Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sleazy NYC Landlord Makes News Again, Ordered To Comply w/ Pre-Existing Buyout Agreement & Pay $124K In Tenant's Legal Fees After Failed Attempt To Dodge Contractual Obligation To Provide Senior Citizen w/ Renovated Rent-Regulated 1st Floor Apartment

In New York City, the Wall Street Journal reports:
  • Julie Collins agreed in 2006 to leave her modest, rent controlled-apartment in a building on West 57th Street in Midtown Manhattan to make way for the luxury apartment tower known as One57.

    In exchange, she took a cash buyout and a walk-up unit on a high floor of an Upper West Side brownstone. The deal included a promise that she could move to a lower floor when an apartment became available.(1)

    Ten years later, Ms. Collins, 69 years old, is still waiting for that lower-floor apartment.

    Her experience shows the lengths that developers sometimes go to clear sites for gigantic towers—and how those plans can go off track.

    By all accounts, the developer of One57, Extell Development Co., honored the terms of the agreement it made with her. But a few years after Ms. Collins moved, Extell sold the brownstone to Steven Croman, who has battled Ms. Collins and her lawyers for three years in court.

    A prominent Manhattan landlord, Mr. Croman was arrested and charged in an unrelated criminal case last month with filing false statements to obtain loans on some of his buildings. He also was accused in a civil case of harassing rent-regulated tenants to try to get them to leave their apartments. Mr. Croman had denied any wrongdoing.

    In March, Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Cynthia S. Kern ordered Mr. Croman to pay $124,350 to cover Ms. Collins’s legal fees, while the final details of a renovation promised long ago by Extell were being worked out.

    Mr. Croman used the judicial system to force this elderly lady to climb four flights of stairs for years, while the first-floor apartment was empty without any rhyme or reason,” said Adam Leitman Bailey, who represented Ms. Collins. “This is a gross injustice, even though we prevailed.”
For more, see One57 Tower Deal Brings a Fight (One tenant sued to get what she was promised in exchange for moving: a first-floor apartment) (may require paid subscription, if no subscription, GO HERE, then click the appropriate link for the story).
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(1) Reportedly, a 17-page agreement was signed by Ms. Collins and the developer in which she received $600,000 in cash and which said she would be charged $388.73 a month for a rent-stabilized apartment, according to the agreement filed in court. The agreement also included two pages laying out Ms. Collins’s right-of-first refusal when a lower-floor apartment became available, and showed the lengths that the developer went to meet Ms. Collins’s needs, according to the story. One page spelled out renovation specifications, including the installation of a loft bed, the story states.

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