Last gasp ends the sordid Mirkarimi saga

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The arm-grab that Madison reported to police set off a feeding frenzy that engulfed Mirkarimi.
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

A San Francisco judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, which is likely to be the last step in an ugly and protracted political, legal, and administrative battle stemming from Mirkarimi grabbing Lopez's arm during an argument on Dec. 31, 2011.

The couple's neighbors, attorney Abraham Mertens and his wife, Ivory Madison, reported the grabbing incident to police over the objections of Lopez, who had sought advice from Madison and allowed her to film a short but emotional video displaying a bruise on her arm, which became the main evidence against Mirkarimi.

That exploded into a high-profile drama in which Mirkarimi was vilified by the media, charged with domestic violence and witness dissuasion, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment, suspended without pay for six months by Mayor Ed Lee, and finally reinstated to office by the Board of Supervisors in October.

Along the way, the two couples – who are still neighbors, despite Mirkarimi's efforts to sell his house and move – became increasingly bitter public rivals. Lopez consistently denied being abused and implied to reporters that Mertens and Madison had political motives for breaking her confidence and reporting the incident to police. Mertens and Madison maintained that Mirkarimi tried to dissuade their cooperation with police – an allegation that the long investigation failed to substantiate – and blasted Mirkarimi and Lopez in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed.

Other than that, Madison and Mertens refused to talk to the press as the saga unfolded – a stance they maintained today, with a man who answered the phone at the Red Room website business they run immediately telling us, “They're not interested in talking.”

But Madison, who went to law school before becoming a fantasy writer, did let loose in June when she submitted a wild, incredible 22-page declaration to the Ethics Commission as part of the city's effort to permanently remove Mirkarimi on official misconduct charges, purporting to describe the tyrannical way the Mirkarimi ran the household, as Madison claimed she was told by Lopez (which she disputes).

The commission criticized and gutted the declaration, finding that it was prejudicial and contained little usable evidence. Commissioner Paul Renne even dressed down the deputy city attorneys for submitting it, calling it “clearly hearsay, clearly having the intention of poisoning the well of this hearing,” causing Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith to apologize and explain they had little to do with the declaration because Madison had hired a private attorney who helped her prepare it.

The couple and their attorney have threatened to sue Mirkarimi and Lopez for more than a year, and they finally filed the defamation case in January, and it has now been quickly dismissed. Domestic violence advocates and allies of Mayor Lee also threatened a recall election against Mirkarimi, but that also seemed to wither late last year – meaning this is probably the last we'll hear about this case, at least until Mirkarimi runs for reelection in two years, if he decides to do so.

Asked to comment on the lawsuit's dismissal, Mirkarimi told the Guardian, “My family and I are very happy and have moved forward, and I hope they are too.” His attorney, David Waggoner, told us, “Hopefully, the dismissal represents the end of what has been a long and painful experience for everyone involved.”

Comments

held as a hostage to fortune, worrying each month if that Ellis eviction will arrive. In fact, tenants should get together and offer to buy their buildings - in that way TIC's can be created without an Ellis, and without all the conflict.

I'd take very seriously any market-rate offer for my rental buildings, if only the tenants could get their act together and get serious about funding. I might even carry some of the loan for them.

Why not?

Posted by anon on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 6:14 am

"...According to figures from data provider Dealogic, 19 Chinese property companies, not including Vanke, have raised a combined $7.2 billion from U.S.-dollar-denominated bonds so far this year, compared with $1.2 billion from four Chinese property companies in the same period last year..."

http://blogs.wsj.com/chinarealtime/2013/03/08/doomsday-warning-cant-damp...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 12:02 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 12:40 pm

Until the city can start providing much better (any!) data on the names of people buying apartment buildings and converting them to TIC's; and until the city can give us specific data on the financial and family backgrounds of the people buying the TIC units; and until the city can give us specific data on who is buying all of the new housing built over the past 15 years, then we can't make generalizations about who is buying what. It's way past the time for the city to start collecting and analyzing the conversion, speculation, and ownership data so that effective public policies can be strengthened or enacted, or so at least local residents can know what is happening to their housing stock and what the city plans to do about whatever facts it finds.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

You want other people to go out and do the work to discover that. I do not need to as i have direct knowledge of the market due to real-life (rather than reading about it somewhere).

The Chinese (and Asians in general) want new build. We might think Victorians and Edwardians are cute, but Asians hate them.

They also want clean title and TIC's are messy. They will buy condo's but not TIC's.

I do know a couple of partnerships (one Filipino and one Korean) who buy, Ellis and then sell on - both are based out of Daly City. But they are not buying TIC's - they are selling them. Big difference.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

"They also want clean title and TIC's are messy."

All you are really doing now is establishing motive for converting TICs to condos.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

That's obvious. What's your point?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

"The Chinese (and Asians in general) want new build. We might think Victorians and Edwardians are cute, but Asians hate them."

Explaining (not) why 1/3 of San Francisco is now Asian.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Asians prefer new build. That doesn't mean they can all have that because, of course, SF doesn't allow enough new build to satisfy demand.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:08 pm

"SF doesn't allow enough new build to satisfy demand."

