UWS Landlord Settles with Attorney General for Illegal Buyouts
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced that a landlord and developer of an Upper West Side building will pay the city a $500,000 settlement for illegally buying two elderly, rent-controlled tenants out of their units, and later trying to conceal the fraudulent transaction. The developer, who began converting apartments in the building into condominiums in May 2012, bought the units from them for $200,000 and $155,000 respectively in Dec. 2012 even though the conversion plans were still being reviewed and needed to be approved by the Attorney General before the transaction could occur.
The developer made a failed attempt to cover up the illegal buyouts by claiming that the tenants were not paying their rent, thereby causing them to settle and purchase the apartments. The Attorney General's office discovered the problem while investigating separate complaints in the 111-unit building. No charges have been brought. According to the AG’s office, the money from the settlement will go directly toward building new low-income housing units. The settlement also requires the developer to pay New York $50,000 to cover costs of the investigation.