La Casa director Raquel Lopez
Paul Wellman

About 50 community members filled La Casa de la Raza on Monday to discuss plans to sell the storied property. La Casa attorneys explained the sale is necessary to settle $1.2 million in debt, and blamed Tomas Castelo, one of La Casa’s original founders, for their troubles. Castelo bought La Casa’s mortgage two years ago and then threatened foreclosure. Castelo is owed more than $800,000, and he charges that La Casa’s board of directors is not legally constituted to authorize such a sale. For community activists, the meeting was emotionally fraught. Some blamed management for La Casa’s financial woes; others insisted it was time to move on. Directors expressed confidence that they would only sell to a buyer sympathetic to La Casa’s mission. The matter returns to bankruptcy court on May 18.


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