Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association, CWCapital settle MCI dispute

Retroactive charges eliminated for all tenants who moved in before October, 2013, monthly charges eliminated for ‘Roberts’ and SCRIE/DRIE tenants and reduced by 5 percent for others

 

ST-PCV Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, pictured at a rally in May against mid-lease rent increases (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

ST-PCV Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg, pictured at a rally in May against mid-lease rent increases (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
After months of negotiations, the Stuyvesant Town–Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association and CWCapital settled the dispute over the five major capital improvements (MCIs) that residents were socked with at once last fall. On Thursday morning, the state housing agency, the Division of Housing and Community Renewal, issued an order confirming the agreement, the Tenants Association announced.

The news, announced on the TA’s website, said that the settlement will “significantly reduce the impact of the recently approved MCIs for tenants.”
The settlement eliminates all of the retroactive charges for current tenants and reduces the monthly increases by 5 percent. “Roberts” tenants won’t be charged any monthly MCI, nor will SCRIE/DRIE tenants.
“The Tenants Association appreciates having been able to negotiate these issues amicably with CWCapital,” said TA Chair Susan Steinberg. “Residents have been saved a great deal of money in retroactive costs, which have been completely eliminated, and some relief in the MCI rent additions. Notably, the negotiations saved months of time and lots of money in legal filings and responses. The best news is that the outcome is at least as favorable to tenants as any we could have won the harder way.”
Andrew MacArthur, managing director of CWCapital Asset Management, also cheered the settlement.
“We are very pleased to have worked with the Tenants Association to reach a settlement,” said MacArthur. “We have worked closely with the TA to reach an agreement that mitigates the impact of the increases for our residents and brings finality to this dispute.”
The five MCI orders cover video intercoms, a security system, a video command center, water tanks/valves and repaving of the walkways. Two of the orders impact residents in Peter Cooper Village and three of them impact Stuyvesant Town residents.
The MCIs were requested by previous owner Tishman Speyer in 2009. After they were all approved by the DHCR in the fall,

Tenants pack a meeting on MCIs, held at the Simon Baruch Middle School auditorium last fall. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Tenants pack a meeting on MCIs, held at the Simon Baruch Middle School auditorium last fall.
(Photo by Sabina Mollot)

the TA said it would be challenging them. In response, CWCapital made an offer to reduce the MCIs’ retroactive portion for tenants who’d agree not to challenge them, but the TA cautioned residents not to sign on to the offer. Negotiations between the TA and CW began soon after that.
“Squeezing every penny out of residents through MCIs long ago became a common practice in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village,” said Council Member Dan Garodnick. “The Tenants Association wisely took advantage of an opportunity to negotiate a deal with CWCapital that will save tens of millions of dollars for residents over the next ten years. This is a victory for tenants that will mitigate the damage of imperfect law that favors landlords, and I am grateful for the Tenants Association’s efforts.”

Meanwhile, the settlement could still be nullified through additional challenges by individual tenants through PARs (petitions for administrative review.)
“Such PAR could result in the agreement being nullified in the sole discretion of the owner,” the TA said. “Nullification would result in forced repayment of the retroactive charges and any waived portion of the permanent charges by all tenants who benefited from the agreement. The possibility of nullification by the owner due to an ill-advised PAR is a very serious concern to the Tenants Association.”
Exceptions to this would be if a tenant filed a PAR for something like an inaccurate room count in his or her apartment, since MCI charges vary based on the amount of rooms.

According to the TA, a few more details of the settlement are as follows:
● All current residents are included in this settlement except those who moved in after the orders were issued (approximately October, 2013).
● The settlement is retroactive to January 1, 2014.
● Credits noted below will begin to appear on the May rent bill.
● In May, a retroactive credit will be added to the rent bill. This credit will include the benefit amount for January, February, March and April.
● The retroactive and permanent increase amounts noted below are all clearly stated in the MCI orders that residents received in the mail. This number is different for all residents and depends on many factors including: building, unit size and move-in date.
● If a resident cannot find his/her order, that resident is advised to call DHCR at 1-800-ASK-DHCR (1-800-275-3427) to request a duplicate copy.

The Tenants Association will hold a general meeting to discuss the settlement on Saturday, May 10 at 1 p.m. at Simon Baruch M.S. 104 on East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues.

