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Owners of popular SF restaurant about to get evicted

The owners of a popular restaurant in San Francisco are about to get evicted by a landlord who made headlines earlier this year.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
The owners of a popular restaurant in San Francisco are about to get evicted. Cuco's Restaurant on Haight Street has been a household name for 23 years.

The landlord in this case is the same person ABC7 News exposed earlier this year for illegally trying to require all his tenants make a minimum annual income or risk being evicted.

Carmen Campos has been making her classic plantain burrito for 23 years at Cuco's Restaurant. But her days there may be numbered.

"Es muy triste para mi, porque he criado a mis hijos," she said, which translates to, "It's very sad for me, because I've raised my children here all my life." Carmen tells ABC7 News she doesn't know what to do.

Carmen has had a month-to-month lease with her landlord Robert Shelton. Then a few years ago, Shelton asked Carmen to remodel and upgrade the restaurant, something he can do when negotiating a new lease.

"Pretty much when my mom said no he got really upset and was like okay, I'm giving you 30 days because you haven't done what I asked you," said Carmen's daughter Judy Campos.

Last Friday, Carmen was served with an order to leave in five days.

This landlord has not had a good relationship with many of his tenants.

Back in May, ABC7 News confronted Shelton when he circulated a letter to his tenants requiring them to prove that their income was at least $100,000 a year. It's something he can't ask of existing tenants. When we called him on it, he refused to talk to us.

"He tried to raise the rent way too much, I couldn't afford that," said Sue Teets.

She was also asked to remodel the space she rented from Shelton a few years back. Sue refused and then he raised the rent. When she left, it took months to get her deposit back.

"He doesn't, he just didn't want to give it to me, not even one penny, so I had to take him to court," she said.

ABC7 News reached out to both Shelton and his attorney. They never called us back.

The restaurant owner has since hired a lawyer, but even he agrees it seldom works out for commercial tenants.

Community advocates want to protect some of the so-called legacy businesses in San Francisco, like England has, using the localism act.

In the Mission District, 24th Street has been designated the Latino Cultural District. The expectation is that certain businesses will also find stability.

"Especially with the legacy businesses, they are part of the culture of San Francisco. It's what makes San Francisco special and they are unique to each of the neighborhoods and they make those neighborhoods special, and it's a draw and it generates revenue," said Erick Arguello with the Calle 23 Merchant & Neighborhood Association.

The issue of protecting legacy businesses will be discussed by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in the fall. But by then it may be too late for the owners of Cuco's.
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realestate rental property rents renters housing market haight ashbury restaurants business San Francisco Haight-Ashbury
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