Friday, November 4, 2011

Oakland developer Phil Tagami keeps protesters at bay -- with a shotgun

By Matthias Gafni
Contra Costa Times eight men and women dressed in black, faces covered in bandannas and armed with hammers, sticks and poles had just barged down the doors of Oakland's landmark Rotunda Building -- with another dozen behind them -- when they were turned back by a tenant with a shotgun and an attitude.

This wasn't your average building employee, this was Oakland developer and building owner Phil Tagami who provided a one-man sentry for the Frank H. Ogawa Plaza building that he oversaw a $50 million renovation on in years past.

"They took a few steps forward and I racked the shotgun and they left," Tagami said Thursday, still calming from the events of the previous night. "It's sort of the universal 'Don't come any farther' sign."

And the group didn't. They high-tailed back out through the front doors and joined the raucous crowd outside.
The Oakland native and longtime mover and shaker surveyed extensive damage to the building Thursday, estimating hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, from broken windows to vandalism to destroyed property.

"It's not hyperbole to say we were under siege last night," he said...

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