The dispute between the Diocese of Oakland and Casa Vincentia over the building the women's shelter occupies will be aired in court. A jury trial has been set to begin June 15.
The building in question is a former convent owned by the diocese on 62nd Avenue in Oakland, and was originally rented by Casa Vincentia. The organization has not paid rent at the site since 2007. The diocese has done nothing to collect the rent.
After a building safety study was completed at the site last year, diocesan officials, Barbara Jackson, Casa Vincentia executive director, and some of the organization's board met to go over the safety issues and the need for the center to relocate. Diocesan officials offered to help look for a new site and to help with the move, said Mike Brown, communications director for the diocese.
Jackson asked for 90 days to develop a move-out plan. After the 90-day period expired with no contact from Jackson diocesan officials made several attempts to reach Jackson by phone but were unsuccessful. With no response, the diocese contacted its lawyer to begin the eviction process.
Jackson told The Voice May 25 she had been trying to contact someone at the chancery office about the issue and that no one has returned her phone calls.
Toni Mims-Cochran, a lawyer Jackson asked to represent the organization, said the diocese has been "aggressively" litigating the issue knowing full well that Casa Vincentia "doesn't have the resources to respond." She also said that the deadline set by the diocese for the move did not give the organization enough time to search for an alternative site for the shelter.
"That is not reasonable," Mims-Cochran said June 5.
The search for another site is ongoing and it is hoped that an organization in the community or a Casa Vincentia supporter will help it find or donate a building to it.
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