Leonard Powell lives in the Berkeley home where he raised six children and worked on a novel with his dying wife. But he barely recognizes the place.
Powell can see that his fireplace is gone, the Redwood wainscoting has been removed and new tiles cover the floor.
And he’s stuck with a $1 million bill for upgrades he didn’t want.
“I’m not denying the house needed work,” Powell said. “But it didn’t need all that.”
He lost control of his house after the city of Berkeley sued him for code violations and asked a judge to appoint a receiver to fix the problems. The company, the Bay Area Receivership Group, then made the decisions about what to renovate and how to do it.