Council Considers Removing Kavanagh from Rent Board

By Judith Scherr
Friday December 14, 2007

In a special closed session Monday, the Berkeley City Council will consider removing Rent Board Member Chris Kavanagh from office.  

Kavanagh faces seven felony counts stemming from allegations that his real home is in Oakland, but that he falsely claimed residence in Berkeley in order to sit on the rent board.  

He pleaded innocent to the charges in September and stepped down from the board for three months, which ends at the end of this month.  

The item that appears on the closed session calendar came as a surprise to both Rent Board Executive Director Jay Kelekian and Rent Board Chair Jesse Arreguin. Both told the Planet they did not know who placed the item on the council agenda.  

The Planet learned of the item after business hours on Thursday and was unable to reach the city attorney or city clerk for further clarification. 

Arreguin said he was disappointed that the council would address the question before Kavanagh had his day in court—his next hearing is to be in January.  

“I am personally concerned that this will compromise the legal proceedings,” Arreguin said. Arreguin said such an action was necessary in the San Francisco case of Ed Jew, who refused to step down, but was unnecessary in Kavanagh’s case. 

The closed-door session begins at 5 p.m. with a public comment period. It is in the sixth-floor conference room at the city administrative building, 2180 Milvia St.