RCR Management: Squatters, Teen Vandals at Bayside Manor

As published in the Queens Courier, October 4, 2012:

Squatters, teen vandals trespassing in Queens development
By Melissa Chan

A quiet Bayside development has become the target of illegal trespassing after building management refused to put locks on basement doors that welcome homeless squatters and a band of teenage vandals, residents say.

“It’s the craziest thing. I’ve been in this community for 53 years. I don’t think I’ve ever had to deal with something like this,” said Bayside Manors resident Jack Oshier, 67. “We don’t have problems like this in Bayside.”

According to Oshier, two basements in the apartment complex — located at 42-10 212th Street and 42-40 212th Street — have been facing major security issues since February, when residents learned their lower level laundry rooms had become guest houses for sleeping homeless people and a recurring group of at least 10 teenagers looking for a place to hang out and drink.

The nightly visitors, Oshier said, do not even have to break in, since they freely enter and exit through the unlocked basement doors left ajar every hour of the day.

The basements are not connected to the residential sections of the building, but residents say they are still scared to venture down at night in fear of running into an intruder.

“I don’t go at night once it gets dark, and I do all my laundry early in the morning,” said resident Debbie Sindicic. “But that’s when I find all the remnants of the night before.”

Sindicic, who has found small, empty plastic baggies lying around the basement floors, said she suspects the crashers are smoking marijuana.

Oshier said he sees the same homeless man leaving the 42-40 212th Street basement every morning and has picked up empty beer cans strewn around the basement rooms in the other building. Residents have also allegedly spotted the teens engaging in sexual activity at times, he said.

Still, officials at WPH Apartments Inc., which manages the buildings, have not lifted a finger to fix the problem, Oshier said.

“This situation has turned almost criminal,” he said. “Suppose someone gets hurt? What if someone follows a tenant into the laundry room? The majority of residents here have an animosity toward the situation because management here has a very casual attitude about what is happening.”

Management did not return calls for comment, but in a February 24 letter sent to Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, managing agent Ohad Badani promised to lock basement doors each night at 8 p.m. and to instruct staff members to inspect the laundry rooms for loiterers periodically throughout the day.

“Furthermore, in the coming months, we intend to install new building entrance doors. Once the installation of the entrance doors is completed, we will look into installing the same locks on the laundry room doors,” Badani wrote.

But more than half a year later, residents and Braunstein’s office say none of those changes have been implemented.

“It creates a dangerous element around the building,” said David Fischer, Braunstein’s chief of staff. “This is a situation where the building doesn’t seem to care about the safety of its residents.”

The 111th Precinct is “currently attempting to work with property managers to enforce trespass laws,” according to Community Affairs Officer Bill Conway. But unless building administration signs off on a trespass affidavit, police cannot make arrests, he said.

“We want it fixed,” Oshier said. “It just doesn’t make sense. What is the big deal about putting the proper security lock on a door?”

Landlord Forced to Halt Illegal Construction at the Brockholst

The original article in NY Press was published on August 10, 2011 and is reprinted below:

Landlord Forced to Halt Illegal Construction

By Megan Finnegan

Tenants of the landmarked building at 101 West 85th Street, known in its heyday as The Brockholst Apartments, are hoping that their home doesn’t collapse before their eyes. In dealing with what several tenants claim is an irresponsible and unresponsive landlord, residents are worried that their latest problem, illegal construction in the basement, could cause structural problems for the 122-year-old building.

On July 16, the Department of Buildings inspected the property and immediately issued a full stop work order for construction being done in the basement. According to the DOB, the building’s landlord, listed as 85th Columbus Corporation, had never filed for a work permit to transform the basement of the building into what will supposedly be a commercial space suitable for medical leasing. A sign on the building advertises the space for rent. Ari Paul, who identified himself on the phone as the property manager for 101 West 85th Street and is listed as the contact person on city reports, refused to comment for this story and hung up on a reporter who called with questions.

The building at 101 West 85th Street.

The building at 101 West 85th Street. Photos by Andrew Schwartz.

Marta White, the secretary of the building’s tenant committee, who lives on the first floor with her daughter, grandson and five cats, has been cataloguing grievances that stretch back several years. She claims the city has failed to properly punish the landlord for a history of cutting corners and avoiding the scrutiny of various public agencies. She has gone to Community Board 7, to City Council Member Gale Brewer and to as many city agencies who will take her calls to register complaints about unsafe construction and shady inspection processes that she says are de rigueur for the property.

