Richmond Community Rallies Behind Menbe

Don Gosney


Coming just one day after the greater Richmond community learned that the Pantera Company—an Oklahoma Corporation controlled by Richmond developer Richard Poe—had sent a formal 30-day eviction notice to Menbere Aklilu (most commonly known as Menbe), the community gathered to show their support for Saluté e Vita Ristorante, the iconic Richmond treasure owned and run by Menbe.

Flanked by reporters, cameras and microphones from just about every TV and radio news outlet in the area, Menbe and Richmond Mayor Tom Butt explained what they knew—which was scant little.

The day before Menbe received the notice giving her until September 8th to vacate the premises.  The lease—held since 1993—is a month-to-month lease so a 30-day notice is all that is legally required.

There was no explanation given and many in the community—including Radio Free Richmond—have reached out to Mr. Poe trying to learn what’s going on and what might be done to preserve an establishment that has become synonymous with Richmond.

When Radio Free Richmond first learned of this eviction notice on Monday afternoon, an email was sent to Mr. Poe offering him an opportunity to address the public and explain the eviction from his point of view.  It’s early yet (just 24 hours have passed) but there’s been no response as yet.

At the gathering there was a suggestion that perhaps there had been complaints registered about Saluté but Menbe provided a report from the County Board of Health on an inspection from just a few days prior giving Saluté a clean bill of health.

Mayor Butt told the crowd that he had reached out to Mr. Poe—via email—asking if perhaps someone might be able to purchase property with the goal of then leasing the property back to Menbe.Blogfoto-TB.jpg

When members asked if the Mayor’s Office could provide any contact information for Mr. Poe so they might communicate with him, the Mayor’s Office offered Mr. Poe’s business card with the following information:


Virtual Development Corporation

(510) 233-5595

[email protected]

1387 Marina Way South, Suite 200, Richmond, CA 94804

 Poe Enterprises

(918) 749-6873

2131 East 29th Street

Tulsa, OK  74114


Please visit for copies of the eviction notices, health inspection report and more photos from the rally.

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