Last gasp ends the sordid Mirkarimi saga

The arm-grab that Madison reported to police set off a feeding frenzy that engulfed Mirkarimi.
Luke Thomas/Fog City Journal

A San Francisco judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit against Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, which is likely to be the last step in an ugly and protracted political, legal, and administrative battle stemming from Mirkarimi grabbing Lopez's arm during an argument on Dec. 31, 2011.

The couple's neighbors, attorney Abraham Mertens and his wife, Ivory Madison, reported the grabbing incident to police over the objections of Lopez, who had sought advice from Madison and allowed her to film a short but emotional video displaying a bruise on her arm, which became the main evidence against Mirkarimi.

That exploded into a high-profile drama in which Mirkarimi was vilified by the media, charged with domestic violence and witness dissuasion, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment, suspended without pay for six months by Mayor Ed Lee, and finally reinstated to office by the Board of Supervisors in October.

Along the way, the two couples – who are still neighbors, despite Mirkarimi's efforts to sell his house and move – became increasingly bitter public rivals. Lopez consistently denied being abused and implied to reporters that Mertens and Madison had political motives for breaking her confidence and reporting the incident to police. Mertens and Madison maintained that Mirkarimi tried to dissuade their cooperation with police – an allegation that the long investigation failed to substantiate – and blasted Mirkarimi and Lopez in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed.

Other than that, Madison and Mertens refused to talk to the press as the saga unfolded – a stance they maintained today, with a man who answered the phone at the Red Room website business they run immediately telling us, “They're not interested in talking.”

But Madison, who went to law school before becoming a fantasy writer, did let loose in June when she submitted a wild, incredible 22-page declaration to the Ethics Commission as part of the city's effort to permanently remove Mirkarimi on official misconduct charges, purporting to describe the tyrannical way the Mirkarimi ran the household, as Madison claimed she was told by Lopez (which she disputes).

The commission criticized and gutted the declaration, finding that it was prejudicial and contained little usable evidence. Commissioner Paul Renne even dressed down the deputy city attorneys for submitting it, calling it “clearly hearsay, clearly having the intention of poisoning the well of this hearing,” causing Deputy City Attorney Peter Keith to apologize and explain they had little to do with the declaration because Madison had hired a private attorney who helped her prepare it.

The couple and their attorney have threatened to sue Mirkarimi and Lopez for more than a year, and they finally filed the defamation case in January, and it has now been quickly dismissed. Domestic violence advocates and allies of Mayor Lee also threatened a recall election against Mirkarimi, but that also seemed to wither late last year – meaning this is probably the last we'll hear about this case, at least until Mirkarimi runs for reelection in two years, if he decides to do so.

Asked to comment on the lawsuit's dismissal, Mirkarimi told the Guardian, “My family and I are very happy and have moved forward, and I hope they are too.” His attorney, David Waggoner, told us, “Hopefully, the dismissal represents the end of what has been a long and painful experience for everyone involved.”


Such nastiness is indicative of the character of Ross MIrkarimi's critics.

What unvarnished nastiness they express towards Eliana; the same crowd that so piously claimed to be defending women. Revolting. Truly revolting.

Is that fucker MaxPilatus still posting on SFGate trying to settle the vendetta he has for Ross' work against him when he was with the DA's office and "Max" was an environmental outlaw?

BeckyBaside making dark predictions about the sheriff again? Hows the track record Becky?

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 1:25 pm

bruise on her arm saying "he's done this before".

Later, when she realized Ross's paycheck, and her possible alimony payoff was under threat, she self-servingly denied her earlier statement.

Clueless and lacking in both credibility and honor.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

Obviously, it comes from a hatred of what Ross Mirkarimi represents politically.

I've commented in the past about how the wingers will adopt any argument no matter how contorted. This case is a prime source of examples.

This winger claims to hate Eliana, because of what? At worst she made ambiguous statements in regard to the bruise on her arm. She made these statements on the advice of attorney and they should have never been in the public record. Eliana made that video because she thought she was protecting her parental rights.

Eliana told Ivory that she was going to "open a medical record" to protect her motherly rights. Super Madison, rather, wanted to launch the nuclear bomb on the Mirkarimi family, and so took her evidence to the cops. (Oh yes, Bronstein was involved!)

But this hater hates Eliana for not pursuing DV law *to* *the* *letter* -- which reactionaries would *never* support unless they are goring somebody's ox with it; this hater hates the family.

No. The hater is simply a hater. They gravitate towards authoriatianism because it holds the promise of fulfilling their darkest fantasies.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

A: When a leftie is trying to pardon DV only because the perp was another elftie.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 3:51 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 6:56 pm

Let me help you out a bit here, buddy:

"SurveyUSA interviewed 500 San Francisco CA adults 02/28/13 through 03/03/13 using blended sample, mixed-mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (67% of adults) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents unreachable on a home telephone (33% of adults) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, laptop, tablet, or other electronic device."

And the results? Lee's approval rating was 61%, same as the CofC poll. In fact it was 63% with those aged 18-34.

So it looks like you have some serious self denial work to do, my friend.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 7:39 am

the election. He just cannot bear to admit that a mayor he dislikes might actually be popular with the people.

