Notorious Oakland real estate developer and Trump supporter concocted plan to shoot dollar bills over a homeless encampment in hopes of getting residents to leave
- Gene Gorelik, a Bay Area landlord, dressed up as Santa’s elf and showed up at a homeless camp in Oakland, planning to pay residents to leave
- The idea was to use a leaf blower to shoot $1,000 in dollar bills and pay anyone willing to leave the site by 8pm $2,000
- He packed up his boom lift, leaf blower and four inflatable bald eagles an hour later, after no one would take his money
- Protesters who gathered at the site then forced Gorelik to walk home by blocking his vehicle
- Gorelik made headlines in 2017 when he demolished his tenant’s home while the man was still living there
A notorious Oakland real estate developer showed up at a homeless encampment Friday morning armed with a boom lift and four giant inflatable bald eagles, planning to shoot $1,000 in dollar bills from a leaf blower.
But Gene Gorelik’s plan aimed at bribing those living at the campsite outside a Home Depot to leave quickly unraveled because no one was interested in taking him up on his offer of ‘free money.’
Vivian Ho, a journalist with The Guardian who covered the failed stunt, reported on Twitter that Gorelik received pushback from protesters who gathered at the encampment site at 4000 Alameda Avenue.
Oakland real estate developer Gene Gorelik organized a stunt at a local homeless campsite, offering people free cash if they agreed to leave
Gorelik rented a boom leaf and arrived Friday morning at the Home Depot on Alameda Avenue
His plan was to shoot $1,000 in dollar bills from a leaf blower at the homeless people
When he got on the bullhorn, screaming ‘Free money!’ his opponents in the crowd shot back, ‘F*** you, Gene!’
Gorelik, who heads the Oakland Redevelopment Group and is said to be a fervent supporter of President Donald Trump, earlier this week unveiled his plot to shoot dollars bills over the homeless campsite and hand each person willing to leave the area by 8pm on Friday $2,000 in cash.
He laid out his scheme on Facebook, claiming that 300 jobs at the Home Deport are at stake because the store could be forced to close due to the encampment’s proximity to it.
Gorelik also launched a fundraising campaign seeking to raise $300,000, presumably to cover the payments to the homeless people willing to relocate. As of Friday afternoon, no money has been raised.
Gorelik also launched a GoFundMe to raise $300,000 to fund his initiative, which has drawn no donations
As part of his initiative, the Bay Area landlord rented a truck, a boom lift and a quartet of towering star-spangled American eagles, which have become something of a calling card for Gorelik.
After spending an hour offering people cash, without any takers jumping on his offer, Gorelik, dressed as an elf in a green shirt and matching striped pants, decided to pack up and leave.
But according to local reporting, activists refused to let him drive away, including a man named Oz who laid down under a Home Depot truck Gorelik had rented for the occasion.
So the landlord, armed with a can of mace, was forced to leave the site on foot, with a pair of uniformed police officers protecting his retreat.
Gorelik made headlines in 2017 when he demolished his tenant’s home while the man, Jahahara Aman’Ra Alkebutan Ma’at, 64 (right), was still living there
Gorelik then mounted a huge inflatable American eagles on the roof of the property
Gorelik, who is married with two children, made headlines in 2017 when the Oakland City Attorney’s Office filed a civil lawsuit against him for demolishing his tenant’s home as a way to force him out, reported KTVU at the time.
The lawsuit, which is still winding its way through the courts two years later, accused Gorelik of harassment, threats and illegal eviction.
His tenant Jahahara Aman’Ra Alkebutan Ma’at, 64, was living at his Adams Pont home when work crews hired by Gorelik began dismantling the back potion of the building in April 2017.
The landlord later mounted one of his signature inflatable American eagles on the roof and displayed a banner that read ‘Make Oakland Great Again’ – a play on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, ‘Make America Great Again.’