State Investigates Owner's Alleged Pattern of Harassment
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently launched an investigation into allegedly illegal tactics used by a Manhattan owner to force out rent-stabilized tenants across 100 residential buildings he owns in Manhattan.
As part of the investigation, the attorney general also sent a “cease and desist” order to one of the owner’s ex-cop employees. Tenants stated that the former police officer had been using harassment and intimidation techniques to try to drive them out of their apartments. In addition, tenants claim that the owner regularly files frivolous lawsuits against residents and refuses to make repairs.
Not long after the start of the investigation, the owner’s tenants at one building that’s under a partial vacate order on the Lower East Side filed a new lawsuit claiming that the owner refused to renew leases. The new lawsuit also alleges that the owner is using a former police officer to intimidate rent-stabilized tenants into leaving the building. The tenants’ suit claims that the employee repeatedly approached the tenants, claiming to be either a contractor or a private detective, demanding access to their apartments.
The Department of Buildings issued a partial vacate order in April in connection with renovations at the building, the suit claims. The order indicates that the building has a “cellar bearing wall crack at various locations,” and that the wall is missing bricks and “bulging and leaning on gas pipes.” A $1,000 fine was levied in relation to the vacate order.