This week in T&V History: Stuy Town policewoman breaks gender barriers by taking sergeant test

By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Town & Village newspaper has been providing news for the Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village community for over 65 years and we’ve decided to start taking a look back to see what was going on in the community 50 years ago. Here are a couple of snapshots from the April 16, 1964 issue of Town & Village.

1964 World’s Fair debut
T&Vers (as residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were called) were clearly excited about the then-upcoming 1964 World’s Fair.
According to the report, three to four thousand tickets for the fair were sold at the First National City Bank at 262 First Avenue and about 80 percent of those were sold to ST/PCV residents. The story also enthusiastically noted that residents would be able to see their building in a to-scale model, which represented every building in the city and would debut at the fair. The panorama is still on display not far from where the World’s Fair originally took place, housed in the Queens Museum.
At the time of the exhibit’s debut, it cost attendees 10 cents to take a look and find their building. (These days, the Queens Museum’s suggested admission is $8, so trying to hand over the 1964 fee isn’t recommended.)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer (Photo from Town & Village)

Policewoman breaks barriers by taking sergeant test
Police Officer Felicia Shpritzer helped break gender barriers in the city’s police department by taking the sergeant’s exam.

Shpritzer, who was a 21-year-old resident of 446 East 20th Street at the time, had previously sued the city because the NYPD claimed that women were “unsuitable” for the position of sergeant. She challenged the department’s decision, and in the previous November, the State Court of Appeals upheld her position that women had the right to take the test.
The New York Times obituary that was published when she died in 2000 noted that Shpritzer was one of two policewomen who passed, out of the 127 women who had taken the test.

Op-Ed: Andrew who?

By Steven Sanders

Andrew Cuomo is a walking, talking contradiction. He is as Winston Churchill once proclaimed, an enigma wrapped in a riddle. In his fourth year as governor, people are still wondering aloud, “who is this guy”?

Is he the social liberal who loudly supported women’s rights, marriage equality for gays and lesbians and tough gun controls? Or is he the tight-fisted conservative clamping down on spending for social programs and opposing even a modest increase in taxes for the wealthiest while opposing cost of living increases for low paid direct care health workers? Cuomo says he wants laws containing election campaign fundraising while he amasses the most political contributions, by far, in the history of the state. Is Cuomo the fastidious governor who insists on passing the state budget on time, and has, in every year, or the governor who cannot come to any decision in four years on the critical issue of fracking (extraction natural gas energy) adding jobs to the state’s flagging upstate economy? Is he an environmentalist or more interested in job creation?

Andrew is the son of Governor Mario Cuomo who served in that capacity for 12 years until 1995. After that, Andrew Cuomo accepted a position in the Clinton Administration as secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Andrew Cuomo learned politics from both his father and President Bill Clinton. Those two men could not be more different. Mario Cuomo was sort of a “philosopher king.” Highly principled and dedicated to the development of good social policy as he saw it. Bill Clinton was more likened to Machiavelli’s “the Prince,” the ultimate pragmatist with a streak of ruthlessness.

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Letters to the Editor, Apr. 17

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Cartoon by Jim Meadows

Tests failed students, not the other way around

The following letter, written by two public school principals last week, has been circulated around school communities in Education District 2.

Dear District 2 Colleagues,

Community School District 2 represents a richly diverse group of school communities and it is not often these days that we have an opportunity to join in a shared effort. Last week, and for several weeks prior, every one of our schools devoted hours of instructional time, vast human resources, and a tremendous amount of effort to preparing students to do well on the NYS ELA exams and, ultimately, to administering them.

Few of our students opted out, in part because we had high hopes, and, perhaps mistakenly, assured families that this year’s exam would reflect the feedback test makers and state officials had received from educators and families regarding the design of the test following last year’s administration.  Our students worked extremely hard and did their very best.  As school leaders, we supported teachers in ensuring that students and families kept the tests in perspective – they were important, but by no means the ultimate measure of who they are as readers, students, or human beings. We encouraged them to be optimistic, and did our best to do the same.  Frankly, many of us were disappointed by the design and quality of the tests and stood by helplessly while kids struggled to determine best answers, distorting much of what we’d taught them about effective reading skills and strategies and forgoing deep comprehension for something quite different.