What's odd about that is that Lilli cannot credibly believe that his eccentric left-wing views can possibly be popular either.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:44 am

Run Ross Run.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 18, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

away from San Francisco.

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:55 am

He is toxic.

And sans his paycheck, his little chicolita will hit the bricks.

Posted by anon on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

God, you trolls are disgusting.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 12:28 pm

learn to take it as well as dish it out.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 12:58 pm

So being a soap actress is irrelevant when considering the "role" that Eliana played in renying the abuse (afetr she had admitted it, of course).

But Madison being a "fantasy writer" clearly implies that whatever she said or wrote must be a figment of her imagination?

Cheap journalism.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:45 am

Actually, I think it's relevant context to note that Madison is a fantasy writer in an article discussing the far-fetched stories she told about Mirkarimi's actions, just as it was relevant when I said Lopez was a Venezuelan soap opera actress in past stories where the issue was her performance in the video or on the stand. The only reason I didn't note it here is that's not what this final episode is about.

Posted by steven on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:52 am

Both when she stated that Ross abused her and when, after his salary was stopped, she said that she had not.

Fantasy writers did not write the script of Eliana said and showed us on the video. That was acting, or her later version was, we are still not sure.

Anyway, not quite the last act. That will be when Ross loses re-election and is unemployable. Then we'll see how long Eliana sticks around.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:05 am the fact that it was Madison and Mertens who asked that the suit be dismissed. Matier and Ross reported it fully over the weekend. You have to wonder why the Guardian didn't. (No, you don't. The Mirkarimi propaganda machine can't let an opportunity go by to make this about Ivory Madison and not an abusive relationship between the Sheriff and his lying wife.)

Also, Steve: Are you 100% sure that Lopez and Mirkarimi are still living on Webster Street?

Posted by Hortencia on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:03 am

Jason Grant Garza here ... wow, the LAST GASP ... is that what the SHERIFF is awaiting from me before I get WHAT is LEGALLY REQUIRED?

What do I mean ... look here at DPH break the LAW and what the SHERIFF does in regard to the FAKE (BOGUS) stayaway order ... (THEY CAN NOT VERIFY THE VALIDITY OF AN ORDER; THEY CANNOT ARREST DPH FOR CRIMINAL FRAUD, THEY CAN ONLY WASH THEIR HANDS AND REPEAT THE ILLEGALITY AND HARM. Look at Note this happened 8/15/2013

Now look at what the SHERIFF did on 11/27 (please watch all six videos to NOTE the NON- HELP, NON-ADVOCACY and DEADEND with ACCOUNTING nor ARRESTING the LAWBREAKERS.

Note what happens upon DRINKING the SHERIFF'S cup of poison on 12/19 and NOTE in regard to the BOGUS order on 12/20 from the SHERIFF'S MINION

Now do you REALLY believe that I have NOT TRIED to reschedule a meeting with the SHERIFF ... watch the videos to see my attempts and NON-HELP and INHUMANITY ... what is the CONSEQUENCE?

Now look what happens again at DPH on 3/15/2013

So when is the INTEGRITY from the SHERIFF to me? Is the SPIN only for DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ???

Please look at the other videos to see what I got from DPH, OCC, SFPD, Police Commission, HRC, MOD and the list goes on ....

Keep DRINKING the KOOL AID and KNOW you are NEXT.

Posted by Jason Grant Garza on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 8:23 am

There's no way Mirk gets reelected. NO WAY. Unless there's a riot at the jail or Mirk himself collars the head of MS13, the sheriff's race will be about one thing: domestic violence and Mirk's history with his wife.

The mail for this race is going to be nasty and, for a change, the topic is serious enough that the heavy hand will seem appropriate. The folks who want him out - for any reason - will have an easy time reminding folks of this case every single day in the press, in blogs, in their own circles. The ground troops he needs will stay home of their own volition or be asked to sit it out. He won't raise any money.

This won't be a witchhunt. It will be a race. Folks like Campos, Avalos and Kim will have to decide whether it's worth throwing in for Ross. Campos and Kim have a lot to lose so this may be a hard call for them.

Stearns will parade Ross's prog credentials and try to "shine a light" on Ross' DV initiatives as sheriff but it won't work. So they'll wait for the other side to go heavy and claim victim status, similar to what he did during the trial.

Problem is, Ross' was an ideological warrior. He stood for ideals and his accomplishments are all about doing the right thing. But this whole mess showed that people close to him don't believe that's his core. That's hard to counter. Worse, he's a bully at home who got rough with his wife on at least a couple of occasions. That's a hard image to shake.

And that's the competitive race. If a woman in the sheriff's office decides to run against him, well, he'll still limp across the line but it's going to be a thrashing.

Posted by BeckyBayside on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 9:23 am

I just deleted several hateful personal attacks from this thread. Please refrain from using sexist epiphets (yes, I'm talking to you, anon), try to stay somewhat on the topic at hand, and don't make defamatory accusations about fellow commenters. This is perhaps the most permissive comment board of any Bay Area news outlets, but the tone is degenerating and we will delete anything that violates our comment policy. Thanks.

