Eviction attorney Charles Ramsey wants to be Richmond’s next mayor

by Lynda Carson

Eviction attorney Charles Tillman Ramsey is in the race to be Richmond’s next mayor. Competing candidates include Mike Parker of the Richmond Progressive Alliance (RPA), City Councilman Nat Bates, and Uche Uwahemu, CEO of Cal Bay Consulting Group LLC. Voters will choose when they go to the polls in November for the next general election.

Berkeley public housing residents protested for years but were finally evicted or threatened with eviction by Charles Ramsey until they left “voluntarily.” – Photo: Alexander Ritchie
Berkeley public housing residents protested for years but were finally evicted or threatened with eviction by Charles Ramsey until they left “voluntarily.” – Photo: Alexander Ritchie

At age 52, after being a board member for the past 21 years with the West Contra Costa Unified School District (WCCUSD), Charles Ramsey decided that he wants to be the next mayor of Richmond. He presently is the board president of the WCCUSD.

A Contra Costa Times article dated July 9, 2013, reports: “First elected to the school board in 1993, Ramsey was re-elected in 1997 despite pleading no contest to a 1995 charge that he solicited an undercover officer posing as a prostitute in Oakland. The incident was expunged from his record in 2001. He unsuccessfully sought a state Assembly seat in 2002.”

In addition to his activities with the WCCUSD for the past 21 years, Ramsey has his own law firm located in Oakland at 3640 Grand Ave., where he makes a living by providing eviction legal services to a number of local housing authorities and numerous so-called nonprofit housing developers.

Eviction attorney Charles Tillman Ramsey is in the race to be Richmond’s next mayor.

Ramsey also runs his political campaign from his office on Grand Avenue. According to documents, his campaign treasurer is Paula Blackwell.

For many years Ramsey has made a comfortable living by threatening low-income tenants with eviction or sanctions. Evicting the poor, elderly and disabled from their housing has become a way of life for Ramsey.

According to public records with the Berkeley Housing Authority (BHA), in recent years Ramsey has provided eviction legal services for the BHA and has evicted a number of Berkeley’s low-income public housing residents as a result. His contract with the BHA began during March of 2009 and costs averaged $2,400 per month for the first two years of the contract.

Records reveal that his contract with the BHA has been amended at least two times since March 2009, extending the term through June 30, 2012, for a total not to exceed $113,000. Additionally, a July 12, 2012, status report from the BHA reveals that Ramsey was awarded another contract for eviction legal services at the BHA.

Ramsey has his own law firm where he makes a living by providing eviction legal services to a number of local housing authorities and numerous so-called nonprofit housing developers.

The BHA has recently privatized and sold its 75 public housing townhomes to out-of-state billionaires Jorge M. Perez and Stephen M. Ross of the Related Companies, and Ramsey’s eviction legal services may currently no longer be needed by the BHA. Transfer of ownership of Berkeley’s public housing units to billionaires Perez and Ross occurred as recently as Feb. 14, 2014.

Additional public records reveal that from June 2002 to July 2005, the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) paid $506,664 to the Law Office of Charles Ramsey for eviction legal services, and during this same period the OHA was paying Ramsey $200 per hour. As a result of an audit by a regional inspector general, the OHA decided to use a competitive procurement process for the eviction legal services it sought, which led to Ramsey’s hourly rate being lowered to $175 per hour when a new contract took effect in August of 2005.

For many years Ramsey has made a comfortable living by threatening low-income tenants with eviction or sanctions. Evicting the poor, elderly and disabled from their housing has become a way of life for Ramsey.

Public records with the Berkeley Housing Authority also reveal that Ramsey has served as an eviction attorney for the housing authorities in Marin County, San Francisco and Richmond.

Charles Ramsey
Charles Ramsey

Additionally, Ramsey has provided eviction legal services to so-called nonprofit housing developers that include the John Stewart Co., Affordable Housing Associates, East Bay Asian Local Development Corp., Bethel AME and numerous other so-called nonprofit housing developers in the Bay Area.

A campaign statement showing a date of receipt on July 13, 2012, reveals that when Charles Ramsey contributed $1,000 to the Obama campaign, he claimed to be a retired judge. However, I have not been able to find any documentation to back up that claim.

Ramsey has been seeking funds from local labor unions to finance his campaign to run for mayor of Richmond. Public records reveal that from July 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2013, he received $95,934 in campaign contributions to run for mayor.

In a July 30, 2013, letter from Charles Ramsey to Mike Geller of the National Electrical Contractors Association, Contra Costa Chapter, Ramsey requests an official endorsement and financial support for his mayoral race. He writes: “A contribution will make a tremendous difference when I am in the Mayor’s office fighting for apprenticeships and PLAs for construction. I am seeking a $2,500 contribution for the race. I can tell you that I will never forget the generosity if you can meet that goal.”

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