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Wealthy San Francisco Residents Upset After Street Sold At Auction


SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Residents of an exclusive San Francisco neighborhood are unhappy about a real estate deal that could lead to them having to pay to park on their own street.

KCBS and Chronicle Insider Phil Matier reports in Monday's Matier and Ross column that Presidio Terrace has been sold at auction to a San Jose real estate couple for $90,000.

Tina Lam And Michael Cheng are is now the proud owners of  one the most exclusive streets in San Francisco.

"I cannot afford a mansion here, but if I can own a street, I'm happy to own a street," said Lam. "First-generation immigrant here. I came here with just one suitcase."

And while it is a dream come true for the young couple, it could be a nightmare for the home owners who paid millions for their houses.

Thanks to 30 years of the homeowners association's tax bill going to the wrong address, the street and sidewalks all wound up on the San Francisco Treasurer's internet tax auction.

"It's very, very rare that anything that goes on the block is of real value," said Amanda Fried of the San Francisco Treasurer's office.

The block-long private street is lined with mansions and has been home to people like Sen. Dianne Feinstein, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and the late Mayor Joseph Alioto.

The couple is looking for ways to monetize their purchase.

When asked if they planned to sell the street back to the home owners, Lam replied, "I don't really want to. I'm not trying to make money on anything."

One possible idea is to charge residents to park on the street.

When asked if that was a possibility, Lam said, "We can talk about that, certainly. Because they are now parking on my land."

Shocked homeowners are calling on the Board of Supervisors to negate the sale.

"Rich people don't like to talk. They just want to use their money to sue everybody," said Lam.

When asked if the Board of Supervisors could negate it, Fried replied, "That's a question for the Board of Supervisors. The sales are absolutely valid."

For her part, Lam was not concerned about the legitimacy of the deal.

"I'm pretty sure that the law is clear on my ownership, so I am comfortable that we will prevail," said Lam.

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for October.

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