“What’s the point of having a buildings department?” asked White. “They got a stop work order for the basement because it was full of pretty big trenches. They got a stop work order that said that tenants could not get to the rear egress, so they had to fix the floors.”

That stop work order, issued in March, was rescinded in April when the landlord cured the violations, providing two means of egress from the basement. But with the most recent stop work order, White said, the same problems are back again.

Ernie Smith, who owns an embroidery company that caters to Broadway productions, has lived in the building for 43 years and testified to the landlord’s lax adherence to city regulations.

“What we’re trying to get addressed is for the landlord to play by the rules, follow the city regulations and do things properly so that he doesn’t jeopardize our existence here in the building,” said Smith. He said he’s afraid that the landlord hires subpar workers and skirts permitting processes in ways that could severely damage the structure of the old building.

“Over the years, as tenants have moved out, the landlord has made renovations to apartments to rent them at a higher rate,” Smith said, but often fails to file for any permits to do so.

“For example, he put a penthouse on the roof and didn’t file the paperwork when we discovered six years later that he was supposed to replace the roof,” Smith said.

The building currently has an open Environmental Control Board violation for constructing two penthouse apartments without permits; the $800 fine was paid (with $50 extra thrown in) but the violation is still listed as open, with no compliance recorded.

He also noted that two apartments on the sixth floor were split into four tiny apartments without any permits whatsoever, a claim backed up by DOB inspectors as noted on the most recent stop work order for the basement.

Smith and White say there are many examples of dangerous conditions in the building. According to the DOB, the building has 144 complaints listed, 44 DOB violations (4 of them open) and 39 ECB violations (3 open). In December of last year, for example, a report from the city’s Department of Health identified unsafe work practices on a floor that had been found to contain lead paint. The description notes that a complete renovation was being done in one apartment, without permits, and was contaminating public spaces with lead dust.

City Council Member Gale Brewer said that the tenants’ complaints are justified, and she has been working with them to get some of the issues remedied, but is at a loss herself as to how this type of illegal construction could go on.

“I don’t understand how the city can allow this kind of enterprise,” said Brewer. “I sent it to the Department of Investigations because I didn’t know what to do.” She is waiting for a response from the DOI and said she hopes more facts will come to light when the landlord must appear at an Environmental Control Board hearing on Sept. 8 as a result of the latest stop work order.

Everton Harris, a spokesperson for the DOB, confirmed that the stop work order had been issued because of hazardous or illegal construction, but said that DOB has to take each violation on a case-by-case basis and is limited in how they can address cumulative problems, other than by increasing fines for repeat offenses.

“The tenants can complain about work being done,” Harris said. “We’re not a law enforcement agency, we just issue the violations.”

One of the most immediate concerns is one that is difficult for any single city agency to address—that of the fire escape routes.

Blocked exit from the basement to the front of the building.

Blocked exit from the basement to the front of the building.

“The backyard of our building is a holding area in the event of a fire,” said Smith. “There’s supposed to be a way to get out of the holding area. They put a push bar in front of a fence” that leads to the backyard of a neighboring brownstone, but doesn’t provide access to the street.

“If there were a fire, it would be a reenactment of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Our building would go up in smoke because there’s a lot of wood in it,” Smith said.

“The main concern that we have is fire and egress,” said Brewer, pointing out that there is no way to escape the basement with the current illegal construction, which has now been blocked by locked wooden doors with “no trespassing” signs affixed to them.

“The reason for the no trespassing sign is the very suspect legality of what they’re doing in the basement,” said White.

The tenants hope the landlord will be slapped with bigger fines at the upcoming hearing, but they don’t know what might remedy the problems they’ve already had and prevent the landlord from doing illegal work in the future.

“Restaurant inspectors come in and fine restaurant owners thousands of dollars for having an egg on the counter,” Smith said. “Inspectors come to our building and they see all these flagrant violations and do nothing.”

How To Organize a Tenants Association

Some of the tenants of the buildings listed on the Property Profiles page (linked on the tab, above) have already organized. However, if you have not started your tenants association yet, the following (reprinted from the Tenants & Neighbors web site) may be of assistance to you. Eventually, all tenants of these buildings will have the opportunity to join a building-wide alliance.

Step One: Examine your building carefully – get a feel for it
• How many units are there?
• How many tenants in the building?
• What kind of tenants are they
(rent controlled, rent stabilized, Section 8, etc.)
• Are repairs being neglected?
• Does the building lack heat, hot water or other basic services?
• Is there are a problem with building staff?
• Are there security issues in the building?

