Anne Kihagi, the San Francisco landlord who owes millions of dollars to the city after being convicted of a menagerie of abuses toward the tenants of the 50 rent controlled apartments she owns in SF, avoided jail time this week by paying City Hall nearly $125,000.
The San Francisco City Attorney’s Office wants Kihagi to forfeit the rents on her properties as a way to start whittling down the $5.5 million she owes.
But Kihagi—appealing her 2017 court loss and in the process of coming up with a multimillion dollar bond that would allow her to keep collecting rents during appeals—opted not to pay the city.
Last week, Judge Lynn Malley O’Taylor (a different judge than the one who ruled against Kihagi in the city’s case against her, for the record) found Kihagi in contempt for her non-payment, but gave her a week to turn over the cash before facing jail time.
Kihagi’s lawyer Isaac Zfaty told Curbed SF that the troublesome landlord might try to appeal that decision as well, but Mission Local reported that, in the end, she opted to pay. The city confirmed Thursday that the check cleared, thus narrowly meeting her deadline.
So high-profile are Kihagi’s big-money court losses and villainous reputation in California that she’s made news as far away as her native Kenya. Nairobi News referred to her as “monster Kenyan landlord Anne Kihagi” in a headline last week. In 2017, readers of Mwakilishi.com, a site dedicated to news about Kenyan immigrants, heaped abuse on her after her court loss.
Zfaty contends that Kihagi is the victim of smears by disgruntled tenants. He says that evidence, which he was unable to present at trial, would have painted her in a more favorable light.
Kihagi has faced jail time before when, in 2017, a Los Angeles judge sentenced her to five days’ incarceration owing to abuses at some of her Southern California properties.
Mission Local notes that she now has just a few days to come up with a bond sum larger than the $4.1 million she already posted if she wants to avoid further payments to the city.