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Friday, January 15, 2016

Bayview Pastor Evicted and Arrested During Latest Standoff With Sheriff's Department [Updated]

Posted By on Fri, Jan 15, 2016 at 10:56 AM

click to enlarge Pastor Yul Dorn - GABRIELLE LURIE
  • Gabrielle Lurie
  • Pastor Yul Dorn
Pastor Yul Dorn, a Bayview resident who stubbornly resisted the foreclosure of his house for almost seven years, was finally and ultimately evicted yesterday morning. On top of that, Dorn was also arrested after he refused to vacate his home, along with three supporters who tried to hinder the eviction when sheriff’s deputies arrived at about 8:30 a.m.

Sheriff’s Department Chief of Staff Eileen Hurts says Dorn was charged with three misdemeanors, including failure to obey a court order and trespass. The activists were also charged with trespass and failure to disperse.

“They were sitting in the property and refusing to leave,” she explains. “It was very passive, and non-violent.”

Dorn was released after about eight hours. He and his family, including his adult daughter and her 8-month-old son, are holed up at a hotel right now. All of their possessions are still back at the house on Las Villas Court (“I didn’t even have time to grab a toothbrush,” Dorn says), but the locks have been changed.

The 58-year-old pastor (Dorn is actually the sheriff’s department chaplain) and social worker sounded like he was in a mild state of shock when reached by phone this morning. Although the house — Dorn’s home for 20 years — was sold on the open market six months ago, he’d remained confident that he would somehow find a way to stay.

“We were supposed to be negotiating to buy it back,” he says. “We knew this could happen any day, but it was still a surprise.”

Dorn had previously been given notices to vacate on Jan. 5 and 13, but on both occasions deputies simply didn’t show up when expected. The house’s present owner is Quan He, a 49-year-old, unemployed software engineer from San Jose. Although Dorn says he now believes He has no intention of selling, He insists he’s still open to working with ACCE, the anti-eviction group negotiating on Dorn’s behalf.

Dorn supporters call He a speculator who doesn’t care about the good of the neighborhood. He paints himself as someone just trying to make ends meet and accuses activists of bullying him. “Don’t make me out to be the villain,” He said over the phone. “All I did was buy a house on the open market, knowing nothing about its background or the people living there.”

He, who immigrated from China in 1992, says he lost his job at a San Jose software company in April and took loans to buy the house in hopes of moving to San Francisco and finding a startup job. The property was last assessed at $135,000, but He paid more than $480,000. He says he can’t afford to sell it at a loss. “It’s a sad story for Mr. Dorn, but for me too. I also have a family.”

ACCE activists are planning a demonstration at the Chase bank at 560 Mission Street at 11 a.m. today. Dorn has always said that Chase, who held the mortgages on both of his properties (his second house, inherited from his in-laws, is set to be sold in February), is the one to blame for his straits, alleging that they refused to properly credit his 2008 payments and forced him into delinquency. The bank has declined to comment, citing (perhaps ironically) Dorn’s privacy.

Neither Dorn nor his family will be on hand for that demonstration. “I just don’t have it in me,” he says. His plan now is to try to have the eviction reversed, but he doesn’t have the money for a lawyer and asked anyone willing to take up the matter to contact ACCE.

“For now, I’m just trying to keep my family together,” he says.

Update, 1/15/16, 4:00 p.m.: After briefly picketing a Chase bank, about 20 demonstrators from ACCE and Occupy staged a sit-in at the downtown San Francisco office of Quan He's attorney, Andres Sanchez, demanding that Sanchez reopen negotiations to sell the Las Villas Court house back to Dorn. Sanchez wouldn't come out, however. He didn't return calls for comment either.

After two and a half hours, a dozen SFPD officers arrived for the most chill dispersal of an illegal public gathering in city history. Sergeant Rich Jones introduced himself and jauntily announced he'd be the one arresting everybody (myself included). But after about a minute of wrangling, officers agreed to simply detain and release the protesters, as long as they promised not to come back.

While his colleagues filled out paperwork, Jones made small talk with everybody. "I was born to be a cop, as soon as I figured out I didn't have the money for medical school." He helped Jean Yaste, a 32-year-old musician who was previously detained at the mayor's inauguration last Friday, sign up for, and they debated whether SFPD's motto — "Gold in Peace, Iron in war" — sounds fascist.

"It's a little fascist," Jones conceded. "But I didn't write it."

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