92-year-old Oakland woman fights eviction by wealthy Danville man

by Lynda Carson

Oakland – At 92 years of age, Katherine Smith of 993 54th St. is a frail elderly woman who lives alone in North Oakland, in a house that currently does not have any hot water. She is struggling against an eviction by a wealthy Danville man named Robert Rasheed, who is trying to evict her from her long-time home onto the cold, mean streets of Oakland.

Stop-foreclosures-evictions-Minneapolis-061309, 92-year-old Oakland woman fights eviction by wealthy Danville man, Local News & Views The eviction case goes to trial in a few weeks, and Smith is being defended by the Eviction Defense Center of Oakland. Her defense team says Rasheed accused her of having an unauthorized occupant in her home, a caregiver.

As for Robert Rasheed, he has hired an attorney named Thomas Matthews, of Merrill, Nomura & Molineux, a law firm in Danville, to evict Katherine Smith from her long time home.

“I am 92 years old and have lived around here for nearly 50 years, but life is hard for me now ever since my husband passed away and the house went into foreclosure. The house was bought by Robert Rasheed and his company, Dover Investments, LLC,” said Katherine Smith, originally from Dallas, Texas.

“Since Rasheed has taken over, often there is no hot water anymore, and there was a period that there was no hot water for around six whole months, and now Rasheed wants to charge me to light the pilot light for the hot water heater every time it goes out. I live in the bottom half of the house, and Rasheed has some students living above me now.

“I only have social security to live on and cannot possibly afford to pay Rasheed to light the pilot light every time it goes out, so that I can have hot water again. Rasheed wants to evict me, and he is making life very hard for me. This is the second time that he is trying to evict me, and now I am so worried that I can barely sleep at night any more.

“Already he has destroyed my garden and removed a lot of my stuff from the garage that I need. At least my health is still good, though I am a bit crippled, and thankfully my grandson stops by to help me out.

“But Rasheed keeps asking me if my grandson stays here, and Rasheed keeps telling me that no one can stay with me to help me out as my caregiver. Now that I am 92, Rasheed knows that I need help to survive, and he keeps trying to make life very hard on me. I never believed that I would ever get this old. I do not want to be evicted, and I am very worried. I want to remain where I am at,” she said.

According to public records, 993 54th St. in Oakland was sold at a foreclosure auction for $257,400 on Dec. 1, 2010, and during October 2010 its assessed value was listed at $374,500. SF.Blockshopper lists Dover Investment as the new owner.

During the afternoon of Oct. 29, Robert Rasheed of Dover Investments in Danville denied ever knowing a Katherine Smith at 993 54th St. in Oakland, saying he did not know what I was talking about when I asked him directly why he was evicting the frail elderly, frightened woman from her long-time home.

Suddenly, in an apparent state of panic, Rasheed completely changed his story: “We are not evicting her. I would not evict an old woman from her home. We are just trying to get a resolution. I think that you are harassing me. Please do not ever call me at my home again,” said Rasheed.

According to a January 2010 New York Times article, Robert Rasheed and his wife Hanan of Danville in Contra Costa County are Palestinians born and raised in the West Bank, with one daughter on the Princeton women’s basketball team and another daughter with the Palestinian diplomatic corps at the United Nations.

Rochelle Owens of Oakland, Katherine Smith’s granddaughter, said: “Grandma was supposed to live in that house until she died, according to the wishes of her husband when he passed away. The house ended up with grandma’s stepson after her husband passed away, and it was her grandson who lost the house in foreclosure, but grandma is still entitled to remain in the house.

“Robert Rasheed of Dover Investments has been harassing my grandma ever since he bought the property, and this is the second time that he is trying to evict her. My grandma is very weak, very old, and can barely walk now. This is cruel. They threw out much of her stuff, destroyed her garden and have been depriving her of hot water as a way to force her out of her home. My grandma wants to stay at home and needs her own space to stay in,” said Ms. Owens.

Katherine Smith’s eviction case goes to trial in a few weeks, and she is being defended by the Eviction Defense Center of Oakland.

Rochelle Owens may be reached at (510) 692-5775. The Eviction Defense Center may be reached at (510) 452-4541.

Robert Rasheed’s number is (925) 383-4567, and his attorney, Thomas Matthews’, is (925) 833-1000.

Lynda Carson may be reached at tenantsrule@yahoo.com.