And you thought your landlords were terrible...
San Francisco couple Kip and Nicole Macy were sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison and labeled the "landlords from hell" for waging what could only be described as a campaign of terror.
"The actions of these defendants are so outlandish and brazen that it sounds like the plot line of a horror movie," said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón in a statement announcing the couple's sentencing on Wednesday.
The Macys, both in their 30s, pleaded guilty to felony counts of residential burglary, stalking and attempted grand theft stemming from their efforts to evict tenants from an apartment building on Clementina Street in San Francisco's South of Market district.
According to court documents, the saga all started in 2005 when the Macys purchased a residential apartment building that still had five tenants living it--five tenants the couple wanted gone.
By August of the following year, the couple and one of the tenants were engaged in litigation against each other. Mrs. Macy created a fraudulent email account and, pretending to be the tenant, sent an email to the tenant's lawyer saying his services were no longer needed. She later sent another email threatening to kidnap and dismember the lawyer's children in an effort to make the tenant look unstable.
The next month, the couple cut holes in the floor of one of the building's units with a power saw while the occupant was at home. Mrs. Macy reportedly cut through a beam--the very beam identified by a Department of Building Inspection official when she inquired which beam would need to be cut in order to deem the building unsafe--in an effort to force all the tenants to move out.
The following year, Mr. Macy threatened the building manager with a semi-automatic weapon, changed the locks on all the apartments without warning, stole items (including $1,800) from one of their tenants' apartments, mailed death threats, kicked one of their tenants in the ribs, drenched one of their victims clothes, bedding and electronics in ammonia, falsely reported a robbery at one of the apartments, cut off all utilities and once ordered the apartment windows to be boarded up from the outside (also while the occupant was at home).
The Macys were arrested in April of 2008, posted a combined total of half a million dollars bail and then fled the country.
In a personal blog that appears to belong to Mr. Macy, the fugitive explained the reasoning behind running away in the form of an open letter to San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi.
"Lacking the deep pockets to provide a balanced viewpoint and accountability in the court we had little choice but to leave after having watched the judges break the law one too many times," he wrote.
They were apprehended in Italy last year and brought back to the United States for trial. This time their bail was set at $2 million each.
"This case shows you cannot flee this country and avoid the consequences of your actions," said Gascón. "These defendants will be held fully accountable for their crimes."
Mr. Macy’s attorney, Lisa DewBerry, told the San Francisco Chronicle that sentences were, "not out of bounds," adding that the case, "highlights the limitations of tenant-landlord laws in the city."