Alaska News

Landowner's suit calls shelter, Bean's Cafe a public nuisance

The owner of land adjacent to the Brother Francis Shelter and Bean's Cafe in the Ship Creek area of Anchorage is suing the city and the nonprofits that operate there for creating what he says is a "public and private nuisance."

Ron Alleva, the owner of Grubstake Auction Co., has long been a critic of the shelter, the soup kitchen and the cluster of other social service groups in the area that serve Anchorage's homeless.

Alleva's nuisance abatement suit, filed July 6 in Anchorage District Court, claims that clients of the shelter and cafe are engaging in activities such as "assault and battery, the use and sale of drugs and alcohol, littering, the discharge of urine, fecal material, snot and vomit, public copulation, camping, misconduct with firearms and other weapons, and gang related activities" in the area on and adjacent to his property, where he runs an auction business. He claims that the organizations that serve them haven't done enough to stop illegal or unsanitary activity and trespassing.

The suit names Bean's Cafe and Catholic Social Services, the parent organization of the Brother Francis Shelter, as defendants, as well as their longtime landlord, the Municipality of Anchorage.

Bean's Cafe and Catholic Social Services released a joint statement through CSS head Susan Bomalaski Monday that said they were in receipt of Alleva's complaint and would respond shortly.

Dennis Wheeler, the municipal attorney, said that the city will be working on a legal analysis. The defendants must formerly answer the suit within 20 days.

Alleva is representing himself in the suit, which asks for the shelter and kitchen to shut down or move.

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In the past, Alleva has voiced his displeasure with the cluster of social service providers in the area, using methods ranging from a guerrilla campaign of handmade signs to complaints to the Anchorage Assembly and mayor. He says that he has compassion for the homeless but the organizations he's suing are enablers that make the situation worse.

"I've exhausted every reasonable rational attempt away from the final one," he said. "Which is, you got to let the courts decide."

Reach Michelle Theriault Boots at mtheriault@adn.com or 257-4344.

By MICHELLE THERIAULT BOOTS

Anchorage Daily News

Michelle Theriault Boots

Michelle Theriault Boots is a reporter who covers news and features about life in Alaska, and has been focusing on corrections and psychiatric care issues in the state. Contact her at mtheriault@adn.com.

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