Herlihy was taken to the hospital, Gittens says, though the police report contains no information about the extent of her injuries. Getzow retreated to a nearby crepe restaurant, where he was still in such an agitated state when the police arrived that it took several officers to restrain him, the report says. On July 25, Getzow entered a plea of not guilty to two felony assault charges and one misdemeanor assault charge.

After Getzow had waited for half an hour outside the courthouse conference room, his attorney finally emerged. While it is unknown what tenant and landlord settled on, this much is clear: Up until that point, Getzow had lived for seven months in his apartment without paying rent, and ten days later, he finally moved out of O'Reilly's building.


Getzow is getting pretty well known along the Polk Street corridor. Unlike other serial evictees, who move among different neighborhoods, all of his eight evictions in San Francisco have occurred in a 20-block area known as Lower Nob Hill. It includes lower Polk Street between California and McAllister, where a mishmash of businesses seem to defy traditional neighborhood classification. There are a lot of marginal residence hotels and older apartment buildings whose managers ask few questions of prospective tenants. It's a place where someone like Getzow can blend into the social spectrum that includes young professionals walking briskly between the upscale restaurants and wine bars, old bohemians sipping cappuccinos at cafes, and teenage street hustlers trolling the street for tricks.

Getzow tries to conceal himself as he moves out after his most recent eviction.
Jared Greunwald
Getzow tries to conceal himself as he moves out after his most recent eviction.
Getzow leaving the courthouse 
after a hearing on his assault charges.
Roscoe Lydell
Getzow leaving the courthouse after a hearing on his assault charges.

Lynne Hubbard, the rental agent who screened Getzow, says the problems he caused put a heavy strain on her dealings with O'Reilly, and they eventually severed their business relationship. Hubbard has seen Getzow walking along Polk, and heard that he moved into another building nearby. "Why does he have to stay in this neighborhood?" Hubbard says as she watches the bustling foot traffic from the Crepe House restaurant. "He's ripped off so many people here, and he continues to eat and drink and hang out in this neighborhood. And we have to watch him."

Babcock, who got to know Getzow fairly well while they lived in the same building, says Getzow has a lot of potential, and it's a shame that it goes to waste. "If he just put the same energy into a profession that he puts into not paying rent and spending time in court, he would probably be a very successful man," he says.

On a windy afternoon in late May, Getzow was moving his belongings out of his room above the Holy Grail. O'Reilly stood stone-faced at the corner, watching the man who cost him thousands of dollars in lost rent and legal fees load his possessions into a vehicle. He was overheard telling one of his employees in a heavy Irish brogue, "I'm just glad to be rid of the bastard."

A couple of other residents couldn't help but laugh when they recognized the man helping Getzow as the manager of a small apartment building at 1470 California, just a few blocks away. "He's a real operator," one of them says. "I feel sorry for his new landlord. He's going to find out soon enough."

E-mail the writer to discuss the story: John.Geluardi@SFWeekly.com.

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