Illustration by Carolyn Ramos

Shadowridge Senior Living and Oak Hill Residential Care are nonprofit senior centers in North County with the capacity to house roughly 150 seniors. The two nonprofit centers have also helped their founder and two of his business partners make large amounts of cash. 

In a new investigation, Will Huntsberry uncovers a variety of deals that trace from the nonprofits back to Matthew Parks, their founder, and Tom Sutton and Scott Kirby, his business partners. 

The deals were wide in scope. In one case, Parks and Sutton raked in $540,000 in acquisition fees related to the purchase of one of the nonprofit’s buildings. Parks brought in another $150,000 in commission on the same transaction. 

In another case, Parks and Kirby scored a great deal on a house – because one of the nonprofits was simultaneously purchasing a senior center for $3.9 million in a package deal. Parks and Kirby paid just $200,000 for the house. Parks flipped it for $435,000. 

Parks and Kirby have also paid themselves $50,000 to sit on one of the nonprofit boards. Sutton worked an average of just one hour per week, according to the organization’s tax returns. 

All three men also receive guarantor fees for acting as guarantors on the loans for Oak Hill. In 2020, Sutton and Parks received $142,000 for that service. 

That’s not all. There’s the relationship with Bayshire Senior Communities, a service company founded by Kirby, which provides back-office services to both senior centers. Sutton and Parks were also part owners in Bayshire. Parks declined to say how much money Bayshire receives each year for its contracts with the two senior centers. 

Parks provided many detailed reasons why the deals he and his partners entered into were legitimate. In most of the cases, where they each made large amounts of cash, Parks said it was a creative workaround to a complex problem, rather than a deal designed to make him and his partners rich. 

“Sometimes you just have to get creative, right? There needs to be more people that are finding creative ways to make these types of things happen,” Parks said. “I think that’s what we’re good at – finding creative solutions to make it work.”

Read the full investigation here.

Mayor, Council Prez Release Tenant Protection Pitch

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center), Independent Budget Analyst Charles Modica (left), and Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes (right) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023.
Council President Sean Elo-Rivera (center), Independent Budget Analyst Charles Modica (left), and Assistant City Clerk Diana Fuentes (right) during a meeting on Jan. 10, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Council President Sean Elo-Rivera and Mayor Todd Gloria on Tuesday unveiled a proposed tenant protection ordinance aimed at bolstering eviction protections for renters who are up to date on rent and aren’t violating their lease.

The proposed rules – which the City Council is set to vote on next Tuesday – attempt to give San Diegans protections that tenants elsewhere in the state received under the state’s 2019 rent cap law. San Diego renters haven’t received the just-cause eviction protections outlined in state law due to the city’s now nearly 20-year-old Tenants’ Right to Know ordinance, which superseded the state legislation.

Here’s what it also includes: Elo-Rivera and Gloria’s proposal also requires landlords to pay tenants at least two months of rent to help them relocate after no-fault evictions, something not included in the state’s 2019 rent-cap law. It also requires landlords to notify tenants of their rights and to secure permits and provide copies of them along with eviction notices if there’s a plan to boot tenants to allow for significant remodeling work.

The proposal follows months of talks between Elo-Rivera, Gloria, tenant rights groups and the Southern California Rental Housing Association.

Elo-Rivera wrote in a statement that he hopes the new rules – if approved – will minimize the fear that even San Diegans who are up to date on rent and abiding by their leases have about evictions.

“These evictions cause massive financial and emotional distress to families and can lead to displacement and put people at risk of homelessness,” Elo-Rivera wrote. “This ordinance provides the protections that San Diego renters need and deserve.”

What’s the response for far? Leaders for two organizations that discussed tenant policies praised city leaders’ work on the proposed ordinance but had different takes on it.

“The working group has made significant progress in developing new rules that fairly protect tenants and landlords,” Alan Pentico, executive director of the Southern California Rental Housing Association, wrote in a statement.

Tenant advocate Ramla Sahid, who leads The Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans, said in a statement that her organization is concerned that the proposed rules don’t go far enough.

“We hope the City Council will stand up for hard working families and close several loopholes and overly broad exemptions that will continue to be exploited by predatory landlords [in the proposed ordinance],” Sahid wrote.

The Union-Tribune gathered more details on the ordinance. 

City Shelters Often Don’t Have Room at the Inn

View of a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023.
View of a homeless encampment on Commercial Street in downtown on March 30, 2023. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

There’s a perception that many of San Diego’s unhoused residents are refusing shelter and that lots of beds are available for them. But many are seeking shelter and unable to access it.

As the Union-Tribune’s Gary Warth reveals, city police officers and contracted outreach workers often have just a handful of shelter beds to offer to many more people in need.

This is a prime reason why nearly two thirds of shelter referrals in the city aren’t fulfilled in a typical week, as our Lisa Halverstadt reported last fall. This means that an unhoused person said they wanted shelter but didn’t end up getting it.

As Warth notes, more city politicos are zeroing in on shelter bed availability amid a discussion about an ordinance aiming to ban homeless camps. The proposed rules couldn’t be enforced in all areas unless the city has shelter beds to offer.

  • California Healthline visited San Diego to explain the possibilities and challenges tied to a statewide initiative to provide housing and other services for unhoused people or people at risk of homelessness who also have chronic health or behavioral health conditions. The story also spotlighted how enforcement and homeless camp clean-ups in the city can complicate outreach workers’ efforts.

Not a Podcast Person? We’ve Got Just the Thing.

VOSD Podcasts hosts during the recording of a live podcast in Chula Vista. / Photo by Ariana Drehsler

Every week, I get together with Voice editors Scott Lewis, Andrew Keatts and Andrea Lopez-Villafaña. We try to come up with the best show possible that’s dynamic, fun and informative on San Diego politics and public affairs — what happened that week and what does it mean.

We put that out on Fridays as the VOSD Podcast. Thousands of San Diegans love it and we appreciate our podcast audience deeply.

Now we’re throwing video in the mix.

If you’re not a “podcast person” but love how we do news, this is for you. Check out this segment of the show where our hosts assess the latest fallout of the Nathan Fletcher scandal: MTS, Board of Supervisors, big votes, local races.

Watch it here.

Enjoy! – Nate John, VOSD Podcast Producer

In Other News

The Morning Report was written by Will Huntsberry and Lisa Halverstadt. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.

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