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A blog about the economy and the Sacramento-area real estate market.

February 24, 2010
Bill targets CalPERS, CalSTRS housing deals

An assemblyman has introduced legislation aimed at preventing the state's two big public pension funds from investing in so-called "predatory" schemes that displace rent-control tenants.

The bill is AB 2337 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco. It's in response to a couple of controversial investments, one in New York and one in East Palo Alto, that were predicated on converting thousands of rent-controlled apartments and houses into market-rate units by moving new tenants in.

CalPERS invested a total of $600 million in the two deals, CalSTRS put $100 million into the New York deal.

Both deals went bust when the market soured, but not before generating lots of controversy and litigation over how rent-control tenants were being treated. Tenants rights advocates say the landlords harrassed longstanding tenants to get them to leave.

Generally speaking, a rent-control unit can be decontrolled when a new tenant moves in.

 The investments were the subject of a lengthy piece in The Bee last November.

A CalSTRS spokesman, Ricardo Duran, said the teachers' fund's legislative committee hasn't yet reviewed the legislation. A spokesman for CalPERS, Brad Pacheco, said the fund will study the bill.

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