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Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland Sold For Use By Vital Life Services - Tribune

And so ends an era of politics, fear, violence, and murder.

Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland officially sold
Article Last Updated: 11/30/2007 08:46:41 AM PST

OAKLAND - A - U.S. Bankruptcy Court judge has approved the sale of the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery's North Oakland headquarters for use as a nonprofit center serving people with AIDS and other critical illnesses.
In a hearing Thursday afternoon, Judge Edward Jellen authorized court-appointed trustee Tevis Thompson to sell the property at 5832 San Pablo Ave. for $1,052,000 cash to NCK LLC, a partnership buying the property for Vital Life Services. The money will go toward satisfying the bankrupt bakery's creditors, including an investment fund holding the mortgage on the building, the Internal Revenue Service, and the state Franchise Tax Board, among others.
Jellen also approved a back-up offer of $1,051,000 tendered by Paulette Arbuckle, a North Oakland woman whose
real-estate broker is a member of the Bey family that built the bakery into a community institution and business empire, only to see it end in bankruptcy and violence. That offer will be taken only if the NCK deal falls through.
Arbuckle had made the first offer on the property — $899,000, offered just four days after the property went on the market in September — but NCK, represented by Kurt Zimmerman, outbid her at an auction held behind closed doors Wednesday at the office of Thompson's attorney, Eric Nyberg.
Nyberg told the judge on Thursday that these were the only two bidders. "A lot of publicity about this sale... may have had a negative consequence on people

actually willing to show up and bid."
But he said it was "a rather vigorous auction" and the trustee is pleased that the building's new occupant will provide services to the community. "And the property does have a lot of warts and blemishes, so we do feel we're getting a fair price."
If the sale goes through as intended, the building will become the new home of Vital Life Services, formerly known as the Center for AIDS Services, now located in rented space at 5720 Shattuck Ave. in Oakland.
Founded in 1987 as a Catholic agency providing pastoral care, meals and massages to HIV/AIDS patients, it's now a nondenominational organization providing a wide range of services — from food to counseling to acupuncture — to those living with HIV/AIDS and other maladies.
After Thursday's hearing, Zimmerman said he and the other NCK partners are longtime supporters of the agency; he became involved soon after one of his employees died of AIDS many years ago.
He estimated NCK will spend another
$600,000 to $1 million beyond the sale price to gut and renovate the bakery building to better suit Vital Life Services' needs, installing a commercial kitchen; handicapped accessible bathrooms and showers; a laundry where homeless clients can clean their clothes; and so on.
R.N. Field Construction Co. of San Francisco, of which Zimmerman is a general partner, has agreed to do the renovation at cost, and the agency hopes to open its new doors April 30.
Vital Life Services Executive Director Mary Margaret Bush was at Thursday's hearing as well.
"This is just like heaven, it doesn't get any better than this," she said of Zimmerman and NCK's altruism.
"We love the neighborhood and we're going to make it work," she said, adding the bakery "did some really good things in its time before it fell on hard times," and her agency will strive to continue that theme of community service. "We've already gotten some e-mails of welcome from the neighborhood."
Zimmerman — who owns and is in the process of selling the Shattuck Avenue building that Vital Life Services now occupies — has declined to name NCK's partners or even to say how many there are, saying the turmoil surrounding the bakery has fed their desire for anonymity.
As for concern bakery loyalists may resent new owners in the building, Zimmerman said he hopes "most people who have those feelings would sincerely recognize what we're trying to do here."
The property — an L-shaped lot of about 14,000 square feet, on which the bakery building stands at 5832-5838 San Pablo Ave. and a residential duplex stands at 1083 59th St. — was placed in trustee Thompson's hands in August after Jellen moved Your Black Muslim Bakery from voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization into Chapter 7 liquidation.
Zimmerman said no decision has been made on what to do with the duplex.
More than 200 police officers swarmed those and other properties Aug. 3. Four people were arrested including Devaughndre Broussard, a bakery handyman who has been charged with the Aug. 2 homicide of Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey. Police said Broussard confessed to the crime after the murder weapon was found in his closet; he and his lawyer since have said the confession was coerced and bogus.
Also arrested was current Your Black Muslim Bakery CEO Yusuf Bey IV, first on a warrant connected to an assault case in San Francisco and later on charges in a May kidnapping/assault incident in Oakland.
Your Black Muslim Bakery was founded by Yusuf Bey, who for many years was highly regarded in Oakland as a formidable businessman trying to better the lives of young African-American men. His business ventures over time also included a security company, dry-cleaning stores and other entities.
But stories of violence have dogged his family for years — a 21-year-old son gunned down in 1994, the same year that two relatives were charged with torturing a man. Bey died in 2003 while charged with 27 counts in the alleged rapes of four girls under age 14; his successor, Waajid Aljawaad Bey, was found in a shallow grave in the Oakland Hills in 2004. Then the next CEO, Antar Bey, was gunned down in a 2005 carjacking attempt, and Yusuf Bey IV assumed the business' helm just before being arrested for vandalizing two West Oakland liquor stores — part of a two-year string of arrests.
Bankruptcy court documents say the business spun out of control during this family turmoil, leading Yusuf Bey IV to file for Chapter 11 protection late last year. But he failed to file reports and pay fees, and Jellen in August ordered the business liquidated to satisfy its creditors.
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