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Indybay Feature
Sun Aug 28 2011
Residents Protest Sale of Apartments to "Vulture Capitalist"
Sun Aug 28 2011
Wells Fargo Breaks Promise to East Palo Alto Tenants
“Don’t Sell To Zell!” shouted East Palo Alto tenants and supporters, as they rallied on August 22nd in front of a Wells Fargo branch in downtown Palo Alto. The demonstrators protested Wells Fargo’s pending arrangement with investment group Equity Residential, of which Sam Zell is the founder and chairman. The proposed sale would transfer ownership of more than half of the rent-controlled housing in East Palo Alto.

East Palo Alto is one of the few affordable communities on the San Francisco Peninsula and is home to many people of color. Sam Zell is a well-known opponent of rent control, and has jokingly called himself a "vulture capitalist". His company, Equity LifeStyle, has sued multiple California cities to invalidate local rent control laws, and funded a statewide ballot measure to end rent control in California.

Wells Fargo made a stated commitment to involve the community in transitioning the property to new ownership. Protesters accused the bank of breaking their promise to East Palo Alto tenants.

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