Eviction Dispute Spills Onto The Street at 24th & Folsom

A dispute over eviction proceedings moved into the court of public opinion last week, with one party publicly accusing the other of wrongfully evicting an elderly tenant, only to then be accused of taking advantage of the same elderly tenant in response. The battle over the unit, located within the same building as the W-K Market at 24th and Folsom, has been going on for over a year. However, the parties involved changed when the family that runs W-K Market bought the building from the previous owner in February.

The dispute now lies between the new owners of the building and the unit’s master tenant—Ron Wander. Wander, an artist who has lived in the rent controlled unit since the 1960’s, shares the large space with five subtenants and is fighting the eviction with the assistance of the Eviction Defense Collaborative.

According to Ali Alomari, who manages the W-K Market and is one of the new owners of the building, the trouble started last year when the previous owner attempted to evict Wander, and by extension his subtenants, for what the owner deemed to be illegal renovations to the unit.

Uptown Almanac was unable to reach Wander for comment, but we were able to speak with two of his subtenants—Nick Hage and Jon Chaney—who explained that “last year our previous landlords tried to evict us. We took them to court for illegally raising the rent and we won.” It was shortly after this that the previous owner decided to sell the building.

Alomari told Uptown Almanac that when the previous owner notified him of her intention to sell the building, he was immediately concerned about the implications the sale would have on his family’s business.

“A building at 24th and Folsom? If we didn’t buy it, we would be evicted [by whoever the new owner would be.]”

And so, his family worked with a bank and were able to finalize the purchase in February of this year. It was almost immediately thereafter that they began eviction proceedings against Wander.

Then flyers started to appear around the neighborhood, urging locals to boycott the market:

Hage explained by phone that the intention behind their flyering is to make the new owners “aware that the neighborhood doesn’t agree with these type of actions,” adding that there were “one hundred better ways to address this.” In response to a series of written questions from Uptown Almanac, Hage and Chaney clarified that while “Ron did not assist in creating the flyers or website, […] we ran all ideas through him first.”

The flyer, which claims that W-K Market is wrongfully evicting an 82-year old veteran, prompted the following response from the downstairs market:

When asked about the claim that the subtenants are “taking advantage of an elderly man and paying [Wander] only $144 in rent each month,” Hage and Chaney replied that the “unit is rent controlled and we were court ordered to split the rent evenly. We consider Ron a friend and roommate.” In conversation, Hage continued that “anyone who knows us knows that claim is untrue. Ron’s an artist, and we’re all artists and musicians. […] If he didn’t have people living here to help him fight the eviction, he’d be in serious trouble.” Wander’s only living family member is a niece in Alaska.

When asked about the intention behind the eviction proceedings, Alomari stated that “we’re not trying to get rid of him so we can re-rent the unit out for more.” Alomari went on to say that all the unpermitted work in the unit is a fire hazard—a concern that cannot easily be written off in light of the recent fire above a corner store at 24th and Treat that resulted in several deaths.

However, Hage countered that the renovations in question had been done over the course of the past forty years—long before any of the current subtenants moved in—and pose no fire risk. In contrast to Alomari’s claim, Hage stated that the work was done with the permission of the previous owner, and that aside from one concern over wiring (which Hage said was addressed by the previous landlord), there have not been any specific code violations cited by either the old owner or the new one.

According to the SF Assessor’s database for the property, the only building permit issued for the unit was in 2005 for work to “remove illegal (sic) built kitchen, bath, [and] partition.”

Hage claims that immediately after the new owners finalized the purchase of the space, they gave Wander three days to fix unspecified safety violations or face eviction.

“Three days to fix it or get out? Three days to take forty years of lofts out is just not realistic. They want to move in, fix it up, and then rent it out for more money.”

The eviction will ultimately be decided by the courts, but both the tenants and new owners hope the community will make a judgement of its own.

Comments (50)

I’m with the landlord on this one. Nice try though.

If Ali Alomari and the W-K Market are concerned about safety, then why not simply work with the tenants to abate any unsafe conditions?

Is Alomari really trying to say that his concern for the 82 year old man has led him to evict the fellow from his home? That makes no sense at all. The only believable explanation for Ali Alomari and the W-K Market’s rush to evict these tenants is money.

