Tom Butt
  E-Mail Forum – 2016  
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  Update on Salute e Vita
August 12, 2016

Many have asked what they can do to help assure that Menbe and Salute e Vita are not evicted and are able to stay in business.

I suggest you address a letter to Jacqueline Poe similar to that sent by the Marina Bay Neighborhood Council (click here for a copy). The letter can be addressed to:

Jacqueline Poe
Penterra Company
2131 29th Street
Tulsa, OK 74114

Your letter should ask for either (1) relief from the eviction, or (2) sale of the property at a fair price to a party that will accommodate the continued operation of Salute e Vita. Please be respectful and not angry or nasty.

You can snail mail the letter or email it to Jacqueline Poe at and a copy to Richard Poe at I understand that Jacqueline’s husband and Richard’s father, Robert, is not in good health and may, in fact, be in hospice care, placing additional stress on Jacqueline and her family to which we should be sensitive.

Some of you are asking for details, and this may be too much information, but here you go:

The current situation resulting in the eviction notice seems to have been precipitated by frustration over deferred maintenance of the building occupied by Salute. Menbere Aklilu (Menbe) acquired the restaurant business, including the lease, some fifteen years ago from a previous restaurant business owner and operator. The lease, which included unusually aggressive requirements for building and grounds maintenance by the lessee, expired seven years ago, and Menbe has been on a month-to-month holdover status ever since with a surprisingly high rent. Anyone familiar with the restaurant business knows that this is an unusual and untenable situation for a restaurant lessee.

While arguments could be made about the fairness of the aggressive terms of the lease, the expectation for any month-to-month tenant to invest significant resources in long term maintenance of a building and its grounds is unreasonable. The immediate concern of the landlord, according to a letter from Jacqueline Poe dated August 8, 2016, to the California Food and Consumer Protection Program, is, “.. a problem in the men’s bathroom, smells and flies, “ “…the health hazard and possible sickness that would result from this problem of raw sewage being dumped on the ground,” and “..there is damage to the wood floor of the structure and the concrete.”

Following the letter from Jacqueline Poe of August 8, which was copied to the Contra Costa County Health Department, the restaurant was inspected by the County restaurant inspector and given a clean bill of health.

We have been fortunate that Menbe has lots of friends who want to help, and one in particular has taken it upon himself to engage and pay a team of contractors, including a hazardous materials cleanup specialist, to make a thorough inspection of the restaurant crawl space. As an architect with significant experience in evaluating situations such as this, I have closely followed the inspections and observed portions of the crawl space myself.

Unlike typical crawl spaces, this one has a smooth concrete floor slab that also serves as the building’s foundation, making both observations and any cleanup much easier than if it were soil. What we have found is that there is no issue with the Men’s restroom and no “raw sewage being dumped on the ground,” but there is a water (not sewage) leak under the Women’s Restroom. That leak will be repaired possibly as early as today, or at most, Monday.

There is at least one leak (not sewage) under the Kitchen from a faulty a coupling on a drain that serves a floor sink. It has resulted in quite a bit of water on the concrete floor of the crawl space, and it also, will be repaired possibly as early as today. There is no evidence of “damage to the wood floor of the structure and the concrete.”

Clearly, there is several thousand dollars of deferred maintenance that needs to be done in the crawl space, but it is manageable, does not constitute a health hazard and can be accomplished without closing the restaurant.

Hopefully, Jacqueline Poe will reconsider her eviction order.