Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Street Use and Land Mapping on the Line

Three days ago the receptionist at my office rang my desk phone to let me know that someone from "Street Use and Land Mapping" was on the line. This sent a shudder down my spine. After a solid month of organizing grant deeds and trooping all my building partners off to notaries to get their numerous affidavits signed, I thought I had not missed any cross of the t or dot of the i on our condo lottery application.

"Is D. McDanial an owner of this property?" the nice but worried sounding woman on the other end of the phone asked.

"No," I replied, "D hasn't been an owner for about five years."

"Well, from the paperwork we have it looks like she is still an owner. You need to get the deed proving that she sold her interest."

Some mucky muck, her boss, gave me 48 hours to locate and hand in the deed for this owner who had sold her flat in 2002.

My first reaction was fear. My building mates are all darlings, but handling the condo lottery has been my responsibility as a partner. If I somehow messed this up, I could easily imagine being drawn and quartered to cheers in our common hallway. My second feeling was relief. At least I had been sitting at my desk when the call came in, and not out at some client meeting, or heaven forbid, on vacation. At least I work in downtown San Francisco, so in theory I might be able to accomplish this task during a long lunch hour. And finally, I was thankful that, due to my long history living in the building I knew who D. McDanial was and the buy/sell history of her unit. Plus after three years of handling the condo lottery applications I knew just where to go to quickly find a grant deed.

So I trooped off to the City Recorder's Office, paid my twelve dollars, and walked away with two copies of this mysterious document, which was not requested by the BSUALM in the first place but now seemed to be important enough that they were threatening to invalidate the three tickets I had purchased without a hitch five days earlier.

I brought the deed in question to the counter at 875 Stevenson Street, where it was quickly routed to the boss's office. Reassuringly, the man who ran it in seemed as concerned as I was.

When he emerged from behind the walls of cubicles and piles of files, he was smiling. "Yes, yes, everything OK."

He explained to me that our original grant deed, issued in 2000 when we first bought the building, had multiple owners listed, including D, because six partners had purchased the building in the original transaction. The McDanial unit had been sold twice since the original purchase and there was no link between D's sale and the current owner's purchase in the deeds that were part of our lottery application.

Apparently the week between when ticket sales close and the winners are selected the Bureau of Street Use and Land Mapping scrutinizes each and every application.

"So we are in the lottery, right?" I asked.

"Yes, yes, everything good now."

I felt like a running back who had caught a hallelujah pass and put his team back in game.

We made it. Now all we have to do is win.


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