Judge issues gag order in landlord case

Court files might also be sealed because of media interest

A San Francisco judge issued a gag order Friday in the case of a Palo Alto couple who have been charged with threatening and stealing from the tenants of the San Francisco apartment building they own.

Kip Macy, 33, a software engineer, and Nicole Macy, 32, a real-estate agent, also failed in their attorneys' request to have bail reduced.

The judge's order prohibits the defendants, lawyers and any witnesses from talking to reporters.

Bail has been set at $350,000 each. Kip Macy is out on bail because the couple used their property as collateral. But that wasn't enough to pay for Nicole Macy's bail, too.

The couple decided Kip Macy should be the one out on bail so he can raise additional money through his work as a software engineer.

Media interest in the case has been intense since the San Francisco District Attorney's office filed multiple felony charges last month against the two for allegedly harassing and threatening tenants of their Clementina Street apartment building.

Those charges include three counts each of conspiracy, two counts of harassment and threats, three counts of burglary, one count of interruption of electric service, two counts of grand theft and one of count of defacing property. All except the last count are felonies.

The district attorney has charged the couple of pouring ammonia on the clothing, bedding and electronics equipment of three tenants when they were not home and also removing other belongings from their apartment in an attempt to evict them.

Court documents also contend that Kip Macy called a now-former tenant, who is a witness in the case, and telling him that Nicole Macy had a gun and if the tenant ever came by the building again she would shoot him. Investigators discovered that Kip and Nicole Macy purchased a handgun two days earlier from a San Rafael gun store.

Diana Kenny, an investigator for the district attorney's office, filed a declaration with the court that said she had interviewed four tenants and two former tenants involved in the case. "All have told me that they fear for their safety as a result of the conduct of Kip Macy and Nicole Macy," Kenney wrote in her declaration.

One television, one radio and three newspaper reporters were in court Friday morning for the bail reduction hearing. One newspaper and two TV photographers waited in the hallway, denied entrance to the courtroom.

Judge Garrett Wong denied motions for the two attorneys representing Kip Macy and Nicole Macy to reduce bail or release them on their own recognizance.

Assistant District Attorney Max Peltz argued against reducing bail because of the threats the Macys allegedly made to the tenants.

"The victims say they are afraid of retaliation," Peltz said.

He described incidents including "a powered saw blade coming through a victim's floor on two occasions," incidents in which the Macys entered tenants' apartments to remove personal items and "a threatening voicemail from Nicole Macy" that one of the tenants received.

"These are serious acts that put lives in jeopardy," Peltz said.

However, Michael Whelan, the attorney representing Nicole Macy, said his client has had "no prior contact with the criminal justice system."

Whelan said that San Francisco police had been called to the building several times because of disputes between the Macys and their tenants, but the police never chose to file any criminal charges.

One of the tenants had filed lawsuits against the former owners of the building, according to Lisa DrewBerry, the lawyer for Kip Macy. The same tenant was responsible for some of the current complaints against the Macys, she added.

If the tenant is a "vexatious litigant," Wong said he would consider any evidence of that at the next court hearing May 23 when bail may be reconsidered.

Arguing against bail reduction, Peltz added: "There is a serious risk of flight," noting that the Macys own property in Incline Village, Nev. That property is in the process of being transferred to Nicole Macy "as part of a divorce that is still pending," he said, adding that Nicole Macy has a Nevada driver's license.

Wong declined to reduce bail and then issued the gag order.

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Like this comment
Posted by Weeks, Paul
a resident of Stanford
on May 3, 2008 at 7:40 am

The Kip and Nicole Macy story, the "landlords from hell" sound like a movie with Michael Keaton: Pacific Heights. I guess you really never own anything in San Francisco - Your tennants do.

I doubt they did anything. Computer Engineers, like my wife, are a little nutty, but not violent or malicious.

Like this comment
Posted by Dan Langille
a resident of another community
on May 3, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Paul: wow, yours is the first sane comment I've read in all of this saga. So many people are jumping to condemn the Macys. They believe everything they've read.

Like this comment
Posted by Tip and Ring
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 3, 2008 at 8:16 pm

I agree with Paul. The tenants have to be making up all the stories about beams being cut, floors having saws come up from underneath, theft of money and other property, and ammonia being poured on other property. Oh yeah, the building inspectors are colluding with the tenants.

Every software engineer I've ever known was a wimp and would never think of doing anything like what's been described in a number of newspaper articles. Real estate agents, however, are a completely different beast.

Like this comment
Posted by Walter_E_Wallis
a resident of Midtown
on May 4, 2008 at 3:18 am

If they had just shot the tenant, they would be out on bail.

Like this comment
Posted by SFC
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 4, 2008 at 6:38 pm

It's worth noting, the Macys are residents of Palo Alto. Perhaps all the previous commentators are supporters because that's the way it's done there. Explain the gag order geniuses. Innocent people usually want the facts out. Go back to Hoover Institute and develop a better idea or give Karl Rove a call.

Like this comment
Posted by John Davies
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 20, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Palo Alto is not noted for being a bastion of Republican support. Perhaps Palo Altans simply have some small iota of critical thinking skills. One might safely conclude that those are lacking in residents of SF. SF is a city constantly crying about a "housing crisis" that repeatedly creates policies that reduce housing supply.

Outside of SF it was widely recognized that this article was grossly one-sided.

Like this comment
Posted by SJC
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 21, 2009 at 8:01 pm

Wonder if there is more to it:

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by To Paul
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

Computer engineers are never violent? Haven't you ever heard of Hans Reiser?

Of course there is more to this story. I've been reading about it for months. Even if the tenants are being less than perfectly honest, it's looking like evidence is bearing out their stories.

Like this comment
Posted by Wowza
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Mar 25, 2009 at 10:00 am

Once again, I have to note how often people on this board love to point the finger at EPA, given how many problems there are. But really - PA - you have your hands full, too! Shootings, violent robberies, kidnapping/rape, serial burglaries of residences and autos, cops misusing their powers of authority with illicit off-duty jobs, street crime downtown. And now - you can proudly claim not just Page Mill Properties as unscrupulous landlords, you have the charming Macys!

Like this comment
Posted by SJC
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm


Either you didn't read the link or you think that perjury, fraud, theft, and trespassing are acceptable behavior provided that they are done by tenants. It actually completely undermines *all* the allegations.

As for EPA, don't forget that it was the per capita murder capital of the United States until the surrounding communities got involved with policing it.

Sorry guys ... the facts simply don't bear out your statements.

Like this comment
Posted by Jo Jefferson
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 31, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I haven't been paying very close attention so I don't understand the ruckus about Page Mill Properties. If they are as terrible as you say they are, move out and organize a boycott - that way you can drive them out of business. If you are staying and complaining that would indicate to me that you must be getting something you're not entitled to, in which case it would be you exploiting them.

Like this comment
Posted by SJC
a resident of College Terrace
on Mar 31, 2009 at 2:53 pm

Web Link

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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