Dog Bites

Lien on Frank
Frank Jordan and Wendy Paskin have turned their Fillmore Street house into a dream home. But for some of the jobsite's contractors, the project was a nightmare -- they still haven't been paid.

The First Couple of San Francisco had two liens filed on their 2529 Fillmore residence for nonpayment of bills. An active lien on a property prevents it from being sold, borrowed against or transferred.

One of the liens, filed against the Jordans by their drywall subcontractor, DDR Inc., for $6,287.50, was listed in January and released April 17. A payment of $6,200 released the lien.

The other lien, filed by David Bastidas of Union Bay Painting and Decorating, a union shop in Daly City, is still active. The amount: $9,902.50.

Bastidas places some of the blame on fickle interior designers. "Each interior designer changed colors," he says. "I said, 'Well, who's going to pay for all this extra work and everything?' And they said, `Don't worry, we'll take care of it.' "

After painting three interior floors and talking to Wendy Paskin about painting the outside, Bastidas says, the couple's new general contractor told him his work was of poor quality and that he would not be paid: "He picked everybody's work apart and whatever money they owed them he wanted them to pay less."

At that point, Bastidas says, the Jordans owed $13,000 and the contractor offered Bastidas $5,000 to settle the dispute. Bastidas offered to drop $4,000 off his bill to adjust for unfinished work.

"I was trying to be fair with him," Bastidas says. "When I met [the general contractor] again, he said, 'I'm not going to pay nothing.' "

Bastidas adds that Paskin asked him to hire First Son, Frank Jordan Jr., to work on the paint job. Bastidas balked, as Frank Jr. is not a member of the painters' union and union rules don't allow hiring non-union members on jobs. "Things just fell apart at that point," Bastidas says.

"I was thinking maybe if I'm not going to make no money on this job, I'll get a good reference," Bastidas says. "At first I was kind of hesitant to put a lien on the property but I don't give a shit no more."

Judging Rothschild
The Republicans' unstoppable roll makes it critical for Democrats to draw in new voters. But don't tell that to San Francisco's Democratic Party chair, Matthew Rothschild, who is too busy running for municipal court judge to give a damn -- or so it seems.

Facing a $6,000 shortfall in the party's coffers, the longtime Democratic Party activist and deputy city attorney closed party offices until mid-June, sent the party's executive director on unpaid leave and suspended voter registration efforts, normally carried out year-round.

Rothschild stressed his fundraising prowess when he ran for the party position. But as one party insider points out, if Rothschild, or "the judge" as his colleagues in the city attorney's office derisively refer to him, tapped local moneygivers for voter registration, he'd have a harder time asking them to donate to his municipal judge race.

Part of the local party's financial problems are caused by the state party, which no longer pays a bounty for each registered voter. But Rothschild also decided to expend $23,000 to rent a posh Fox Plaza office for the United Democratic Campaign Headquarters last November. Why Fox Plaza? Some say it appealed to Rothschild because his own city attorney digs are one floor upstairs. How convenient.

Rothschild did not return repeated calls placed to his home and his office.
Ellen McGarrahan, George Cothran

 
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