Brockholst Burglaries Spur Rent Strike and Article 7A Discussions

Reliable sources from tenants living at the Brockholst, 101 West 85th Street, are fed up with the apparently deficient and negligent security and safety measures in place at the building. Although RCR Management personnel at the office at 155 Riverside Drive has been apprised of the fire safety, health and security issues, there has been only cursory responses.

Currently, tenant mail packages are being stolen and a mirror attached to the wall in the lobby of the building was stolen as evidenced by the management’s video security recordings clearly showing the perpetrator in flagrante delicto on May 4, 2014 at 4:18 a.m. Yet, after 2 weeks, no police reports were filed and tenants were not notified of these incidents. If not legally required to do so, one would think that, from a moral and ethical point of view, some action would be taken or notice given. While tenured tenants are not surprised given that the fire in 2012 was a result of electrical wiring problems in apartment 6-12 where the wiring was never inspected in over 40 years, the well-documented agency complaints describing the blocking of fire exits in the basement, multiple heat and hot water complaints, children with high blood levels of lead, etc., it is noteworthy that the market rate tenants are now also antagonized.

And so it would appear that the so-called video monitoring security system is in place for RCR Management – Ari Paul, Brian Tarzik, Richard Eisenberg, and others – solely in order to snoop upon the tenants and has nothing to do with the tenants’ security or safety which apparently occupies no position of priority for the owners or management.

The tenants took it upon themselves to notify each other via their own advanced networking technology, as Ari Paul has forbidden any bulletin postings by tenants anywhere in the building. Apparently, he does not want tenants to communicate amongst themselves. Too bad. Actually, they do communicate quite well, and often.

Discussions have begun, exploring the potential for a full building rent strike until the security issues are resolved. An Article 7A proceeding in New York City Civil Court – Housing Part is also possible.

The following is copied from the NY Courts website:

Article 7A Proceedings

Article 7A of the Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law (RPAPL) allows at least 1/3 of the tenants in the building, or the New York State Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) to ask the court to appoint an administrator to run the building in place of the owner, when there exists for at least 5 days any of the conditions listed in the RPAPL. For further information, you may refer to RPAPL sec. 770(1).

70. Grounds for the proceeding

1. One-third or more of the tenants occupying a dwelling located in the city of New York or the commissioner of the department of the city of New York charged with enforcement of the housing maintenance code of such city, or in the counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland and Westchester may maintain a special proceeding as provided in this article, upon the ground that there exists in such dwellings or in any part thereof a lack of heat or of running water or of light or of electricity or of adequate sewage disposal facilities, or any other condition dangerous to life, health or safety, which has existed for five days, or an infestation by rodents, or any combination of such conditions; or course of conduct by the owner or his agents of harassment, illegal eviction, continued deprivation of services or other acts dangerous to life, health or safety.

2. If the proceeding is instituted by the commissioner of the department of the city of New York charged with enforcement of the housing maintenance code of such city, one-third or more of the tenants may, at any time thereafter during the pendency of the proceeding or after final judgment pursuant to section seven hundred seventy-six or seven hundred seventy-seven of this article, petition for substitution of themselves in place and stead of such commissioner of such department. Such substitution shall be ordered by the court unless good reason to the contrary shall be shown.

Stop Work Orders? Fuggetaboutit!

Although there was a Stop Work Order in effect at 102 West 86th Street, this did not stop Rick Eisenberg and company from building an exterior deck on the roof of the 2nd floor rear apartment and converting a window into a full-length french door resulting in a “change of use” (from roof to deck) and a “change in egress” (from window to door) in a landmark building, no less. Construction permit? Fuggetaboutit!

Although many complaints were filed with the DOB, and an inspector actually was able to view the deck as witnessed by a tenant in the building, the issue is closed on the DOB web site claiming they were “unable to gain access”. Hmmm…..Actually, it’s really astonishing to note the low ratio of complaints to violations in many of their buildings.

Meanwhile, here are some pics of the deck construction which was built by a small army at an amazing pace within five days between May 8th and May 13th, 2008:

pict18833

pict1906

pict1914

This is the same building that recently converted two apartments on the top floor into one apartment so that it would no longer be governed under rent stabilization rules. Cute!

Let the Brockholst Children Breathe Lead Dust

According to a NY Times article by Christopher Gray on January 2, 2000, Marcus Retter and his father-in-law, Charles Rosen a/k/a Chiel Rosenblatt, bought the 1890 Romananesque revival building at 101 West 85th Street, called the Brockholst, in 1956.

Although this was another building with a Stop Work Order, a complaint was filed on May 12, 2008 regarding an illegal renovation of apartment #4 on the 5th floor. Another surprise is the fact that there is no Complaint Disposition/Inspection History by the NYC DOB.

Meanwhile, Richard Eisenberg’s General Contractor, Eliot Gans, officially filed for a permit on June 18, 2008 to renovate apartment #5-4 as follows:
ALTERATION TYPE 2 – GEN.CONSTRUCTN.
RENOVATE APARTMENT REPLACE EXISTING FIXTURES IN EXISTING LOCS W/NEW ADD ONE HANFICAP ADAPTABLE BATHROOM INSTALL DROP CEILING THROUGOUT USING 2 2/1″ MTL STUB FRAMING RENOVATE EXISTING PARTITIONS W/ SHEETROCK RELOCATE KITCHEN AS SHOWN O N DRAWING FILED HEREWITH NO CAHNGE IN USE EGRESS OR OCCUPANCY [sic]

Here is what the dumpster in front of the Brockholst looked like on July 9, 2008:

pict1971

pict1979

Wow. The overflowing dumpster would seem to indicate a full “gut” demolition/renovation rather than what was filed. Hmmm…..

Meanwhile, the dust and debris in the building was unparalleled, not to mention the dislodging of vermin (waterbugs, mice, rats) formerly living behind the walls, and made it all the worse for children and numerous dogs and cats who live in the building.

How the DHCR Inspector Was Duped

Here is how 85 Columbus Corp at 101 West 85th Street (the Brockholst) tried to push through a $1.755 million MCI rent increase against the tenants.

On the days before (September 27-28, 2009) the DHCR Inspector arrived (September 29,2009) to inspect the exterior pointing, they cosmetically corrected all evidence of inadequate exterior pointing as would have been shown by multiple leaks in public area walls and ceilings. Ari Paul would not allow any tenants to speak with Cambos Kyriakos, the DHCR Inspector.

Approximately one month before the DHCR inspection, apartments 2-4, 3-4, 4-5, 6-1, 6-3, 6-14 had rooms shortened by the addition of Durock cement walls added over the areas of exterior wall leaks. Tenants were threatened with eviction if they did not allow the cosmetic work to be completed. Some tenants had physical injuries and destroyed personal property as result of the inexperience of the workers.

 

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera

Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera Digital StillCamera