Hense the displacement of San Francisco renters.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:31 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 3:01 pm

Never happen.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/why-nar-will-never-be-prosecuted-facilitat...

This Is Why The NAR Will Never Be Prosecuted For Facilitating Money Laundering

"...a foreigner who may or may not have engaged in massive criminal activity and/or dealt with Iran, Afghanistan, or any other bogeyman du jour at some point in their past, and is using US real estate merely as a money-laundering front perhaps? Sadly, we will never know. Why? As explained before, it is all thanks to the National Association of Realtors - those wonderful people who bring you the existing home sales update every month (with a documented upward bias every single time) - which just so happens is the only organization that actively lobbied for and received an exemption from AML regulation compliance. In other words, unlike HSBC, the NAR is untouchable..."

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 6:53 am

"Until the city can start providing much better (any!) data on the names of people buying apartment buildings and converting them to TIC's"

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/why-nar-will-never-be-prosecuted-facilitat...

Posted by Guest on Mar. 24, 2013 @ 6:56 am
Posted by anon on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:38 pm

Are you saying that it's wrong to rent one's home?

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 8:40 am

tenants prefer to buy TIC's as soon as they can.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 9:12 am

Merde. I nid a niw hiro.

Posted by Amy Arthur on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 1:12 am

He's a powerful man!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

don't fuck with him or you will go back to your home country without your child.

The grabbing has been all overblown, the conspiracy ravings of Ross and his asshole status is evident. The Guardian servility to Ross is both comical and... no just comical, it Ross was not a blow dried progressive version of Gavin Newsom the Guardians reporting would be different of course.

Posted by matlock on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

I mean... Mirkarimi a "blow dried version of Newsom"? It doesn't even begin to make sense.

The only thing you said that is in the least part right is that the grabbing incident was overblown, the rest centers around Big Troll Lie #6; "Progressives have situational ethics."

Your pithy descriptor of Ross obviously merits consideration as being unwittingly self-referential.

By the way, one L in "powerful."

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

Normally, yes, but when it comes to Mirk, it takes two "L"s to indicate just how powerful he is. Didn't you know that? Tough yu new evirythin

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 8:42 pm

Ross will remain sheriff until his term is up.

Closed

The REAL San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign

Posted by The REAL San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 6:58 pm

He'll be mayor next!

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 7:05 pm

This is as accurate as all of lilli's political predictions!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 7:21 pm

"On To The Ross Recall!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly Persistent on Nov. 08, 2012 @ 9:19 am ."

ass clown.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 7:40 pm

LOL. Touché!

Posted by Demented, Yet Terribly, Terribly, Persistent on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 7:45 pm

This was meant to be a joke, right? Ross is finished politically. Heck, even Chris Daly may be more popular that Ross (except for the union members who are striking against the SEIU).

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

even before he started beating up his wife.

Now it is less than a zero chance. He's toast.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 2:09 pm

The witch hunt failed to remove Ross from office.
The recall fizzled and came to nothing.
The website gathering petition signatures calling for his resignation is dead.
The lawsuit was dismissed.

Incidentally I heard Eliana interviewed on KPFA Sunday saying that she was really happy, and her family is stronger than ever.

All the amateur pundits predicting Mirkarimi's eminent demise have been proven wrong. So I can only wonder, will re-election be next?

I was talking about this with a political consultant sometime last summer (a progressive-leaning consultant, at that). And even he was predicting that Ross would never pull through. I said, "never say never." He said, "I'll say 'never'." I said, "Four years is an eternity in politics. We'll just have to see."

I say Ross gets re-elected. You heard it here... first.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 9:04 pm

And of course you'll be the first one to say that you were wrong if Mirkarimi isn't re-elected, correct?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 9:35 pm

Unlike you, Guestie, who can always deny your comments under the shadow of anonymity.

I stand by my comments.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:15 am

probably nowhere else in the State or country in any event.

Still, isn't Chavez's job vacant?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:22 am

Who are you trying to kid?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:09 am

boo. no he won't!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 5:00 am

Lee is at 65%

The people have decided.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 5:50 am

Same clowns commenting here on this subject as always with the same immutable viewpoint regardless of the facts---"Ross Mirkarimi is an asshat". Sheriff Mirkarimi beat long odds to maintain his position in the face of a scurrilous and vicious attack and he has not been shy in the least in perpetuating the redemptive justice policies of his predecessor and friend Mike Hennesey. This is anathema to the less progressive, many of whom are law enforcement types who cannot stomach their defeat. He'll certainly be reelected if he runs again and would stand a fair chance of defeating Ed Lee should they face off in the next mayoral race, assuming Lee himself isn't recalled before that occurs. Mayor Lee and his cohort George Gascon covered themselves in shame in this whole sad saga, with the Chronicle a more than willing accomplice. But that's all water over the dam now, to the relief of most San Franciscans. In the minds of childish commentators like "Guest", a fantasist who is like a broken record in attacking the Sheriff, it's the same old same old. Give it up Guest, your repetitive slander is getting old.

