By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee
Published: Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 6B
Last Modified: Tuesday, Jul. 20, 2010 – 8:29 am

CalPERS was sued Monday by the First Amendment Coalition over its refusal to turn over documents relating to a controversial real estate investment.

The nonprofit coalition sued in San Francisco Superior Court, seeking documents concerning the California Public Employees’ Retirement System’s ill-fated $100 million investment in Page Mill Properties, a collection of rental houses in East Palo Alto.

The deal was based on raising rents on units that were subject to the city’s rent-control law. The law generally forbids rate hikes unless a tenant moves out.

In this case, the Page Mill tenants claimed they were harassed and driven out of their homes so the investors could then raise rates. Critics said the investment ran counter to CalPERS’ reputation for socially conscious investing.

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