Step Two: Involve Your Neighbors
Start talking to your neighbors, both people you know and those you see in the elevator or hallways. You may find it difficult at first, but don’t be afraid or embarrassed. Chances are that people share your concerns. The worst that can happen is that they will not be interested. If you are really serious about organizing a tenant association, you will have to talk to people you don’t know at some point, so you might as well start now.

Tell your neighbors that you want to discuss whether the building can benefit from a tenant association. Ask them if they are interested in attending a meeting and ask them to start thinking about common needs and problems. Exchange names and telephone numbers and let them know when you will contact them about the meeting. (Keep a list so that you don’t leave anyone out.) Call the meeting within one or two weeks following these conversations so that interest doesn’t wane.

Now that you have a core group of people (4-5 is a good start) who have expressed an interest in talking about organizing your building, you are ready for a preliminary meeting to discuss forming a tenant association.

Step Three: The Preliminary Meeting
This meeting can be held in your apartment. Offer some refreshments if you can – coffee, tea and cookies are fine. Don’t start “business” right away. Let people have the opportunity to talk to each other first.
When you’re ready, introduce yourself and ask others to tell a little about themselves: how long they have lived in the building, what their interests are, and why they came to the meeting. You may be the only person to have spoken to everyone, so it’s important to share information. Give an overview of what you noted about the building. Encourage everyone to speak, but at this stage discourage people from discussing priorities.

Key Questions To Raise
• Why organize a tenant association?
• Are there common needs/problems in the building?
• What would be the purpose of a tenant association?
• What does each person want the tenant association to accomplish?

Keep in mind that this meeting is only a beginning. You may all decide that the time is not ripe for a tenant association. If, though, things seem to be moving along well, discuss calling a second, planning meeting. Ask each person to bring one additional person to the planning meeting, ideally to be held the following week. (Try not to wait more than two weeks for the next meeting.) Ask if someone else would like to host the meeting.

Step Four-A: The Planning Meeting
Basically, the process at this meeting will resemble the first, but because new people will be there, it is important to encourage their participation and ideas. Ask the new people to identify what is important to them in the building, and as a group rank issues in order of importance. Make a written list. Include any issues raised during the first meeting. Keep in mind that though this group is setting priorities it is still a small group, and these priorities are only tentative.

With this larger group of people you have the makings of a steering committee for the tenant association, though you still don’t have a tenant association yet. Begin thinking about calling a full meeting of all the tenants in your building.

Step Four-B: The Planning Meeting
How Will The Meeting Be Advertised?
Generally, a flier – a one-page announcement – is the best way to publicize the meeting. Someone on the steering committee may have an artistic skill and can design the flier. A computer can make creating fliers easier but you can do it by hand. If you’re really having trouble, you can ask a Tenants & Neighbors organizer for assistance.
In designing the flier, make sure that the DATE, TIME and PLACE of the meeting jump out at the reader. Try not to make the flier too wordy – people should know what the meeting is about by just glancing at the flier. Use simple phrases, such as:
‘Tenant Alert: Meeting to discuss forming a Tenant Association
Come and Meet Your Neighbors!’
It’s a good idea to include the name and telephone number of a steering committee member in case your neighbors want more information.
Make enough fliers for everyone in the building. Ask someone in the group if they are able to duplicate the flier at their job. If this isn’t possible, look for a local printer who could reproduce the flier for free. (You can reward the business by putting its name on the flier: “Printing services donated by Joe’s copy joint”) Or look for a community center or neighborhood agency that could print the fliers.

Step Four-C: The Planning Meeting
How Will The Fliers Be Distributed?

Depending on the number of people on the steering committee, you can:
Ask members to post fliers in the hallways on their floor and leave one under the door of each apartment.
If all the floors are not represented on the steering committee ask members to do extra floors.
Once again, you have the right to distribute and post fliers in your building. However, in some buildings the management rips down the fliers or tells the tenants that such postings are not allowed. If the building staff is tearing down your fliers you just have to keep putting them up. The best way to do this is to carry a few extra fliers with you and some tape, so that when you see that a flier has been removed, it will be easy for you to replace it with a new fresh one.
If the building management is giving you a real problem with this let your Tenants & Neighbors organizer know.
In addition to distributing and posting the flier, the best way to get people to attend your meeting is to speak to them personally. You can organize a door-knocking excursion to remind tenants of the meeting and urge them to attend. Don’t forget to remind your neighbors of the meeting when you run into them, inside or outside the building.