Posted by steven on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:01 am

I try not to offend. To bad you can't delete stupidity and ignorance.

Posted by Patrick Monk.RN. on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:31 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

that many of his comments define stupidity and ignorance.

Thoughtful readers already know this fact.

Down with stupidity!!!

Power to the thoughtful!!!

Resist comments that refer to women as bitches!!! (Thanks to steven for deleting them)

Posted by San Francisco Anti-Stupidity Campaign on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

no wonder you hide behind an anonymous handle

Posted by anon on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:35 pm

Whahappened to that recall?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 10:28 am

a lame duck sheriff until the next election, and then kick him out.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 11:09 am

Recalls require big bucks...nobody commenting on this board has enough money to pull one off. I think the DV activists got cold feet and figured that getting him out of the Sheriff's office two years early wasn't worth the fight. Better to marshal your resources for the next election IF he is foolish enough to run.

Don't forget, it wasn't just his ugly personal life that got exposed to the public but also his arrogant style. What did his lawyer say? That he was a bit of a tyrant? Most people didn't know who Mirkarimi was last election, more do now and it ain't pretty.

Posted by Troll on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 11:34 am

He does not have the support or respect of any of his staff, let alone the community, and so his low-profile, lame duck, approach to incumbency is at least keeping him out of further trouble.

If we want to see innovation in that office, we're just going to have to wait until we get a real sheriff, but then most people don't really give a rat's ass how inhumance our jails are anyway.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 11:44 am

They asked him. He said no.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 1:23 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 1:35 pm

Had he said yes, you'd be spinning the virtues of recall, saying how Conway knows a good investment when he sees one.
Now that the fervor for recall has completely fizzled, you have to find a new spin. Gotta hand it to you -that's about as good of a face on an unmitigated loss as one can possibly spin.

Keep spinning!

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 2:16 pm

It's actually quite useful having a lame duck in the sheriff's office. It's not like he can do any harm, right?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 2:20 pm

I thought this was all about protecting women?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 4:29 pm
Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:33 pm

Ron Conway has enough money to pay for a recall out of pocket, he threw down $100K to screw Olague. They knew they could not qualify a petition and they knew they'd lose.

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 4:29 pm

that the moderates preferred to have a fall guy in that role for now.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:34 pm

Ha! They'll win best by losing!

Imagine what a great position the "moderates" will be in when Ross is mayor. They'll really have him where they want him then!

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

would not instead have chosen a job where he works for the Mayor.

And if he couldn't win that election before the voters knew what a callous, vicious bully and abuser he was, his chances now are even less than that.

Ross is in what is mostly an administrative job and, since he has lost all credibility and respect in that position, he is a lame duck and can be left there, doing no harm, until he loses at the enxt election.

Lee actually played this one quite well, although he was dealt a soft pitch by the accident prone Ross and his dubious and theatrical sidekick.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Here in San Francisco, the sheriff does not work for the mayor.

Posted by Greg on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 2:25 pm

At least in my city, San Francisco.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 4:00 pm

their most absurd lies are lame and without consequence.

Why don't you righties do what you do best: *completely* turn things around.

Now don't just *say* if tables were turned that "libs" would feel completely different, but *make* *that* *your* *new* *reality*.

I know I'm giving away the store here, because you'll no doubt put this to good use against "us."

So here it is: err... let's see... Ross Mirkarimi was mayor -- that's it, he was *already* mayor! -- but was disgraced after trying to break up Sheriff Lee's marriage and destroy his career.

Ross campaigned as a moderate -- a "builder of bridges" -- but then, like a hungry shark sniffing blood, he lunged against... err... Sheriff Lee.

This is sounding good so far? Think of it: it really makes Mirkarimi to look like a stinker. Run the story on FauX News a few nights running and at least 20% of the people will believe it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 6:13 pm

How does anything there relate to the point made that remains unrefuted?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 6:54 pm

before they spring their trap.

Like much of what these "moderates" think, though, I can't say I have a grasp what it means or how it will work, so perhaps one of the anti-Mirkari trolls here will be so kind as to explain it.

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 2:01 pm

Leaving him to wallow in what might have been is sufficient.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 21, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

So they really don't care about women, huh, that was all a ruse?

Posted by marcos on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

ross was getting roasted although, as it turned out, they were mostly all just one women, to white ChrisCraft.

Stockholm Syndrome, presumably.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 6:32 pm

The sordid Mirkarimi saga won't end until he is out of public office - the next election, I think.

Posted by Richmondman on Mar. 19, 2013 @ 3:44 pm

Steven T. Jones, can you confirm that this case has actually been dismissed by a judge? There is some confusion now as to whether the Mertens just filed the papers on Friday requesting a dismissal versus the case actually having been dismissed. Thanks.

Posted by Sue Grissom on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 2:47 pm

Stevey Tee forgot to mention in his article that the suit was dismissed at the request of Mertens/Madison.

Stevey's a heckuva journalist

Posted by Troll the XIV on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 5:32 pm

...or you would certainly be able to cite some source for your "information?"

Posted by lillipublicans on Mar. 20, 2013 @ 5:47 pm