The inevitable has happened!
One of the many lawsuits against the City of Santa Clara has been reversed.
Not surprising, the decision favors plaintiff David Ebrahimi of David’s Restaurant.
More than 20 years ago, Ebrahimi moved from his stylish little restaurant on the El Camino to the outlands of Santa Clara on the municipal golf course. His new location was surrounded by a golf shop, empty dirt lots and mostly…opportunity.
He struggled through marginal growth and a couple of recessions until Levi’s Stadium was approved by voters in 2010.
Following the election of a new Council in 2016, the stadium had been built, companies were moving into the stadium area and business for David’s was beginning to boom.
However, the new Council had cut a deal with Related Companies for a 5-billion-dollar development to cover the 240 acres of our golf course including David’s Restaurant.
With that in mind, the Mayor and Council did not renew David’s Restaurant lease. However, they extended American Golf’s lease, right next door, to manage the golf course until Related Companies development started construction.
You would think they would offer similar terms to David.
Even though he paid his rent for the last month and the City kept it, David moved out of his restaurant. He was forced to move his furniture and equipment into the banquet facility he operated on the same property, a hundred feet or so to the east.
At his banquet facility he had 11 years left on this lease with the City.
Santa Clara Council then decided they wanted David out totally.
For the first time in Santa Clara history, they voted the use of eminent domain to obtain his banquet facility. Adding insult to this astonishing move, the Council offered him a paltry $5,000 to leave.
No doubt, common sense and reasonable negotiations would dictate a more palatable solution. Yet, this Council chose to be Machiavellian with their “might makes right” approach.
Ebrahimi tried reason, and, as many have discovered, you cannot be reasonable with an unreasonable council.
That is why we have courts.
Ebrahimi went to court with step one. He felt this Council was capricious in their decision to evict him from his restaurant. He felt this decision was not consistent with the Council’s action to extend golf course operations right next door and make him move. The City kept the golf course managers and his restaurant has sat empty for almost two years.
The appeals court found in his favor.
Now this Council will use taxpayer money (our money) to make Ebrahimi whole.
Step two will most certainly be taken by Ebrahimi…soon.
The embarrassment of this Council by using eminent domain was just another bad decision that could have been avoided. Most likely the courts will decide how much will be awarded to Ebrahimi as a result of this Council’s heavy hand in mishandling his facility lease.
Another wrong made right? Perhaps, but how many wrongs can we afford?
To date, the Related Companies have yet to put a shovel in the ground.