Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Lawsuit Filings Accusing NYC Landlords Of Intimidation, Harassment To Drive Rent Regulated Tenants Out Of Their Homes Continue

In Bushwick, Brooklyn, DNAinfo (NYC) reports:
  • A Brooklyn superintendent is waging a campaign of intimidation and sexual harassment on the tenants of two buildings, telling residents that the neighborhood used to be a "n--ger area" and the landlord now wants "upper crust whites," according to two lawsuits.(1)

    The building handyman, Peter Minic, who is identified as Peter Doe in court papers, told one female tenant that he would like to "take [her] and give her a good f---k," threatened to move a drug dealer into an empty apartment to beat up another resident and offered repeated buyout offers despite renters' insistence they want to stay in their homes, according to sworn statements from multiple tenants.

    And the landlords, brothers Graham and Gregory Jones of GRJ LLC and Dallien Realty, who explained to The New York Times that they built their real estate empire by buying up buildings and getting rid of rent-regulated tenants, stand by Minic after four months of tenant complaints, warning letters from lawyers and two lawsuits.
    Beyond the harassment allegations in those two buildings, a group of disabled tenants in a third Jones brothers building at 946 Bushwick Ave. recently sued in federal court(2) to keep them from cutting off the building's only elevator during repairs that could last for up to six months.

    The brothers — who described a "track record" of purchasing old buildings and selling them for millions more a few short years later on their website — made their foray into Bushwick real estate last August, when they bought the three rent-stabilized buildings with about 100 apartments for a combined $27.5 million, property records show.

    About a week after the purchases, Minic unleashed a campaign of verbal and sexual harassment on several tenants, according to court affidavits.
    Despite tenant complaints going back to August, the landlords defend Minic, while admitting he was "rough around the edges."

    Caitrin Coccoma, a lawyer with Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A,(3) said that when she alerted the landlord about tenant harassment in September, Jones defended the super.

    "I'm not going to bring on someone else to do the repair work when Peter is more qualified," Jones wrote back on Oct. 3.

    When asked Friday about the slew of accusations detailed in two housing court allegations, Jones called them "categorically false."
For the story, see Landlords Use Abusive Super in Bid to Boot Out Rent-Reg Tenants, Suits Say.
(1) For the lawsuits, see:
(2) See Collado, et. al. v. 946 Bushwick Ave., LLC, et al.

(3) Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides legal services (full legal representation, brief advice/services, and legal education) to low-moderate income individuals, families, not-for-profit community-based organizations (CBOs), and community development corporations (CDCs) in Brooklyn and throughout New York City.