RICHMOND, Calif. (KTVU) - The Mayor of Richmond is trying to stop the eviction of an iconic waterfront restaurant.
The property owner claims the building is a health hazard due to a sewage leak, but city leaders say it’s an act of retaliation.
Mayor Tom Butt is stepping in to keep the doors open at Salute E Vita Ristorante . Butt says he's standing up for the popular owner who's been caught in the middle of a political fight.
The restaurant's owner, Menbere Aklilu, has been given a 30 day notice to vacate the property.
Butt believes the property owner, Richard Poe, is doing this in retaliation. Butt believes Poe is angry with city officials who blocked his plans for a housing development along the waterfront.
According to a news release from the city, "It is believed that this action by the Poe family is driven by spite and may be a retaliation against the City of Richmond and community members for the June election on Measures N and O, which Richard Poe lost."
Poe also failed to pass two June ballot measures - one of which would have reduced the city manager's compensation.
Salute E Vita Ristorante is known for giving back. According to the city, "Menbere opened Salute e Vita Ristorante at Marina Bay following a period of abuse and homelessness that eventually brought her from Ethiopia to Richmond." She hosts an annual Thanksgiving dinner which serves more than 1,500 homeless people, among other charitable events.
She has owned the restaurant for 20 years. There are only 26 days left on her lease.
A Facebook page has been created in support of Menbere Aklilu