S.F.'s 'landlords from hell' get 4 years in prison for shocking treatment of tenants 

click to enlarge Chunks hacked out of ceiling jousts can be seen at the Macys' former property, where the couple took extreme measures to force tenants out. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy Photo
  • Chunks hacked out of ceiling jousts can be seen at the Macys' former property, where the couple took extreme measures to force tenants out.

The couple called the "landlords from hell" by prosecutors have once again scored a prime piece of real estate, but this time it's two prison plots.

Former well-known software developer Kip Macy, 38, and wife Nicole Macy, 37, will serve four years and four months in the slammer in connection with their outrageous attempts to evict five tenants at a South of Market apartment complex the couple had hoped to renovate and sell.

On Tuesday, the couple pleaded guilty to two counts of residential burglary, another for stalking and one for attempted grand theft, all felonies, as part of an agreement with prosecutors. They are expected to be sentenced Aug. 22.

The ghastly steps the Macys took between 2005 and 2007 to oust their tenants at 744-746 Clementina St. were "like the plot line of a horror movie," District Attorney George Gascón said.

When the Palo Alto couple couldn't get tenants to leave the six-unit property they had recently purchased, they reportedly cut large chunks from the ceiling beams in hopes that the building would be red-tagged. They also cut large holes in the floor of a living room while a tenant was inside the unit, and soaked the belongings of three other tenants in ammonia.

The Macys weren't so horrible at first, prosecutors said. The couple initially tried to evict the tenants of five units under the Ellis Act, a state law allowing landlords to remove renters to allow family members to move in. While most tenants under the law would have to leave in 60 days, one tenant, Scott Morrow, was allowed to stay a year because he is a chronic sufferer of migraine headaches and thus disabled, according to court documents.

Angered, the Macys initially attempted to get rid of Morrow by making a lot of construction noise. But their actions became far more menacing after Morrow complained to The City about the noise and dust.

In August 2006, Nicole Macy created a fake email account under Morrow's name and pretended to be him while sending emails to attorneys in the eviction case. One email fired Morrow's attorney. Another was sent to her own attorneys threatening to dismember their children, prosecutors said.

Also that month, in response to a mysterious fire that broke out in the unit beneath Morrow's, Nicole May attempted to get a building inspector to teach her how to make The City deem the building uninhabitable. The building inspector refused to tell her, but the Macys went ahead and cut large pieces out of the ceiling beams in the fire-damaged unit, endangering tenants.

The dispute continued to escalate the following month, when the Macys had workers on two separate occasions cut holes in the floor of Morrow's living room — while Morrow was home.

"He actually saw the saw coming up ... and at that point his friend took a hammer ... and hammered the blade of the saw flush with the floor so it would stop sawing," prosecutor Kelly Burke said.

Four other tenants also felt the Macys' wrath, including their former property manager, whom Kip Macy reportedly threatened to shoot in March 2007. The locks to the property manager's apartment were changed, and his belongings were removed and destroyed, prosecutors said.

In June 2007, the Macys reportedly broke into another unit occupied by three tenants and stuffed almost all their belongings into garbage bags and allegedly stole $1,800 in cash. When the victims showed up, Kip Macy kicked one of them in the ribs. He and his wife also sent them scathing letters, including one threatening to deport one of the tenants.

Then in October 2007, the Macys reportedly soaked those three tenants' beds, clothes and electronics with ammonia.

The Macy fled the country after being indicted on the charges, but were arrested in Milan, Italy, last year and extradited to The City last month.

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