“Nobody Triples the Rent - Do They?”
It’s hard to keep track of the long list of Trump donors, union-busters, and billionaires who are funding the right-wing Recall Campaign against Kshama Sawant. There are literally hundreds of them, including union-busting billionaires like Jeannie Nordstrom, notorious slumlords like Carl Haglund, and over 500 Republican donors.
So there’s a lot of competition for the title of “Most Reprehensible Recall Donor”. But no one quite measures up to George Petrie. Let me introduce you:
Petrie is the CEO of Goodman Real Estate, and he’s a maxed-out donor to the right-wing Recall Campaign. He’s also the biggest Trump donor in Washington State. Since 2016, Petrie has given over $57,000 to Donald Trump and Trump-affiliated Super PACs. And as the Seattle Times reported this month, Petrie was apparently so inspired by the anti-democratic, right-wing insurrection on Jan. 6 in the Capitol that he started a $2,800 monthly donation to Trump’s bogus “Stop the Steal” campaign.
But Petrie is more than just a Trump megadonor. He is one of the architects of racist gentrification and skyrocketing housing costs in Seattle.
Petrie and his company Goodman Real Estate are masters in the art of jacking up rents and screwing renters. In 2013 and 2014, Petrie’s company signed agreements to purchase two historic buildings of affordable housing in Seattle – the Lockhaven Apartments in Ballard and the Theodora Apartments in Ravenna, which together provided hundreds of units of affordable housing to veterans, seniors, people with disabilities, and other low-income renters. Goodman’s plan: evict the existing tenants, hike the rents, and profit.
This sparked protests by tenants at both buildings against Goodman’s predatory scheme. Petrie’s company didn’t care – they evicted the low-income renters and more than doubled the rent, making way for wealthy buyers and massive profits.
Petrie and Goodman Real Estate do more than prey on low-income tenants. They also profit from driving out small businesses. In 2015, they sent a new lease agreement to the owners of the Highway 99 Blues Club, an award-winning blues club downtown. The owners couldn’t believe it – Petrie’s company had increased their rent from $4,600 to $14,969 overnight. One of the club owners asked bewildered, “Nobody triples the rent. Do they?”
George Petrie does.
As The Stranger put it during the struggle at Lockhaven Apartments, “The Battle Between Vulnerable Tenants and Goodman Real Estate Gets to the Heart of What Kind of City Seattle Wants to Be.”
Seven years later, Petrie is still fighting for the kind of city that he wants: a city of skyrocketing rents, racist displacement, and massive profits for corporate landlords. That’s why he maxed out to the right-wing Recall Campaign and is putting his thumb on the scale in virtually every political race in the city, from the corporate campaign of Bruce Harrell to the anti-homeless “Compassion Seattle” ballot initiative. He is also a maxed-out donor to Sara Nelson, the corporate candidate trying to stop Nikkita Oliver.
Petrie and the real estate profiteers are furious at the affordable housing and renters’ rights victories that our movement has won through Kshama’s council office – the Amazon Tax for affordable housing, the Right to Counsel for tenants facing eviction, the strongest-in-the-nation ban on school year evictions, and more. And now they are terrified that Kshama can lead a winning movement for rent control.
Petrie and Goodman Real Estate have fought tooth-and-nail against Kshama in every election. They funded her corporate-backed opponent in 2015 after our $15 minimum wage victory, and in 2019 Petrie was a major donor to the “People for Seattle” PAC, which joined up with Amazon to try to buy that election. Our movement defeated them and re-elected Kshama every time. But now, Petrie and the Recall Campaign are resorting to voter suppression to remove Kshama from office, hoping to clear the way for their right-wing agenda.
We can defeat Petrie again AND win strong rent control in Seattle, without corporate loopholes. But we need your help. If just 20 people reading this email donate $50, we could cancel out George Petrie’s donation to the Recall Campaign and fund the Kshama Solidarity Campaign to keep our voice in City Hall.
And then join Kshama and our movement in Cal Anderson Park on September 18 @ 4 pm to send a strong message to George Petrie, the real estate interests, and the establishment in City Hall: “Seattle Needs Rent Control NOW!” And we’re ready to fight for it.