Former patrons expressed their sense of loss over the closure of the Eagle Tavern shortly after the bar closed in 2011. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Former patrons expressed their sense of loss over the closure of the Eagle Tavern shortly after the bar closed in 2011. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A consultant who says she helped the new owners of the former Eagle Tavern secure the once-popular South of Market leather bar is suing them, claiming they haven’t paid her.

In a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on January 16, Colleen Meharry, of Urban Group Real Estate, says Mike Leon and Alex Montiel, who announced their plans to reopen the shuttered space in September, owe her thousands of dollars.

Meharry entered a written and oral contract with the men in March 2011, the file says. They agreed Meharry would provide consulting services related to leasing, purchasing, and renovating the bar, which closed in April 2011 after the former owners got into a rent dispute with the landlord. A reopening date for the tavern, now known as SF Eagle, hasn’t been announced.

Leon and Montiel agreed to pay her $8,000, but they never signed the contract. The record says, they “repeatedly affirmed its terms to Meharry and agreed that it would be signed and returned.” A copy of the agreement dated March 10, 2011 shows Meharry’s signature, but no signatures from Leon or Montiel.

Despite the men not signing the contract, Meharry did everything she said she’d do, according to the complaint, which says that by August 28, 2012, Leon and Montiel had still refused to pay her.

Additionally, the record shows, in May 2012, Urban Group entered into a non-circumvention agreement, in which Leon and Montiel agreed that for two years, they wouldn’t try to contact the landlord, John Nikitopoulos. They also agreed not to do “any other act to interfere with Urban Group’s rights to fees or commission in a transaction” between Leon and Montiel and Nikitopoulos. (Leon and Montiel signed this agreement, the file shows.)

According to the complaint, Urban Group lived up to its side of the deal, “and was the procuring agent in securing a purchaser and lessee” for the Eagle.

However, on August 28, the defendants breached the contract “by entering into a lease, purchase agreement, and other transactions” with Nikitopoulos that allowed them to acquire the bar, the document says.

Nikitopoulos is also a defendant in the lawsuit. Among other things, the complaint says, Nikitopoulos knew of Leon and Montiel’s agreement with Urban Group, but in August, he interfered with the contract by concluding lease and purchase transactions with Leon and Montiel without involving or informing Urban Group.

“John encouraged Mike and Alex to breach the contract so as to have the advantage of the buyers and lessees procured by plaintiff without paying compensation,” the file says. As a result, Leon and Montiel breached the agreement, Urban Group claims.

“Urban Group has a long client relationship with Mike and Alex the ultimate buyers and lessees and had worked for months in structuring a transaction in which they could acquire the assets of the Eagle Tavern and a lease for the property,” the document says.

The file also says, “John encouraged Mike and Alex to conceal the transactions from Urban Group so that he could have the benefit of the transactions without having to compensate Urban Group for its services.”

In the complaint, Urban Group claims that it prepared a lease and procured its execution by Leon and Montiel, but, as a copy of the lease included with the documents shows, Nikitopoulos didn’t sign it.

The file says that the three defendants promised Urban Group a commission of $20,000 for procuring the lease, and the document indicates that Nikitopoulos orally promised the firm an additional $20,000 commission. However, the defendants breached the commission agreement by completing the deal without Urban Group, and they failed to pay the firm, according to the complaint.

Meharry and Urban Group are seeking damages including the tens of thousands of dollars they say are owed to them from the defendants breaching the contracts, attorneys’ fees, and other costs.

A case management conference has been set for June 19.

Meharry wasn’t immediately available for comment. Her attorney, Mark Romeo, said, the lawsuit “is not that big of a case in general,” and “I don’t know that it affects the fate of the bar.”

Reached by phone, Leon said he couldn’t talk at the time, and hung up. Montiel wasn’t available by phone and didn’t immediately respond to an email sent to the bar. They don’t appear to have an attorney.

Nikitopoulos didn’t immediately respond to an interview request, and it’s not clear who’s representing him in the case.

Kok bar appears to be in transition

Data from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control show that Kok, the gay bar at 1225 Folsom Street, is being sold to new owners.

David Morgan, who’s listed as the managing member of the current liquor license, hasn’t provided comment on the sale, which the ABC says is pending.

