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Big money in opposition to efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act
by Lynda Carson (tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com)
Monday May 14th, 2018 6:14 PM
Wealthy landlords, realtors, and developers have teamed up together against renters campaigning against the Costa-Hawkins Act, and the competing campaigns are gearing up for a huge battle to come!
Big money in opposition to efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act

By Lynda Carson - May 14, 2018

With so much at stake for renters campaigning to repeal the notorious Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, it should be no surprise that wealthy landlords and property owners are already spending a fortune to fight back against the efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act.

Rent control and just cause eviction protections are the only fair and humane ways to slow down greedy landlords and profiteering realtors and developers from gouging renters with never ending rent increases, unjust evictions, displacing renters from their communities, and adding to the already-dire affordable housing crisis in California.

During late April of 2018, the campaign to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act submitted over 565,000 signatures to place the Affordable Housing Act on the November 2018 ballot, so voters can vote to repeal the draconian Costa-Hawkins Act. Only 365,880 valid signatures were needed.

Wealthy landlords, realtors, and developers have teamed up together against renters campaigning against the Costa-Hawkins Act, and the competing campaigns are gearing up for a huge battle to come.

Campaign in opposition to efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act:

The California Apartment Association (CAA) created the committee known as Californians for Responsible Housing for their campaign to fight back against the efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act.

According to BallotPedia, $4,039,279 has been contributed to the CAA backed committee Californians for Responsible Housing, including $165,803 as in-kind services.

In contrast, the campaign to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act has only received contributions of $2,095,000, and $70,491 as in-kind services, a total of $2,165,491 in campaign contributions.

The top 5 donors who contributed to CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing:

Reportedly, as of May 9, 2018, in the effort to fight back against the efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, Essex Property Trust Inc., and Affiliated Entities contributed $2,267,330. In recent years, Essex Property Trust also made a $100,000 donation to the California Apartment Association (CAA) to fight against rent control ballot measures in California.

Equity Residential contributed $429,900. In recent years, Equity Residential also donated $100,000 against rent control measures in California, being a very wealthy firm out of Chicago owned by billionaire Sam Zell.

Avalonbay Communities, Inc., contributed $356,880.

Prometheus Real Estate Group contributed $196,800. And in recent years, $150,000 was donated by the Prometheus Real Estate Group, Inc, owned by a billionaire family, against rent control measures in California.

And the Spieker Companies, Inc., owned by 69 year old Tod Spieker of Atherton, contributed $189,950. Wealthy landlord Tod Spieker of Atherton resides in a home valued at $12,587,532, and he does not want to have renters that are protected by rent control, or just cause eviction protections.

The same contributors to CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing, contributed big money to anti-rent control measures in recent years:

Some of the biggest contributors to the campaign in opposition to the efforts to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act include Equity Residential, a very wealthy firm out of Chicago owned by billionaire Sam Zell. Sam Zell is the wealthy billionaire who has fought against rent control for many years in California, and even contributed $100,000 to the failed Prop 98 initiative years ago that was voted down by the public. Prop 98 was an initiative that would have ended rent control in California if it was passed by the voters.

During 2016, Essex Property Trust, gave $100,000 to the CAA in the effort to suppress the vote against rent control ballot measures in the Bay Area. Essex Property Trust has been allegedly accused of illegal payroll practices, and has been sued in a class action lawsuit at a number of properties in Fremont in recent years involving a $650,000 settlement. Additionally, Essex Property Trust and it’s subsidiaries have been sued for personal injury and property damage due to mold problems in some of their apartments, and properties.

The Prometheus Real Estate Group has contributed $150,000 or more to the CAA and the campaigns against the rent control ballot measures in the Bay Area in recent years. The Prometheus Real Estate Group has also allegedly abused renters and exposed renters to asbestos. The company has allegedly been in trouble for violating Prop 65, by failing to let the tenants know that they were being exposed to cancer causing asbestos in their apartments. Prometheus also displaced 400 people at a mobile home park, and has been sued for exposing people to bed bugs, raw sewage and habitability issues in their apartments. The Prometheus Real Estate Group is owned by Jackie Diller Salfier, and the Diller family.

Richard “Tod” Spieker contributed $50,000 to the CAA and the campaigns against the rent control ballot measures in the Bay Area during recent years. Tod Spieker has allegedly been involved in mass evictions, and has been in trouble with HUD over habitability issues in some of his apartments.

In recent years, Woodmont Real Estate Services also contributed $85,000 to the CAA in opposition to local rent control measures, and $45,000 was contributed from G.W. Williams Co., to the CAA and it’s campaign against the rent control ballot measures in the Bay Area. Woodmont Real Estate Services and G.W. Williams Co., were both involved in the mass evictions that occurred at the 73 unit Park Royal apartments in San Mateo. Woodmont Real Estate Services is listed in the group below of contributors to CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing.

Other contributors to CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing:

Other contributors to CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing include Castle Creek Management Company Inc, 100 Van Ness Associates, LLC, James Hirsch, Harrison Fremont Holdings, LLC, Van Ness Hayes Associates, LLC, Ernest C.J. Leung, Mark Kessel, UDR, Inc., Prime Administration LLC & Affiliated Entities, Kennedy Wilson Multifamily, Woodmont Real Estate Services, Including Aggregated Contributions, Lenar Homes of California and Affiliated Entities, EGB II, LLC, Aimco Corporate, Legacy Partners and Affiliated Entities, Irvin Grant, Robert Jabour, Mayten Manor Corporation, Newport Apartments Corporation, Peppertree Village Corporation, Georgia Lane Town Homes Inc., Ilene Weinreb, The Felix Group, LLC, Votenow Action, and California Business Roundtablele Issues PAC.

Some of the California Apartment Association’s Officers & Board of Directors are deeply involved in the campaign against the tenant activist campaign trying to repeal of the Coata-Hawkins Act, including the companies they are involved with that are contributors to the CAA backed Californians for Responsible Housing.

According to their latest 2016, 990 tax filing, the California Apartment Association (CAA) had gross receipts of $7,911,623. After subtracting their liabilities from their assets, the CAA had a fund balance or net assets of $5,870,158. In 2016, Thomas K. Bannon, CEO of the CAA, raked in $326,212, plus an additional $26,062 in other compensation from the organization.

Allegedly, the mission of the CAA is to represent the ethical members of the rental housing industry, however it appears that many of it’s members have not been ethical through the years.

In addition to the huge political campaign battle taking place to repeal the Costa-Hawkins Act, there are presently rent control campaigns in ten California cities.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule [at] yahoo.com

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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
More info about contributions made to Californians For Responsible HousingLynda CarsonTuesday May 15th, 2018 5:07 PM
FactsBre MilesTuesday May 15th, 2018 2:16 PM