Hopefully people in the neighborhood will boycott the market so thoroughly that the Alomaris will suffer financial damages for their selfish actions, leading them to do the right thing and leave the poor 82 year old guy in his apartment.

If Ali Alomari and the W-K Market are concerned about safety, then why not simply work with the tenants to abate any unsafe conditions?

Abate with what? He’s paying $144/month! It will take decades of rent to pay back the costs of fixing the crap they have done over the year.

This is the problem with rent control taken to the extreme: people take advantage of it (I know people paying < 1000 for a 2BR in the Mission, when the original renter doesn’t even live there anymore!). And there’s no money in it for the landlord to fix the building.

Rent-control should take into account inflation, so at least the landlord has the money to take care of the building.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the new owners decide - like so many others in this city - that they don’t want to run the property as a rental anymore. 

You should read the article before commenting, Byestander.

There are 6 people paying $144 each per month, due to a court order regarding the previous landlord’s malfeasance. That means that Ali Alomari and the W-K Market receive $10,368. per year. In addition, SF rent control laws allow for the pass through of expenses for improvements to the tenants. This means that it is entirely possible for Ali Alomari and the W-K Market to work with the tenants to abate the safety issues, if there actually are any. We have no proof of these yet, just the landlord’s attorney’s claim.

Additionally, Ali Alomari and this attorney had access to all of this information regarding the existing 82 year old tenant, his room mates, and the condition of the property before they went forward with this business deal.

If they are forced to profit less than they had hoped, it is no one’s fault but their own, certainly not the 82 year old guy living upstairs, and unfortunately for your libertarian agenda, not the fault of rent control.  

We didn’t make any changes. all of the walls and lofts were built in the 70’s and 80’s with the previous landlords approval.

The landlord would still need to evict to repair all the damage to the building.  That’s assuming these sub-tenants didn’t take the city codes into consideration when performing their “construction” and “electrical work.” The previous owner should have had a better lease to prevent this sort of thing from happening.  He could have made it clear that no sub-tenants were allowed and/or that no modifications to the building were allowed.

If these 5 subtenants really care about their 82 year old roommate (and not just keeping $144 rent in the Mission), then they should scrape together whatever funds they have and get the apartment up to non-fire hazard standards.  The initial sign posting around the Mission implied that just a poor old veteran was getting evicted, which makes the whole thing feel disingenuous upon discovery that his 5 much, much younger roommates were behind the postings.   Maybe the W-K landlords are assholes just trying to drive up rent in the building.  However, based on this article, it seems clear that the subtenants should try being reasonable tenants/friends/roomates before approaching the situation in such a slanderous manner. 

It should be known that Ron and the current landlord have known each other for decades. Ron considered him a friend. No phone call from this guy, just a 3 day notice posted on the front door. Also, we didn’t intend to hide ourselves from this case, what’s important to us is that the neighborhood knows about how this landlord is treating a tenant that’s been here since 1972.

I will support my buddies at wk all the way, and those $144 a month subtenants need to stop abusing the rent control system.

I’m pretty sure most of these are them so far… Lol. Using one of the tenants names was a dead giveaway. Maybe some comments are the tenants too..

It was court ordered. those guys are pretty cool, but their dad doesn’t know what it means to be a landlord in this city.

Both parties are being abused… lose a court battle so you immediately sell off your property to the people who can’t afford to lose their business. This is San Francisco the home of grass roots movements, the tenant rights rule. is this fire hazard farse the last desperate attempted of a corner store that has been pushed into a corner? They own the building now, thanks to their deal with the devil… Should these two parties be at the opposite side of the courtroom? Or both staring down the previous owner?

Its easy to see the business as money hungry because that’s what a business is. No one can assume to know their intentions or financial situation, just like how you can’t assume the tenants are abusing the rent system and using an elderly man as their armor. Personally I like having more artists than liquor stores in San Francisco, but both are preferable to lawyers, bankers, and in general classist (non-racial) gentrification. 

In the end one undeniable truth rules above all else in this issue. You may be jealous of the rent they are paying, but if they weren’t how could this man keep his home. His HOME! An alien idea to urban dwellers but a very old idea to human kind. One that seems to get lost when people live on top of one another, but it’s one tradition that should never lose its value.

Been going to WK market for years and really like those guys. I don’t see them as greedy landlord types at all and believe their version of events.

