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More Millennium Tower residents sue developer, city

One Yerba Buena building threatens to keep San Francisco attorneys employed through the next Millennium

Photo by Patricia Chang

Following November’s lawsuit, 20 tower residents led by Jerry Dodson, a former government litigator who also happens to live in the offending building, launched yet another suit against both the city and building developer Millennium Partners.

The complaint alleges that both Millennium Partners and the Department of Building Inspection knew as early as 2009 that the tower had problems but “failed to disclose that Millennium Tower had sunk by 8.3 inches” and thus warn buyers.

Note that Dodson and other residents were already suing most of these same parties since November, but this is a different action. Apparently there’s more than enough liability to go around in something like this. While much of the other legal brouhaha around the building concerns itself with placing blame on the sinkage, this legal volley rests on the old “What did people know and when did they know it” question.

In February 2009, DBI’s deputy director Raymond Lui sent an email to tower engineers spelling it out: “There have been larger than expected settlements.”

That’s not quite a smoking gun in itself. The letter only proves that roughly half a dozen people knew that something was wrong, but not necessarily to what degree.

And it doesn’t implicate the many other parties named in the suit, including the building’s homeowner association, the Transbay Joint Powers, or the City Attorney.

Despite all of the bad press, the Millennium Tower’s penthouse sold a few weeks ago for a staggering $13 million.

But whereas in the first seven months of 2016—before the news of it foundation woes leaked to the public—the building averaged nearly two unit sales a month. After, it managed only two sales for the rest of the year.