A rent dispute between Libros Revolucion Books and its landlord has resulted in the filing of a three-day eviction notice against the progressive Los Angeles bookstore that promotes the literature of the Revolutionary Communist Party. “This notice appeared out of the blue,” said the store’s press contact Nicole Lee. “We find it curious that we received it now, just a month into the campaign that we call ‘The Revolution We Need, The Leadership We Have.’” Libros Revolucion, which has been at the same downtown L.A. location for 21 years, claims that it has always paid its rent and when they’ve been late in the past they’ve eventually caught up on it without being issued an eviction notice. The store, which has an all-volunteer staff, has launched a major campaign against its landlord, California Broadway Trade Center, encouraging customers to contact the business and help stop the eviction.
Libros Revolucion is housed in a location that “has no bathroom, no air conditioning and is run down,” Lee said. “We’re asking our supporters to tell the landlord he should give us more time to come up with the money and to lower the rent.” The store is also calling for donations to help pay the rent and outstanding balance of $8,100.
“This is ridiculous,” said landlord Shahram Afshani, who has owned the building for 12 years. “This has been going on for four or five months, and they’ve had every opportunity to pay. They’ve not lived up to their promise to me.” While he insists that Libros Revolucion is welcome to stay on the premises, and has no intention of evicting them, the fact remains that the bookstore is in arrears on its rent. “They shouldn’t be badmouthing me or the building. I’ve already received 100 e-mails,” he complained. An attorney for the bookstore is negotiating with Afshani; they are close to an agreement that will allow Libros Revolucion to pay half the balance owed by August 31 and the remainder in installments by the end of the year. Providing the store meets these terms and continues to pay its usual monthly rent, which, the landlord says, falls “below market,” the eviction notice will be lifted.
When asked about the alleged conditions in the store Afshami remarked, “They’ve been here like this for 21 years. No one is holding them hostage. They can get up and leave whenever they’d like. After all, it’s a free market society.”