Step Five: The Full Tenant Association Meeting
The full building meeting is the real start of a tenant association.
At your first full meeting, a planning committee with a slate of officers (president, vice president, secretary & treasurer) should be elected to lead the association for six months to a year.

Tenant associations normally hold elections annually, and some impose term limits for officers. (Tenants & Neighbors can provide by-laws and help in planning your elections.) Once officers are elected, those attending the meeting should outline possible activates and projects for the association, including later meetings. The number of tenant association meetings should be determined by the by-laws. Some tenant associations’ meet monthly, though it is better to meet about four times a year unless there is an emergency.

In addition to officers, you might want to recruit volunteers for other tenant association activities i.e. floor captains to spread the word about future meetings, door knockers to recruit more members or an artist to design posters and leaflets. Try to get as many people involved as possible.

I would also add that collecting email addresses for updates, news, meeting reminders, and fund raising can be very helpful.


Community Facility On Hold for 101 West 85th Street

Due to the unauthorized variations in procedure relative to the landmark preservation approval of the community facility planned for the basement of the Brockholst at 101 West 85th Street, the NYC Department of Buildings Manhattan Borough Commissioner’s Office has chosen to “put the job on hold until it can be reviewed”. There is concern regarding “accuracy of the filing under Application #120164464″ and “The Department has initiated an audit of the referenced application”.


The full-sized proposed demolition and construction plans as submitted to the Landmark Preservation Commission can be seen/downloaded in PDF format by clicking on each of the 8 screen shots below:









As expressed by one of the Brockholst tenants:

Before the Brockholst destruction for the community facility


After the Brockholst destruction for the community facility


Upper West Side Slumlord Pollution

With all the controversy and debate at the June 1, 2010 Manhattan Community Board 7 meeting about the bicycle lane on Columbus Avenue from 96th Street to 77th Street, there was little time to address a few other important issues. One Brockholst tenant emailed me one of several documents objecting to the proposed community facility in the cellar of the Brockholst building at 101 West 85th Street that was submitted to Community Board 7. Here is the first page:

Gulf Oil Spill on the Upper West Side for CB 7 June 1, 2010
Financing a Slumlord with Taxpayer Money Who Does Not Provide Essential Services and Pollutes the Environment

The owners of the Brockholst are planning to construct a Community Facility in the cellar. With landmark status, the building at 101 West 85th Street was originally built before 1900. It is a combustible brick and wood frame building using #6 Fuel Oil. There are two restaurants on the Columbus Avenue side with two kitchens as well as the boiler in the cellar of the building where, currently, there is not even a sprinkler system in place.

Burning #6 Fuel Oil creates “a rain of toxic soot that aggravates asthma, increases the risk of cancer, exacerbates respiratory illnesses and can cause premature death” according to the Environmental Defense Fund’s December 2009 study, titled: The Bottom of the Barrel: How the Dirtiest Heating Oil Pollutes Our Air and Harms Our Health. The EDF study describes #6 Fuel Oil as “unrefined sludge laced with pollutants” and concludes that “Each gallon of No. 6 burned creates 18.8 times more soot (PM) pollution than No. 2 heating oil according to the EPA emission standards”.

Even the  NYC Community Air Survey Winter 2008-2009 issued by Mayor Michael Bloomberg office states that residential, commercial and institutional heating systems release 50% more fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and 17 times more SO2 than cars and trucks on New York City’s roads. The sludge-burning buildings in the city contribute 87 percent of the city’s heating oil soot pollution. There is proposed legislation to phase out the use of #6 and #4 Fuel Oils. Eventually, this dirty oil will be banned. The city is already converting some of its own heavy-oil-burning boilers to natural gas, after identifying 100 city school buildings burning No. 6 oil in neighborhoods with high asthma rates.

On the upper west side, the owners’ non-profit family trusts hold a total of 19 buildings under various DBA names with a total market value of approx. $2 billion. All boilers burn #6 Fuel Oil. With 1247 apartments and more than 300 HPD complaints, these buildings are burning approximately 776,511 gallons of #6 Fuel Oil, resulting in a huge failure to protect the community against toxic chemicals. In addition, the building owners and management only perform repairs relative to serious complaints of mold, heat and hot water, vermin including mice, rats, and bedbugs, serious leaks through the ceilings and walls described as “cascading waterfalls” when such complaints are reported and listed as violations or when tenants withhold rent to present their case in housing court under retaliatory threat of eviction. When repairs area performed, they are often self-certified and rarely re-inspected. The lack of concern for their tenants’ and other upper west side residents’ health and welfare is astonishing.

