Via Berkeleyside, the City of Berkeley has filed a lawsuit against Ken Sarachan, the owner of Rasputin Music, in order to seize the empty lot he owns at the corner of Haste and Telegraph in order to pay back $640,000 in liens and interest Sarachan owes the city.
As we've previously reported, the city council decided last fall to pursue foreclosure proceedings against Sarachan in an effort to force him to pay the liens he owes, develop the land, or sell it to someone who would. The lot across from Amoeba Music has been vacant for nearly a quarter century, attracting rats and becoming a major eyesore.
It was initially the site of the Berkeley Inn, which was destroyed by two fires. The City of Berkeley cleaned up the site after the then-owners Sutter Land Development Company didn't, putting liens on the property. Originally, Amoeba owner Marc Weinstein was going to turn the site into low-income housing with an Amoeba on the ground floor, but Sarachan stepped in and bought the property instead. He never paid the city back or developed the property, despite multiple plans to do so. While Sarachan blames the city for the lack of action, the lawsuit alleges that Sarachan missed multiple deadlines set by the city.