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Shock as Kenyan woman, Anne Kihagi-Swain, is fined $2.4M by US court

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A Kenyan landlady who has been described as notorious by the media , Anne Kihagi, who was sued by the SF city attorney two years ago after numerous reports about her shady eviction tactics and unfair treatment of tenants, has been ordered to pay $2.4 million and has also been sentenced to five days in jail for violating provisions of the Ellis Act at one of her properties in West Hollywood.

 

The news was received with shock among Kenyans.

“A Kenyan woman has been fined US$2.4 million (Sh247.5 million) by an American court for being an abusive landlord,” reported a Kenya paper.

Ms Anne Kihagi has been accused of harassing 23 tenants and wrongfully evicting 10 others by using unconventional methods to frustrate among them the elderly and a cancer patient.

Ms Kihagi, a landlord with a portfolio of property worth $24 million (Sh2.5 billion) was also sentenced to five days in a San Francisco jail for violating the housing law.

This is after a two-year bruising court battle with her tenants who have christened her the “notorious landlord”.

In fact, Ms Kihagi may end up being fined up to $4 million (Sh412.5 million) since the judge also ruled

Anne Kihagi

that she must foot the costs incurred during the case.

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Ms Kihagi’s run-ins with her tenants began two years ago when they complained of harassment and uncouth tactics that their landlord used to evict them so she could renovate the building and rent it out at a higher price.

VERBAL AB– USE

According to a report by San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, the tactics used by Ms Kihagi included: “Fraud, harassment, threats, intimidation, verbal abuse, interrupting gas, electric, water and cable service, failing to cash rent cheques, only to late claim them as untimely rent payment and violating tenants’ privacy by entering their apartments without required notice”.

The tenants also accused Ms Kihagi of installing video surveillance cameras aimed at their front doors.

Ms Kihagi has since garnered a reputation for being a horrible landlord, with Mr Herrera saying, “I’ve gone after a lot of lawless landlords in my time, but Anne Kihagi has a special place reserved for her in San Francisco’s abusive landlord ‘hall of fame’. Her cruelty is stunning.”

In her ruling, Judge Angela Bradstreet noted that Ms Kihagi’s behaviour had serious effects on the lives of several citizens of San Francisco, to the point that one former tenant had to quit her job and move out of the state. In another case, Ms Kihagi forced a tenant suffering from cancer out of his home.

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The court case was under investigation for two years and the ruling attracted a lot of media coverage from San Francisco press.

The US based media have reported that Ms Kihagi irked her tenants so much that some housing rights activists took to the streets to protest against her.

BUSINESS MODEL

US newspapers have reported that Ms Kihagi began buying property in June 2013 in Noe Valley, the Mission and North Beach and the Castro, making her the owner of over 50 units in San Francisco.

It is also reported that Ms Kihagi is working closely with two business associates, Julia Mwangi and Christine Mwangi, known as “The Mwangi sisters” who were jointly sued by the tenants. She also has property in Los Angeles and West Hollywood.

Her business model involves buying buildings with long-term, “rent-controlled tenants paying below-market rents and then using a wide range of methods, both legal and illegal, to get rid of the tenants,” a San Francisco newspaper reported.

Once she pushes out the tenants, Ms Kihagi allegedly makes unpermitted improvements in the buildings after which she rents them at a higher price.

Ms Kihagi, who is being represented by her lawyer Karen Uchiyama, blames the case on a tenant activists group that wanted to “make a scapegoat of Anne Kihagi”.

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The lawyer further accused the court of scaring landlords from evicting tenants. The lawyer maintained that Ms Kihagi acted within the law even in evicting the tenants. Meanwhile, Ms Kihagi is appealing the ruling.

-Nairobi news

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Diaspora

PHOTOS: Two Kenyan men, Kamau and Mwaura, tie the knot in US

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Two Kenyan men have said “I do” in the United States.

Benson Kamau and James Mwaura tied the knot at a gay wedding ceremony in Chicago, Illinois, this past weekend.

According to Mwakilishi.com, as US based news website, Kamau and Mwaura are both natives of Kenya.

Sam-sex marriage has been legal in Illinois since June 1, 2014 after Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill legalizing such marriages on November 20, 2013.

This is not the first time that a Kenyan man has entered into matrimonial union with another man in the US, In 2016, Mr Ben Gitau, 33, and Mr Steve Damelin got married at Ann Arbor, Michigan.

In a related development in February, 2018, a self proclaimed Kenyan Lesbian married an American woman in a low key ceremony held in Dallas, Texas, USA.

Manuella Mumbi tied the knot with her American lover,  Lisa Webb Clay.

Mumbi, one of the few Kenyan women who have boldly come out to declare that they are lesbians, was born and raised in Kahawa, Kiambu County and recently relocated to the US to live with her better half before their wedding.

Webb Clay is an American model who hails from Texas. She reportedly invited Mumbi to the US to formalize their engagement.

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RELATED: Kenyan woman marries her lesbian lover in US

Last week, the Court of Appeal in Kenya granted gays and lesbians the freedom to register their own umbrella lobby.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, a majority decision of the Court of Appeal held that human beings should not be denied their fundamental rights because of how they choose to live their lives.

This position was taken by judges Philip Waki, Asike Makhandia and Martha Koome while affirming the decision of the High Court.

Here are some photos from last weekend’s ceremony:

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Blind 70-year-old Kenyan living in US pleads for help to return home – VIDEO

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Kenyans living in the diaspora have formed a WhatsApp group to try and help an elderly Kenyan man living in the United States to return home.

In a message shared in the Diaspora Messenger, a website that connects and updates the East African community abroad, the Kenyans have appealed to well-wishers to help Mr William Mwangi Kagwima, who is aged 70.

“One of our Kenyan brother, migrated to Worcester MA, in 1998. Like every other immigrant, he worked hard until last year when he started losing his eye sight and could not work anymore. He has endured severe hardship and has exhausted his savings. Mr Kagwima is requesting the community to send him back home to his family,” the notice reads in part.

They also shared a short video clip of Mr Kagwima speaking in Gikuyu and explaining how he ended up to be where he is today.s

source:nairobinews

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VIDEO: US-based Kenyan man reunites with daughter he never knew he had after 43 years

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A 67 year old US based Kenyan man who fathered a girl some 43 years ago has been reunited with his daughter.

It was an emotional reunion between father and daughter in Nairobi. Judy Wangui, having never met her dad is now married with two children.

According to K24, Peter Muriu met Mary Wangui, his Class eight sweetheart while he was in Form Three. As fate would have it, the man relocated to the United States. Little did he know that he had left an offspring.

Fast forward, 43 years later, the man traveled to Kenya after getting wind that a woman who looked exactly like him had been spotted.

“As I was roaming here and there, someone told me someone who was your girl back in the day got a baby who looks like you,” he said during an interview conducted on the fridges of the reunion party in Runda, Nairobi.

Innitially, Muriu toyed with the idea of conducting a DNA test.

“But I said before making a decision, I am going to see the girl. After seeing her, I said, Oh Lord, no need for a DNA here.”

The daughter was equally elated.

“Nimefurahi kumuona babangu maanake tangu nizaliwe sijawahi kuitana baba,” said Wangui.

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Her mother, Mary Wambui, whose marriage unfortunately did not work out said all her children are very happy and have accepted him as their father.

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