According to the DOB web site, several of the boilers in these buildings have not been inspected for years and do not have Certificates to Operate. The Brockholst certificate, for example, expired on October 28, 2009. Most previous inspections were certified by their own boiler installer, Irving Bauer, who inspects boilers in most if not all of their buildings.

Permission to construct the community facility in the cellar at 101 West 85th Street would further enable and subsidize slumlord management and the production of pollution via the resulting tax break which would be financed by taxpayers. The proposal should be scrutinized with an awareness of the entire building portfolio’s complaints, violations, mismanagement along with the pollution production.

The complete 25 page document may be accessed here.


Thinking of Living in Dumont Terrace Apartments?

Below are a few reviews excerpts from tenants of Dumont Terrace Apartments from ApartmentRatings.com, providing some evidence of a reliably consistent mismanagement style:

02/02/2010 A year of HELL NO 2.0
I was a former tenant and never want to relive that experience. There is not enough parking spaces for ALL the people who live there. There is a rule in that town that you can not park infront of the … more
08/04/2009 poor maintenance NO 2.0
these apartments were lovely and well maintained up until about 18 months ago. now the grass is cut maybe once every 3 weeks and this is in the height of summer. as i write this the grass in front of … more
04/13/2009 terrible NO 1.0
the neigbors are down right unfriendly and noisy. The apartments get a bare minimum fix up when you move in and soon after the cracks in the slapped on paint begin to appear and you realize you overpaid the realtor … more
03/15/2009 Too much noise from kids and barking dogs! NO 3.0
I have been a tenant for 20 years. I have endured screaming kids under my windows and the barking dog in the ground floor apartment as well as yapping dogs in this court. No upgrades are made for current tenant (ie … more
08/20/2007 So far so good YES 3.0
I moved in here a few weeks ago and I found and read all these reviews after I signed the lease…I got real nervous. But everything has been great! The kitchen, windows, and vanity in the bathroom is all new. … more
08/14/2007 I enjoyed every minute of this place except…. YES 3.0
06/12/2007 The worst place to live in NJ NO 1.0
04/12/2007 Shocked!!! NO 1.0
01/17/2007 Steer Clear of Rental Agent!!!!!!!! NO 2.0
07/24/2006 Speaking from Experience NO 1.0
07/23/2006 BEWARE NO 1.0
03/14/2005 avoid at all costs NO 2.0
11/11/2004 Go for better if you can… NO 2.0
08/30/2004 OVERALL AWFUL NO 1.0
04/09/2003 better than a cardboard box? maybe NO 3.0

Original link: http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/NJ-Dumont-Dumont-Terrace-Apartments.html#ixzz0m4XbszQb

Bill de Blasio’s NYC Slumlord Watch List is Filling Up

Residents can submit their buildings for consideration using a simple form on the Web.

On September 12, 2009, Bill de Blasio announced the creation of his NYC Slumlord Watch List to call attention to negligent landlords who continually violate city housing laws. Landlords qualify for the Watch List when their housing fails to meet minimum health and safety standards and has open, life threatening violations. Specifically, buildings with fewer than 35 units must have an average of three open, serious violations (B and C violations) per unit. Larger buildings must have an average of at least two open serious violations (B and C violations) per unit. Documented violations may be found on the HPD website which also includes complaints placed through the city’s 3-1-1 line.

The Watch List has been updated weekly based on submissions from New Yorkers. Have you checked to see whether your landlord’s mismanagement of your building qualifies for inclusion on the NYC Slumlord Watch List?


Eisenberg Retter Schreiber Pollak Families’ Property List Update includes Manhattan, Queens, and New Jersey

Ownership of all properties remains within the families of the four sisters, while Mary Schreiber is listed as Head Officer and Richard Eisenberg is listed as Officer of the Manhattan and Queens real estate. The updated list now includes their following properties, mostly managed by Ari Paul under RCR Management LLC at 155 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10024:

