Herrera sues defiant auto shop and landlord for code violations, illegal business practices

Flouting repeated notices and orders, Brother’s Auto Body owner ‘found new laws to violate, and new ways to victimize neighbors and tenants’

SAN FRANCISCO (Dec. 6, 2012) –City Attorney Dennis Herrera today filed suit against a scofflaw business owner and landlord for an astonishing array of legal violations and public nuisances that center on the operation of Brother’s Auto Body, an illegal and unlicensed automotive repair shop in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood.

According to the complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning, Raul Amilcar Vasquez, owner of the property at 1270 Thomas Avenue, has for years operated the automotive repair business without requisite permits and in defiance of multiple notices of violation and orders of abatement from city inspectors. But rather than addressing known violations over the years, Vasquez aggressively pursued new ones — expanding his lawless enterprise to include unpermitted construction, assorted public nuisances, and illegally leasing unsafe and uninspected residential housing units to tenants. Herrera’s 177-page pleading documents numerous disputes between Vasquez and City agencies that include the Department of Building Inspection, Planning Department, Department of Parking and Traffic, Police Department and Fire Department.

“Brother’s Auto Body is a scofflaw enterprise that was extended every reasonable opportunity to address its legal violations, and to begin operating as a good neighbor and good corporate citizen,” said Herrera. “Instead, its owner, Raul Vasquez, found new laws to violate, and new ways to victimize neighbors and tenants. Now, he’s poised to pay the price for it. Today’s litigation signifies the end of the City’s patience, and a get-tough approach by my office that seeks to halt the lawlessness and compensate the City for its efforts, or to shutter this public nuisance once and for all. As always on cases such as these, I’m very grateful to my client departments, including the Department of Building Inspection, Planning Department, Police Department and Fire Department. Their assistance has been instrumental in helping us build the strong case we’re filing today.”

Herrera’s litigation details multiple violations by the defendant of San Francisco’s Housing Code, Building Code and Planning Code; and California’s State Housing Law, General Public Nuisance Statute, and Unfair Competition Law. If successful, the action could result in civil penalties of $1000 per day for each Housing Code violation; $500 per day for each Building Code violation; $2,500 for each act of unfair and unlawful competition; an additional $2,500 for each act of unfair and unlawful competition against elderly or disabled persons; disgorgement of all profits obtained through unlawful business practices; and attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses. Injunctive relief could additionally include a court order to pay relocation costs to tenants, and to abate all violations and public nuisances.

The case is: City and County of San Francisco and People of the State of California v. Raul Amilcar Vasquez d/b/a Brother’s Auto Body Shop et al., San Francisco Superior Court, filed Dec. 6, 2012.

Related Documents:

PDF icon PDF of the Brothers autoshop presskit (Dec. 6, 2012)