Shawn Magee and Christopher Milstead, officers of Magstead, Inc., which is listed as the prospective licensee, couldn’t be reached. The record says they are doing business as Driftwood.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 8, 2013 @ 2:31 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro Street redesign survey deadline extended

A schematic shows possible changes to the Market and Castro street intersections.

A schematic shows possible changes to the Market and Castro streets intersection, including a reconfiguration of 17th Street and realignment of the crosswalks.

City planners working to transform Castro Street in the heart of San Francisco’s gayborhood into a more pedestrian-friendly boulevard are giving people more time to weigh in on the project.

They have extended the deadline to fill out a survey about the sidewalk widening project until Monday, February 11. The two-page form can be downloaded online here and includes specific questions to gauge public support for several elements being proposed that could mean a loss of parking.

One idea is to install mid-block parklets along the 400 and 500 blocks of Castro Street. Rather than the temporary structures businesses have installed, these would be permanent extensions of the sidewalk. Planners have suggested erecting one across from the Castro Theater and another in front of the late gay Supervisor Harvey Milk’s camera shop.

Although they would take up a parking space, the lost parking could be recouped on 18th Street by redesigning the bus loading zones now in place on the side street. Planners also point to additional street parking gains that will come from the replacement of a gas station at Castro and Market streets with a residential building and changes proposed to how drivers would access 17th Street heading south on Market Street.

“Five to 10 parking spots would be lost if we do everything” proposed for the streetscape along Castro Street, said Castro resident Nick Perry, an urban designer with the Planning Department’s City Design Group working on the plans. “We are trying to minimize the loss of parking.”

At its meeting Thursday, February 7 the Castro / Upper Market Community Benefits District board voted on its own wishlist for what it wants to see done as part of the streetscape changes. Among the CBD’s items are creating bulb-outs at all intersections, mid-block parklets with greening elements and leaning posts, and the plans to reconfigure the intersection at Market, 17th, and Castro streets.

Another element it wants to see is a raised pedestrian scramble at 18th and Castro, where traffic would be stopped in all directions so people on foot could diagonally cross the street.

The public’s survey responses will be tabulated and used to determine those various design features included in the $4 million project. The answers will be discussed at the second community hearing planned for sometime in March that will focus on the various street amenities – from sidewalk seating and directional signs to the placement of street trees – planners envision for the project.

The final design plan is expected to be revealed in May. Construction would start in January of 2014 and be done in phases so as not to disrupt the entire street.

“Most commercial areas would fight for this money to improve their sidewalks,” District 8 Supervisor Scott Wiener told Castro merchants at their meeting Thursday, February 7 in response to concerns about the impact businesses will incur due to the project’s build-out.

While there will be some inconvenience, Wiener said, “It is the price we pay to have better sidewalks.”  He added that city leaders and planning staff “want to make sure we minimize disruptions.”

Completion of the project is slated for October of next year, meaning it could be officially dedicated the weekend of the Castro Street Fair. The annual outdoor event always takes place on the first Sunday of October.

For more information on the Castro Street Design project, visit its website here.

 

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 2:27 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Castro Country Club now legit, eatery approved

After three decades of operation, technically all-the-while illegally under city codes, a sober gathering space in San Francisco’s gay Castro district has won legal status.

At their meeting Thursday, February 7 planning commissioners voted to change the zoning of the 1901 Edwardian at 4058 18th Street in order to make the Castro Country Club a conforming use of the residential building. The decision comes as the club prepares to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a “huge neighborhood celebration” Sunday, April 21.

Castro Country Club manager Terry Beswick stands in front of the sober meeting place's garage where a new eatery is set to open. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Castro Country Club manager Terry Beswick stands in front of the sober meeting place’s garage where a new eatery will open.
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The oversight panel also voted to approve a new eatery that will be built in the current garage space. Billed as “The Castro Sausage Grill,” the new restaurant may in fact be a different type of dining establishment when it opens, a source said this week.

“It’s a nice feeling to be legal, even though until recently I hadn’t realized we were not. We will be remodeling CCC concurrent with building retrofit and build out of unknown restaurant,” Terry Beswick, the club’s manager, told the Bay Area Reporter in an email.

