‘It’s just like the mob’: District attorney investigates ‘shakedowns’ and ‘threats’ in San Francisco’s Chinatown

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Claims of doable ‘shakedowns’ and ‘threats’ are being investigated in San Francisco’s Chinatown, the place enterprise house owners have obtained letters threatening lawsuits.

District Attorney Chesa Boudin says the letters declare the companies do not meet ADA incapacity necessities and typically demand cash with the menace of a lawsuit. His workplace has two investigators working to find out if they’re fraudulent.

“They come in and it’s just like the mob,” says Hene Kelly, who’s Vice President of the California Alliance for retired People.

“If you don’t pay us, the mob would say ‘we’ll break up your whole store.’ This is, ‘if you don’t pay us and play with us, we will take your place away from you,'” says Kelly.

Far East Cafe is one in every of the companies that obtained a letter claiming they weren’t in compliance with ADA incapacity rules, and then a letter demanding cash, with the different being a lawsuit.

Service provider representatives in Chinatown say there have been dozens of instances like this and Boudin says the calls for are excessive.

“Right as they reopen they are getting hit with demands for, in many cases $75,000,” says Boudin.

The DA says his workplace is opening an investigation into these allegations to see if ADA legal guidelines are being abused for others to become profitable off of companies, lots of that are in older Chinatown buildings.

“Many businesses do their best to meet the requirement, but are limited by the buildings sizes,” says President of the Chinese language Chamber of Commerce Eddie Au.

“They are exploiting and extorting small businesses, not to vindicate the critical rights or inclusion of the disabled, but rather to shakedown and extort those who are already suffering in the wake of a horrific pandemic and a wave of anti-Asian and anti-Chinese hate across this country. We stand with our Chinese community, we stand with our disability advocates,” says Boudin.

Anybody who believes they’ve been victimized by fraud ought to attain out to the District Attorney’s Shopper Safety and Fraud hotline at 628-652-4311.