Regina Estates at 100 West 86th Street, 85 Columbus Corp at 101 West 85th Street, Embel Realty at 102 West 86th Street, Ennismore Apartments, Inc at 120 West 79th Street, Riverside Syndicate, Inc at 155 Riverside Drive, Bedford Apartments Co, LLC at 166 West 86th Street, Regina Metropolitan Co, LLC at 21 West 96th Street, West 88 Street, LLC at 205 West 88th Street, Georgia Properties, Inc at 275 Central Park West, Oxford Towers, LLC at 280 Riverside Drive, 290 Riverside Co at 290 Riverside Drive, 305 Riverside Co at 305 Riverside Drive, Tulip Apartments at 412 West 110th Street, Mayflower Development Corp at 425 Riverside Drive, Hitchcock Plaza, Inc at 610 Amsterdam Avenue, Kent Equities at 760 Amsterdam Avenue, Atlantic Realty Apts, LLC at 900 West End Avenue, and West 122nd Street LLC at 515 West 122nd Street and 521 West 122nd Street. Most Manhattan properties are registered with HPD with Ari Paul as managing agent.

Neilson Gardens Inc at 1014 Neilson Street, Far Rockaway, ABK Apts Inc at 209-30 43 Avenue, Bayside, WPH Apts Inc at 211-01 42 Avenue, Bayside, SHR Apts Inc at 42-11 Corporal Kennedy Street,
42-41 Corporal Kennedy Street, 210-01 43 Avenue, and 210-02 42 Avenue, Bayside, Arizona Holding Corp at 84-50 Austin Street, and Braddock Garden Apts. Inc at 89-39 221st Place and 221-35 90 Avenue, Queens Village. Queens properties display HPD registration of Ohad Badani, RCR Management as managing agent.

New Jersey:
Dumont Terrace Apartments Inc at 110 Dulles Drive, Dumont, Marble Court Apts LLC at 121 Ayers Court, Teaneck, Elmwood Terrace Inc at 216 14th Ave, Elmwood, Sunnyside Village Inc at 216 N 4th Street, Vineland, Franklin Gardens Inc at 257 7th Street Clifton, Eldorado Village LLC at 302 High Street, Fairlawn, Glenwood Plaza Inc at 42 Elmwood Terrace, Elmwood Park, Maybrook Gardens Inc at 6 Maywood Drive, Maywood, Rosen Terrace Inc at 8900 Blvd East, North Bergen, and Jefferson Gardens Inc at 90 Day Street, Clifton.

The additions have been added to the Property Profiles page.   More detailed research is on the way, including Brooklyn.

Special thanks to Lovely Rita.

Procuring Insurance Is Not Equal To Indemnification

In the matter of Verduzco-Soto v. Georgia Properties Inc., a scaffold worker fell while descending from a scaffold, suffering personal injuries while working on the exterior of 275 Central Park West. He was working for Viles Contracting Corp, the contractor hired by Georgia Properties, the building owner.

Viles obtained insurance covering Georgia Properties pursuant to the “Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Contractor”, which does not include a clause requiring Viles to indemnify Georgia Properties.

Meanwhile, there was a subsequent “Hold Harmless” agreement, which contains an Indemnification clause between Viles as “Contractor” and RCR Management LLC and Affiliates as “Owner/Landlord.” Ari Paul, the RCR Management LLC managing agent, testified that: RCR was the property manager for the Building on the date of the alleged accident; neither he nor RCR had any relation to Georgia Properties; he did not report to Georgia Properties regarding the construction at issue; and he did not report to Georgia Properties in his capacity as managing agent of the Building.

Georgia Properties was cross-moving for summary judgment on the grounds that it is—or was intended to be—covered by the “Hold Harmless” Agreement between Viles Contracting Corp. and RCR Management LLC and its Affiliates, and lists this latter entity as the “Owner/Landlord.”

The Court concluded there was no evidence that Georgia Properties was an RCR Management LLC affiliate. Further, the President of RCR Management LLC testified that there was no relationship between Georgia Properties and RCR Management LLC, and that he had no responsibility to report to Georgia Properties regarding the construction being done by Viles or his management of the Building.

The Court was unmoved by Georgia Properties’ argument that Vile’s procurement of insurance coverage equates to an intention to indemnify, since an agreement to procure insurance is not an agreement to indemnify or hold harmless, and the distinction between the two is well recognized. So, Georgia Properties’ cross-motion was denied by the Court.

Ari Paul signs leases and renewals as “Owner” for 275 Central Park West and other properties held in trust for various beneficiaries (including Richard Eisenberg). RCR Management LLC and Georgia Properties (along with another 19 building corporations) list 155 Riverside Drive as their official address, according to the NY Department of State, Division of Corporations online database.

Perhaps the Court decision would have been different had any relationship between RCR Management LLC and Georgia Properties been elucidated.