Patch reported Wednesday that surviving Pete's Harbor owner Paula Uccelli and her attorney Ted Hannig delivered checks totaling $409,253.24 to the State Lands Commission (SLC) this week to settle nearly 28 years of back rent owed on the outer harbor, which is owned by the SLC and leased to Uccelli.
In a multiple-page letter accompanying the payment, Hannig said Uccelli was sending the funds "in protest" because, in essence, the state is forcing "a 70-year-old widow" to pay roughly "20 times more" than she should owe, or face losing her lease - which could lose Uccelli her home as well.
Hannig says, legally, a landlord such as the state cannot demand more than four years' worth of back rent from a tenant, which is why he calls the $409,253.24 payment an "unjust overpayment."
State confirms payment, declines comment on status of leases
Shelli Haaf, an attorney for the SLC, confirmed to Patch Wednesday that the state did indeed receive the two checks for the full amount from Uccelli and Hannig on Monday, Jan. 7.
However, Haaf avoided answering Patch's question of whether or not - now that payments have been tendered - the outer harbor leases would or could be transferred to developer Pauls Corporation, which Uccelli is trying to sell the whole of Pete's Harbor to, so Pauls can build a 411-unit luxury waterfront community.
However, Adam Alberti, a spokesperson for Uccelli and Pete's Harbor, told Patch Wednesday that, now that the funds have been paid, "the leases are, and always have been, in full force," and that "the leases are completely transferrable."
Pete's Harbor tenants attempt to file restraining order against eviction
On Wednesday at 2 p.m., several tenants of Pete's Harbor and the group Save Pete's Harbor 2012 appeared before San Mateo County Court Judge George A. Miram to ask for a TRO, or temporary restraining order, against being evicted from Pete's Harbor, as Uccelli recently served all tenants and businesses with notices to vacate the premises by Jan. 15, next week.
The TRO was not granted, but Pete's Harbor tenant and lawyer Alison Madden told Patch Wednesday evening that the tenants may go back and attempt to get the TRO again before their eviction date next week.
The group's basis for their argument was rooted in their theory that the 1983 law enacted to grant the Marina lease was unconstitutional.
When asked if tenants have been speaking with members of the SLC to plead their case or request to take over the outer harbor lease, Madden said yes.
She added that Uccelli's attorney Ted Hannig's claims that the ex parte communication between the SLC and the tenants is inappropiate, and possibly even "unlawful interference," is untrue.
"These are public trust lands, so this matter is in the public interest," she said.
What happens now?
The appeal of the Planning Commission's approval of the Pauls Corporation development will be heard at City Hall on Jan. 28.
If the appeal is not granted, Pete's Harbor spokesperson Adam Alberti told Patch the next step will be for the SLC to decide whether or not to transfer the leases on the outer harbor to Pauls Corporation, which he is confident will happen.
Alberti said he and Hannig have been told that can only happen during a regularly scheduled meeting of the Commission. It appears the next meeting may take place sometime in April.
Stay informed on the latest news from your local neighborhood - follow Patch!
Sign up for Redwood City-Woodside Patch’s daily newsletter
"Like” us on Facebook
"Follow” us on Twitter
Want to share your opinions with the communities of Redwood City and Woodside? Start your own blog here.