The Uber executive who made headlines last month after suggesting the company investigate journalists is locked in a bitter struggle with the landlord of his $9,500-a-month San Francisco condominium. Their dispute, much of which is laid out in court records, reveals the take-no-prisoners style of the executive, SVP of business Emil Michael, at a company known for its aggressiveness. At one point last year, Michael went to court to try to get a restraining order on his landlord, tech industry lawyer John Danforth.
The dispute between Michael and his landlord centers on a 2,000 square foot Pacific Heights condo overlooking Alta Plaza Park, for which Michael signed a $9,500 lease in June 2012 (the rent has since been raised to $13,335). The three bedroom, two bathroom condo was renovated in 2008 and boasts luxury finishes, a parking space, a balcony, and access to a landscaped private garden complete with a remote-control hot tub.
According to extensive court documents obtained by BuzzFeed News from the San Francisco Superior Court, Michael’s relationship with his landlord began to sour in June of last year: when Michael made a run-of-the-mill request that Danforth repair the bathroom. But it quickly heated up. When Danforth entered the apartment to make the repair, he discovered that Michael had painted the walls after denying him permission, allegedly a violation of the lease. Danforth also walked to the apartment’s balcony to look down at the garden and at a repair that had been previously made to the hot tub. Michael took issue with the visit, and said Danforth had on occasion entered areas where repairs weren’t necessary, including his bedroom.
In San Francisco’s tight and pricey real estate market, such disputes are not uncommon. But six days later, Michael filed a petition in San Francisco Superior Court for a restraining order against Danforth, the sort of order people seek when they are being stalked or fear physical harm. “I am under constant emotional duress that a stranger can enter my apartment without notice requiring me to defend myself posing constant fear and a dangerous situation,” Michael wrote. “Also, the landlord is invading my privacy and ruining my relationship with my significant other.” Danforth responded to the petition on September 24th, calling Michael’s statements “demonstrably false.” Read more…