George “Jorge” Maumer, who is in the process of liquidating his Superstar Video store nearby on Castro Street, bough the property in early 2012 reportedly for $1 million. He agreed to maintain the sober space as a tenant, as well as the tenants of an upstairs apartment in which Beswick lives, but also sought permission to operate the restaurant as a way to recoup his investment.

Maumer’s plan to sell alcohol in addition to food raised eyebrows at first but was not opposed by the country club or local officials as there are already bars and restaurants doors away from the sober space.

According to a planning staff report on the project, the “locally-owned” restaurant will not be a chain. It will be housed in a roughly 1,985 square foot ground floor space with an outdoor dining area.

The proposed hours of operation are 11 am. to 11 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.

Work is also planned to remodel parts of the house where the sober space is located, including replacing a rear stairway with a spiral staircase and a new roof-top deck area in back. According to an email the country club sent out earlier this week, the construction work should not interfere with the numerous meetings and other activities held at the space.

Club management did state they expect there will be “some inconvenience when work gets underway, [but] we do not anticipate having to stop club operations and will do our best to keep all patrons well-informed of the plans and progress. Our goal is to make the club more suitable to our community’s needs and we are confident that when work is complete we will be better than ever.”

The February 4 email also disclosed that the club, which signed an agreement to have the San Francisco AIDS Foundation be its fiscal sponsor but is solely responsible for its finances, in 2012 had its “most successful to date” year-end donor drive. Close to $7,000 was raised in December, a total 50 percent higher than similar giving campaigns the previous two years.

In his email to the B.A.R. yesterday, Beswick wrote, “We’re just glad the CCC is surviving and thriving, thanks to support from the community and landlord, and we’re excited about the future. The CCC will be better than ever.”

— Matthew S. Bajko, @ 1:32 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Medical examiner: Homeless man with AIDS died of pneumonia

 

A homeless man living with AIDS whose body was found on Castro Street in December 2011 died of pneumonia, the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office recently determined.

Pedro Villamore Jr. (Photo: Courtesy David Kilgore)

Pedro Villamore Jr. (Photo: Courtesy David Kilgore)

Police hadn’t suspected foul play in the death of Pedro Villamore Jr., 44, but the exact reason he died hadn’t been known. The medical examiner’s office concluded its examination in January, and the report was made available last week.

Family and friends had provided housing and other help to Villamore, but just after his brother’s death, Jesse Villamore said, “I guess he doesn’t want to be cooped up in a room or in a hospital. He’d rather be outside.”

David Kilgore, 50, a former partner of Villamore’s who’d remained friends with him, said that months before he died, he’d found a year’s worth of Villamore’s HIV medications that hadn’t been touched.

The medical examiner’s report lists the cause of death as lobar pneumonia complicating AIDS. Other conditions include atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. No drugs were detected in Villamore’s system.

Citing information from police, the docuement says a man who was walking his dog at about 7:15 p.m. December 8 saw Villamore curled up under a blanket in the doorway of 532 Castro Street, which is near 18th Street. The man thought Villamore was asleep.

The next day at about noon, he noticed Villamore in the same spot. He wasn’t able to wake him up, so he called 911. Paramedics arrived and pronounced Villamore dead. The medical examiner determined the date of death to be December 8.

Just after his death, a memorial to Villamore was created in the doorway where he died. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Just after Villamore’s death, a memorial was created in the doorway where he died. (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

The file says a police officer indicated that he’d seen Villamore a week beforehand at 18th and Hartford streets and told him he couldn’t loiter.

Villamore “cussed at the officer and was cantankerous, but essentially the interaction was unremarkable,” the report says. “He voiced no complaint of illness and didn’t exhibit any signs of acute stress at that time.”

Told of the medical examiner’s report, Kilgore said that given Villamore’s inconsistency in taking his medication, the cause of death wasn’t surprising, but he expressed relief that there was no appearance of foul play.

Kilgore said he also wasn’t surprised that Villamore had had money with him when he died.

“We got him on disability, so he was getting $1,300 a month,” Kilgore said. “He just couldn’t be housed. He couldn’t stay away from drugs. … I don’t know how many places he lost because of it.”