Posted by Barry Eisenberg on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

Long odds? Mirkarimi needed 3 votes to save his job and Avalos/Campos were ideologically bound to support him. He did get votes from 2 other supervisors - one was then voted out of office by a huge margin and the other immediately said that she would support a recall.

Great victory.

>"He'll certainly be reelected if he runs again and would stand a fair chance of defeating Ed Lee should they face off in the next mayoral race, assuming Lee himself isn't recalled before that occurs."

Oh...you are being sarcastic. Sorry, I didn't realize it. Or are you? Because two opinion polls recently put Lee's approval rating at 60%.while Mirkarimi is the only one with an disapproval rating that dwarfs his approval number. So, back on planet earth, Mirkarimi has zero public support while Lee is wildly popular but if it makes you feel better to live in a fantasy world, be my guest.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 11:10 pm

"Because two opinion polls recently put Lee's approval rating at 60%"

LOL. Well that's nothing. Silly you. Are you really that gullible? That's the margin he "won" by in the 12th round (59%), so clearly his sheeple are still in love with him, if they've even been paying any attention to what he's done. I would guess that most haven't.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 2:37 am

significantly more than the 59% vote he got in easily beating Avalos.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 5:52 am

The CoC says they have a poll saying so.

But nobody has provided a link to the poll results showing its methodology.

From SFGate:

"The poll also skews toward older, wealthier residents. About 63 percent of respondents were age 50 or older, and 55 percent of those polled were home owners in a city where about 64 percent of residents are renters. The vast majority - 420 - of the respondents were reached on landline phones, with only 80 reached on cell phones.

"I think it certainly calls into question how accurate (the poll) may be," Campos said. "

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:33 am

makes sense to poll those who are more likely to vote if you want an insight into how a future election might turn out.

The median age of the average voters is about 50.

Oh, and cell phone respondents are much less reliable since, by definition, you do not have a link to their residence.

The 65% approval rating for Lee makes sense, up from 59% at the election since the economy has done well locally, for which Lee naturally gets much of the credit, given that he won on a pro-jobs platform.

That Ross has under 50% approval is hardly surprising, although what is surprising is that it is that high, given that the figure was 30%-40% at the height of RossGate, as news of his abuse became widely known.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:43 am

There was a second poll, commissioned by KCBS that had the exact same 60% approval figure for Lee. So there is twice as much for Lilli to have to live in denial about, but I have no doubt that he has ample ability to do so.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 7:19 am

"63 percent of respondents were age 50 or older"

So, you agree that on its face the poll is unreliable.

Funny, too, that the Survey Usa poll result document is so sketchy with details and has results which skew oddly; with self-described "liberals" as having a lower disapproval rating for Lee than "moderates" -- and similar anomaly among those who answered calls on cell phones.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:17 am

on you to come with polls that show a different and consistent pattern.

It appears that you cannot.

The economy is doing well and so the mayor is doing well - that's hardly a shock to most people

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:42 am

"That Ross has under 50% approval is hardly surprising, although what is surprising is that it is that high, given that the figure was 30%-40% at the height of RossGate, as news of his abuse became widely known."

I notice there have been no links to any recent poll showing *Ross's* approval... so whatever is said about these polls comes with the caveat that they could well be numbers pulled out of the ass of some anonymous "guest."

That said, I think you're answering your own point, "guest." The fact that Ross's numbers have supposedly gone up 15 or so points in polls that may or may not be accurate and may or may not even exist... that just tells you that all these polls are worthless 3 years out. As I've been saying, 3 years is an eternity in politics.

So far, Ross has proven far more resilient than all of you trolls give him credit for. I suspect that on election day in 2015, there will be a lot of handwringing about how Lee and Gascon overplayed their hand.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:23 am

And it is clear that Ross is much less popular than when elected AND that, had the voters known about his penchant for abusing his wife, they would not have given him the narrow victory that he did get.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:11 am

All the conventional wisdom about Ross's eminent demise has been wrong.
He'll be removed from office -wrong
He'll be recalled -wrong
He'll be forced to resign -wrong
The defamation lawsuit will do him in -wrong
Eliana will divorce him any day now -wrong

And now...
He most certainly won't win re-election -???

Time will tell, but just keep spouting that conventional wisdom. I like your record so far.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 12:05 pm

The point now is that Ross is a non-entity with no public position or personal power. He has been neutralized thru his own stupid, arrogant actions.

We don't need to do anything about him because he can no longer do any harm.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 12:53 pm

If not, why are you so gung ho to drive home to us that Ross is a "non-enitity", with no "public position" (uh, he's still sheriff last time I looked) or "personal power". Well, he's still married to Eliana, who says she's happy, and he still gets attention from the media whenever he makes a move. I wouldn't be so quick to write him off if I were you. In matters of the recall, his wife leaving him, and his removal, he's proven you (& your predictions) wrong.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 12:26 pm

will no doubt change it again when Ross loses in the enxt election and finds himself unemployment.

She's an operator.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 12:58 pm