Last year, a developer named Gerald Guterman pitched a plan to the Tenants Association to convert Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to co-ops. Now that the TA has chosen to go with another suitor on a conversion plan, Guterman has sent out letters to every resident of the complex stressing why tenants should still be considering him as the conversion’s sponsor.
The letter says, in part:
“To the Residents of Stuyvesant Town/ Peter Cooper Village:
“Are you concerned about your home at Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, as well as your own financial future?
“On November 30, 2011, to much fanfare, the Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association (the Association”) announced that it had entered into a “partnership” with Brookfield Asset Management (“Brookfield”) to acquire, and convey Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village to tenant ownership. Gutterman-Westwood Partners, LLC (“GWP”) and its affiliates, learned about the partnership from the Association’s announcemnents to the press, despite the fact that we have long offered the Association the opportunity to enter into a more tenant-beneficial partnership with us.
“We wish to remind you that we have previously provided the Association with, and announced publicly, the details of our proposed acquisition of the community and subsequent resale to tenants and outside purchasers. At a number of different meetings with your representatives, the law firm of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison (‘Paul Weiss’) and Moelis & Company (‘Moelis’) as as our separate meetings with your New York City Councilman, Daniel Garodnick (‘Garodnick’), we detailed a specific arrangement that would result in a very favorable transaction for those tenants seeking to purchase their apartments, as well as long term affordable rental for those units that are not acquired.
“During every one of these meetings, GWP explained why it was a poor choice for the tenants to consider a condominium for the residential apartments and provided very specific details concerning the reality and expense of recording 11,232 separate tax lots, as well as the fact that the rules and regulations of a cooperative did not have to be restrictive and shares could be freely transferable. Furthermore, we regard cooperative conversion as the best method for assuring that the character of the community is maintained (or, more accurately, the character of the community as it existed prior to its acquisition by Tishman Speyer, and the subsequent financial catastrophe that has befallen your community).”
The letter went on to say:
“The Association, via both Paul Weiss and Moelis, specifically directed GWP (Guterman Westwood Partners) not to communicate directly with you, the residents of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village about our written proposal and assured us that they and the Association would be responsive to our very firm and serious written plan – for which we have secured financing and which we are willing and able to execute.
“We note that our firm’s experience in cooperative apartment conversion in the City of New York is more extensive than that of any other firm, including Brookfield.”