Kilgore said he was glad that it appeared that Villamore hadn’t been using drugs when he died.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 7, 2013 @ 5:44 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


SF supes panel passes tax break for LGBT city employees

A Board of Supervisors committee has recommended that San Francisco offer a tax break to city employees whose same-sex partners are covered on their health insurance policy.

Supervisor Mark Farrell (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Supervisor Mark Farrell
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

At its meeting today (Wednesday, February 6) the Budget and Finance Committee unanimously voted to support the idea proposed by committee chair District 2 Supervisor Mark Farrell. Prior to the vote, Supervisors John Avalos (D11) and Eric Mar (D1) announced they had decided to become co-sponsors of the ordinance.

As noted in the Bay Area Reporter’s Political Notebook column last week, city employees face a penalty for federal income tax purposes when they add their partner or spouse to their city-provided health care coverage due to the fact that federal law does not recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

Therefore, the Internal Revenue Service treats any employer contributions for a same-sex partner’s or spouse’s health insurance premiums as taxable income. Such households can face tax bills of several thousand dollars due to the federal anti-gay law known as the Defense of Marriage Act.

It is estimated it would cost the city slightly more than $500,000 to cover the tax bills incurred by the more than 350 same-sex spouses and/or same-sex domestic partners enrolled in the city’s Health Service System.

Under the proposed ordinance the city would pay 20 percent of the portion of the employee’s health insurance premiums attributable to the same-sex spouse or partner.

The full board is expected to vote on the tax relief policy at its February 26 meeting. It is expected to pass, as it needs a simple majority, or six votes, for adoption.

With the decision by Mar and Avalos today, six supervisors are now co-sponsors of the ordinance. Gay Supervisors David Campos (D9) and Scott Wiener (D8) were already co-sponsors, as was District 4 Supervisor Carmen Chu, who sits on the Health Service System Commission.

While Mayor Ed Lee announced this morning that he had decided to name Chu as the city’s assessor-recorder, she is not expected to be sworn into the position until sometime in March after her successor for her supervisor seat is picked. By delaying a decision to name Chu’s replacement, the person could  serve as D4 supervisor for 10 years instead of the term-limited eight years since they would serve less than half of Chu’s second-term.

“Carmen Chu will lead the Assessor-Recorder’s office with the same level of budgetary expertise and fiscal prudence she demonstrated when she provided the leadership needed to develop the City’s first two-year budget, balance a $6.8 billion annual city budget and close budget shortfalls of $380 million,” stated Lee. “Carmen’s exemplary budgetary skills as Chair of the Budget and Finance Committee of the Board of Supervisors have benefited the entire City and she shares my values of equity, efficiency and responsiveness to all San Francisco residents.”

Both Chu and her replacement will be required to seek election to fill out the remainder of their terms, which expire in January of 2015, on the ballot this November. Contests for full four-year terms for assessor and D4 supervisor will take place on the November 2014 ballot.

Since former Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting stepped down late last year to become a state assemblyman, his top deputy, out lesbian Zoon Nguyen, had been serving in the position. She is believed to be the first LGBT person to be the city’s assessor-recorder.

In December Nguyen told the B.A.R. that she did not plan to run for the position at the ballot box.

— Matthew S. Bajko, February 6, 2013 @ 5:46 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Dead man identified as ‘Person of interest’ in ’84 missing child case

San Francisco police are seeking information on a dead man in the 1984 disappearance of 10-year-old Kevin Collins.

Wayne Jackson in 1982 (Photo: SFPD)

Wayne Jackson in 1982 (Photo: SFPD)

Police have identified the man as Wayne Jackson, who died from an apparent heart attack under the name Dan Leonard Therrien in February 2008 at the age of 51. Police Chief Greg Suhr announced the details in the Collins case today (Wednesday, February 6) at a Hall of Justice news conference, saying police want the public to provide information.

Jackson, who appears to have been gay, also went by the names Raymond William Stewart, Kelly Lee Dawson, and Kelly Sean Stewart, according to police. Police said he had a criminal history that included lewd acts with young boys. Collins’s remains haven’t been found.

