Flash: Sale of Berkeley Post Office Rumored to Be in Escrow: City Initiates Lawsuit

Thursday October 23, 2014 - 11:35:00 AM

The Berkeley City Council has received a letter from City Attorney Zach Cowan saying that he believes that the Berkeley Post Office might already been sold or at least the United States Postal Service (USPS) is in contract with a potential buyer. Pursuant to previous authorization from the Council, the city of Berkeley has authorized attorney Antonio Rossmann to file a lawsuit, hoping to prevent the sale. 

Cowan's letter: 

We were recently informed of a rumor that the USPS was under contract to sell the Berkeley Main Post Office, or that it was perhaps already in escrow. 

When I inquired about this with the USPS, its response was that the USPS would not respond to questions on this issue. 

Further, the USPS stated (for the first time) that it has reached an impasse with the City and the National Trust as to the terms of a preservation covenant. Not long before this communication, we had been promised a revised preservation covenant for our consideration, and had been assured that negotiations were continuing. 

It is my conclusion that at a minimum a buyer has been chosen, and that it is likely that there is at least a letter of understanding in place, if not a contract and perhaps an open escrow. 

Accordingly. pursuant to the authority granted by the Council in May 2013, I have directed our outside counsel, Tony Rossmann, to initiate litigation against the USPS to prevent the sale of the Berkeley Main Post Office. We are working closely with the National Trust and have asked them to participate in the litigation as well. 

I will keep you informed of significant developments. 

Zach Cowan 

Berkeley City Attorney