She spent millions to build ‘cultural work of art.’ Now she says Fremont wants it torn down.
Angela Alioto, a civil rights attorney working for Lee, claims the city violated Lee’s rights in February 2018, when the city brought a warrant signed by a judge, along with police officers, a police dog, and code enforcement officials, to search the property for permitting issues.
In addition to searching through the temple and other structures, they searched Lee’s personal residence. “They go through her bathroom, bedroom and (clothing) drawers,” Alioto said.
In an interview, Alioto said the search, which was followed by a similar one in May 2018, came only after the city initially set mutually agreeable appointment times for inspections, then abruptly cancelled them.
Alioto believes the searches were designed to intimidate and “harass” Lee, and she claims the city is intentionally inflicting emotional distress on Lee in the years-long dispute.
“She doesn’t sleep, she cries all day. She is a mess,” Alioto said. “She has been absolutely mistreated by permit officers of the city,” she said.
At one point, when Lee visited the city offices, Alioto said a code enforcement manager, who has since retired, “made comments about Lee’s appearance” in front of other city staff, saying, ‘You look prettier without a hat.’”
Lee “repeatedly requested” to not deal with that code enforcement manager after that encounter, “but the city ignored her multiple requests,” Alioto said in a statement.