According to a medical examiner’s office record, Jackson’s domestic partner, Jack Chow, reported his death.

Suhr, who recalled how he and others had worked on the investigation almost 30 years ago, said the case “haunts the San Francisco Police Department and the city of San Francisco.” The Collins family has remained in contact with the SFPD.

According to police Lieutenant Tim Plyer, Collins’s parents reported him missing February 10, 1984, after the St. Agnes School student didn’t return from basketball practice.

Jackson’s multiple names and IDs apparently helped him elude police for years.

Plyer said that Jackson had been wanted in Canada under the name Raymond William Stewart for a 1973 incident in which he allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted two 13-year-old boys. He was charged in the case, but he was released and later fled the country.

In April 1981, San Francisco police arrested him under the Jackson name for kidnapping and committing lewd acts on a 7-year-old boy near Fisherman’s Warf. He bailed out of custody in that case and failed to return to court, and a warrant was issued.

Police arrested him on the warrant in March 1982. Jackson, who initially identified himself as Kelly S. Stewart, pleaded guilty to felony lewd acts on a child. He served six months in county jail and was granted three years probation.

It’s not known if Jackson is the legal name, but police are using that identity since that’s the name he was using when they first arrested him. The medical examiner’s office lists Jackson’s name as Dan Therrien.

SFPD cold case inspectors began reviewing the Collins case in late 2012 and obtained additional information about Jackson, police said Wednesday. They gathered enough information to obtain a search warrant for a residence in the 1100 block of Masonic Avenue, where Jackson had lived in 1984. The home is near Masonic and Oak streets, where Collins was last seen. Jackson had consented to a search of the residence during the initial investigation, Suhr said.

On Tuesday, January 29, cadaver dogs from the Alameda County Sheriff’s office indicated the possibility of remains under the garage’s concrete floor. Some of the garage was excavated and several small bones were located, but the San Francisco Medical Examiner’s office has preliminarily determined they’re animal bones, according to police.

Plyer indicated improved abilities to use cadaver dogs were a key development in the investigation. Suhr said Jackson’s criminal history and his proximity to where Collins was last seen were among the factors that have led police to focus on him.

Plyer said police have spoken with Chow, who apparently now lives in Canada, but he declined to discuss many details on how the investigation would proceed. Asked about what kind of work Jackson had been involved with, he said Jackson had done “mechanical” work around the house, including working on cars and motorcycles.

According to the medical examiner’s report, on February 2, 2008, Jackson had been napping on the couple’s couch and was unresponsive when Chow tried to wake him up to feed their dogs. Officials declared Jackson dead just after 4 p.m.

The couple was living in the 2300 block of Moraga Avenue at the time of Jackson’s death, according to the document.

Bay City News and KGO TV Channel 7 appear to have been the first to report on Chow and Jackson living together at the time of the boy’s disappearance. Chow couldn’t be reached for comment. Several media outlets had reported Jackson’s identification prior to Suhr’s announcement today.

For more photos of Jackson, visit the SFPD website.

Suhr asked anyone who may have information in the case to contact the San Francisco Police Department homicide unit at (415) 553-1145. Information can be given anonymously at (415) 575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD.

— Seth Hemmelgarn, @ 4:57 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


Robbery hearing set for board committees

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Supervisor Scott Wiener (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

A hearing to address what San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has described as “an alarming increase in robberies on our streets and on Muni” last year has been set for 10 a.m., Thursday, February 7 at a meeting of two Board of Supervisors committees.

Police report numerous robberies every day. They often involve assaults on people who are targeted for their cellphones and occur in every part of the city. Recent reports include several incidents in the largely LGBT Castro district which Wiener, an out gay man, represents.

“These thieves often act during broad daylight hours,” Wiener said in his January newsletter. The San Francisco Police Department is “working hard to address this threat to public safety. Last year, I called for a hearing from SFPD and the district attorney on strategies being employed to address this problem and to educate the public about how to avoid being a victim.”

The hearing is set for a meeting of the City Operations and Neighborhood Services and Public Safety committees at Room 263, City Hall, 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Plaza.

For more information, visit www.sfbos.org.

 

— Seth Hemmelgarn, February 1, 2013 @ 11:28 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized


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