As for the scum holding an 82-year old man hostage for $144 rent in the Mission, no sympathy here. They’re one step above the “homeless” kids on Haight St.

I don’t understand how you can make those assumptions… but you should know that we’ve been helping Ron every step of the way because we believe that he shouldn’t be treated this way. I moved into this building through Ron. He made the arrangements for me to move in and the previous landlord didn’t take any action upon knowing of my tenacy. 

those guys at the market who are doing all the work are actually really nice people, and I use to love chatting up with them, but this fight is against the father and his lawyer.

So Ron has the right to live for $144/month… but what gives YOU the same right?

SF Law, the subtenants can’t be charged more than their share of the main rent.

Hi Old Mission Neighbor,

Why exactly do you call these people “scum”?  Without their efforts, Ron Wander would have been evicted long ago. Is that okay with you, to evict an 82 year old man from his home?

You say that you’ve “been going to WK market for years ”.  How is it that you don’t know these other people who’ve been your neighbors for years? And if you don’t, why not get off your ass and your keyboard and introduce yourself?  Then, armed with first hand information, you could formulate a rational opinion on facts, rather than name calling and emotional bias which benefits no one and makes you look like an asshole.

Just to clarify: I am not one of the tenants, but I am adamantly opposed to the eviction of elderly people from their homes in San Francisco. Have a nice day.

O.M.N.” is a kook - disregard his bluster. It’s well-know on blogs SF-Wide.

Good to know. It sounded like trolling

Hey I’m one of the tenants! I’ve been living with Ron for the past 3 years. i want to clarify that the flyer was approved by Ron and that he supports our fight against the new landlord and lawyer. Also the only reason why we pay so little is because we found out the previous landlord was illegally raising the rent. Therefore, the court ordered a decrease in rent. Now in regards to the “fire hazards” Isn’t it the landlords responsibility to fix these sorts of problems? We all do our part to make this a safe space, when will they do their part? I guess their answer is to get everyone the fuck out. It really is a shame. These guys were so cool with us all these years. Now daddy and lawyer have money on their mind and will do anything to get Ron out even if it means using scare tactics and abuse.

The 2nd sign (by WK) and this article say that the tenants made significant changes to the unit (albeit over 40 years).  If the tenants have done something to that is technically not up to code, then its not surprising that new landlords would make them change it.  It sucks that new landlords are being dicks about it, but that situation literally could happen anywhere in the united states.  There seems to be some disagreement from Gustavo in the comments to this article though.  The article says the tenants refused to make the changes, which means they had contacts the tenants, while Gustavo made it seem like the were blindsided by the eviction.   If the landlord didn’t give them time to make the changes, then they won’t have a chance in court. 

The only notices we got from the new landlord was one stating that they bought the building and another stating that we had 3 days to remove any alterations decorations or partitions in our unit. All of the changes in the unit were done by Ron, NOT by me or any of the sub tenants. The previous landlord knew this and the guys at the store knew about it years before purchasing the building.

Ron Wander is such a great artist name, interesting to think that artists used to wander these streets at one point in this city’s history

And he may have to again soon.. People are missing the point of this. If every tenant payed double it wouldn’t help Ron. And if they all left it would make things even worse. The only reason we’re hearing about this dispute is because of the kids living there. if Ron was alone in this he’d be in big trouble or maybe with the last landlord that was illegally raising rent still.

For a bunch of artists, they’re “Don’t Support W-K” sign is a bit weak.  I like the panda, though.

I’m totally digging the Mission’s new approach of who gets to live here: the “trial by flyer-inspired mob” system.

hell yeah brother!

The old landlord, Jim Khorge, was a Class A SOB and owns a lot of property in that area.  Some info on him here:


I knew people that dealt with hell at the 24th & Folsom building and also around the corner on Shotwell (stuffing dog shit in the drain, running power tools off a tenant’s electricity while renovating another unit, destruction of private property, etc). 

skeeto, i think you may be mistaken. our previous landlord was Arlene Hylton, who inherited it from her Father , Rudy Feil. 

My mistake.  I was thinking of the building directly across Folsom.

As someone who has a few contributions to “the arts” under his belt, but who has also realized he has to function in the world (like many other people I know), I’m a little irritated when folks complain that “artists” are being forced out of SF, destroying our cultural well-being and soul, when their “art” involves things like affixing a stuffed animal to a sign. Quirk and art are not equivalents.

here! here!

