Last December, Oakland landlord Gene Gorelik moved to evict the single remaining tenant in a small apartment building by Lake Merritt that he had recently purchased. Simultaneously, he hung a pro-Trump billboard on the property
and surrounded it with barbed wire and floodlights.
Then, Gorelik allegedly changed the locks, turned off the power, and demolished the part of the building where Jahahara Alkebulan-Ma’at, the tenant, was living.
In response, Alkebulan-Ma’at and Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker sued Gorelik for harassment and for violating the city's Tenant Protection Ordinance.
Gorelik, however, doesn't appear to be cowed.
For Halloween, he has tacked up new banners that state he's running for Oakland mayor in 2018. He's also calling for getting rid of the city's numerous homeless encampments, along with "criminals" and "corrupt politicians."
The nickname he's assigned himself: Mean Gene.
And he's using a Trumpian slogan: "Make Oakland Great Again."
Alkebulan-Ma'at outside his former-home last year.
attempted to contact Gorelik to see if the banners are a prank or if he's serious about running for mayor, but the Bay Property Group, a real estate investment and management company that employed Gorelik last year when he purchased the apartment building, responded in an email that Gorelik is no longer employed there.
"We have an exploratory committee looking into 2018 Mayoral possibilities," Gorelik wrote in a brief email.
Earlier this year, in a mailer sent to numerous Oakland residents, Gorelik used a phrase uttered by Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential campaign, criticizing Oakland's housing policies as a "basket of deplorables." The postcard also depicted tenant attorneys as blood-sucking ticks.
Records show that both lawsuits against Gorelik are still pending in Alameda County Superior Court.
This story was updated October 31 at 9:50 a.m. with a quote from Eugene Gorelik.