Hi GrizzledMission,

How did you come to the your conclusion regarding the art produced by 82 year old Ron Wander and the 5 other tenants described in the above article? Since I do not know them, and have had very little exposure to their art, I’d be very interested in your knowledge of what these people do. I’m sure other readers would also benefit from your description of the art produced by these 6 people that has informed your broad and dismissive opinion.

If you just looked at one of the above photos and commenced to barking out of your ass, well that’s okay too!


being a troll isn’t contribution to the arts

Oh I get it, so we should have an artist’s quality of work determine their right to stay in SF.  We wouldn’t want to have any of those pesky developing artists here, just the accomplished ones.

A longtime, family run, small business, in order to protect themselves from eviction, scrapes together money and debt to buy property. And now they have to subsidize “artists” paying only $144/month rent? Are the new owners allowed to raise the rent to account for the higher property taxes and debt service?

No, they are not. But, presumably, they knew that when they made the purchase.

when i moved in, i had no idea i’d be paying such a low amount. this was court ordered. i think you are missing the point of all of this. we are here now to help Ron with this eviction process. he needs our help.the new owners should be able to raise it to market value but NOT in the condition it’s in now. they have to make a numerous amount of repairs before anything can change.

That W-K Market sign could sure use a refresh.

full disclousure: i live here. Im somewhat surprised at a lot of these radical assumptions being made. Its infuriating to hear these people say that im holding my friend “hostage.” How dare you. The amount of money that we pay (and have saved ron) in rent has absolutely nothing to do with the eviction, unless of course the new landlords are upset that its so low… hmm. While highly illegal, that may actually be the case. No mention of the $30,000 that we fought to get back to ron (and only ron) after he was scammed by the previous landlord for decades, or the hours of time and effort we put in to respond to this unlawful eviction or get ron to his appointments. After living in this house for over 5 years (paying $1400 a month for the majority of that), the most concerning part of it all is that we may be losing our home. you can have your opinions, but you look like an asshat steeped in ignorance.

Sorry, I dont mean to be rude, its just so frustrating reading some of this

The amount of money that we pay (and have saved ron) in rent…

Jeezus.  He’s already paying $144/month! How much money could you have saved him, even if you paid the entire rent? $144/month??  Wow, that’s very impressive, Mr. Moneybags! No, no … go ahead, take a bow.

If you’re going to be such a brat, you might read the whole comment so that you at least sound like you know what is going on.

Okay, I didn’t see this comment from Byestander before answering his bullshit in my above comment. Obviously this guy is a troll. In all likelihood the same troll posting the same sort of obtuse crap under several names all over this page.

Totally with the new owner on this. Fires are no laughing matter and electrics upgrades on decades old buildings are very expensive. Whats up with this young people trying to justify an owner supporting their minuscule rent in a fire hazard?  And that poor old man. The only victims here are Ron and the WK people.

All these people need to STOP trolling around and acting like you know the relationship between an elderly man and his YOUNG tenants. 3 DAYS NOTICE??? 3 DAYS NOTICE!!!  It is evident that they do not want rent controlled tenants there. They want money, MONEY!! Just because you go into a corner store and they are nice to YOU does not mean they aren’t interested in making more money from the NEW SAN FRANCISCO

It’s easy to point fingers but who here in this forum has ever been in a similar situation to the new owner?

Many of these commenters did not read this article so Im not sure why they are even posting. THE TENANTS ARE PAYING LOW RENT THAT WAS IMPOSED BY THE COURTS. THEY HAVE NO SAY OR CHOICE AS TO HOW MUCH THEY PAY. THE COURTS DECIDED THAT. So stop talking about these tenants screwing over this old man by paying only $144.  Thats not the situation and to misunderstand that misses the whole point to the article. Giving an 82 year old man 3 days to fix 40 years worth of problems or face eviction is cruel and terrible. If its true what the landlord says, and they just dont want the apartment to be a fire hazard, they could give the guy a reasonable amount of time to comply not 3 days. Thats just immoral. And the guys who bought the building clearly knew the situation before they made the decision, with all details clear, to buy the place. 

I think the tenants are being crucified by the Ignorant.