On Friday morning, Liz Phillips, the principal of PS321 in Brooklyn, led her staff and her parent community in a demonstration objecting, not to testing or accountability, but to these tests in particular and, importantly, to their high stakes nature and the policy of refusing to release other than a small percentage of the questions.

By Friday evening officials were dismissing the importance of their statement, claiming that Liz and her community represented only a tiny percentage of those affected, implying that the rest of us were satisfied.  Given the terribly high stakes of these tests, for schools, for teachers and for kids, and the enormous amount of human, intellectual and financial resources that have been devoted to them, test makers should be prepared to stand by them and to allow them to undergo close scrutiny.

We propose that we hold a somewhat larger demonstration, making sure our thoughts on this are loud and clear and making it more difficult to dismiss the efforts of one school.  On Friday morning, April 11, at 8 a.m. we will invite our families and staff to speak out in a demonstration at each of our schools, expressing our deep dissatisfaction with the 2014 NYS ELA exam.  We are inviting you to join us in this action, by inviting your staff and community to join in helping to ensure that officials are not left to wonder whether or not we were satisfied.

Yours truly,

Adele Schroeter,
Principal, PS59
Lisa Ripperger,
Principal, PS234

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Police Watch: Three subway ‘pervs’ nabbed, Peter Cooper Village resident’s identity stolen

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

THREE SUBWAY ‘PERVS’ NABBED
Police arrested three men for forcible touching last week in separate incidents.
Thirty-seven-year-old Jesus Tanco was arrested at the Park Avenue South/23rd Street Station last Tuesday at 10:15 a.m. Tanco was allegedly rubbing his hands and groin against the buttocks of a 31-year-old woman while on an uptown 6 train.
Police arrested 39-year-old Thomas Seminara at the Park Avenue South/28th Street Station last Monday at 11:16 a.m. Seminara was allegedly rubbing his groin on the buttocks of a  16-year-old girl standing in front of him on a downtown 6 train. He then touched her buttocks with his right hand before leaving the train and was observed with an erection, police said.
Twenty-three-year-old Malcolm Dubose was arrested at the Union Square subway station last Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. Dubose was on a downtown 4 train when he allegedly rubbed his groin against a 21-year-old woman’s buttocks.

PCV RESIDENT’S ID STOLEN
A 25-year-old resident of 4 Peter Cooper Road reported  last Saturday at 11:45 a.m. that her identity had been stolen. She told police that her bank notified her that a former employee of Chase had given out her information to a third party for no reason that they know of. Chase is performing an investigation and told the victim to file a report in order to put an alert on her social security number. The bank did not know which branch gave out her information. Chase would not give out any other information until the investigation is complete and no funds were missing.

VEST STOLEN IN FRONT OF LAMARCA
A 24-year-old woman reported that her vest was stolen from the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 22nd Street last Friday at 9 p.m. She told police that she left the vest on a hanger next to the door at Lamarca Restaurant and when she returned, she saw that the vest was missing. Video surveillance showed a woman taking the vest but no arrests have been made.

TEEN BUSTED IN MAD. SQ. PARK ‘MUGGING’
Police arrested 17-year-old Olufemi Ogundipe inside Madison Square Park at 10 Madison Avenue last Saturday at 9:50 p.m. Ogundipe with three other people allegedly tried to take property that didn’t belong to them from three other people. The other three alleged accomplices stole an ID card from one victim, credit cards, a Galaxy phone, a phone charger and an iPhone from the other two victims. Ogundipe was found to be in possession of the first victim’s iPhone, police said. No other arrests have been made.

‘TRESPASSER’ NABBED ON EAST 22ND
Police arrested 39-year-old Andrae Cezair for criminal trespassing inside 321 East 22nd Street last Saturday at 5:16 a.m. Cezair was allegedly on the fourth floor of the building and told police that he was looking for his friend who lived in one of the apartments, but a resident of that apartment said that she didn’t know him.

CAMERA ‘PERV’ BUSTED AT UNION SQUARE
Police arrested 35-year-old Juan Ruiz for unlawful surveillance by the northeast corner of East 14th Street and Union Square East in Union Square Park last Saturday at 4:45 p.m. Ruiz allegedly put a sweater with an electronic device underneath the skirt of a woman who was standing in a crowd watching dancers. The woman told police that she saw a man standing behind her and felt a man touching her buttocks under her skirt. Ruiz was putting the sweater under her skirt for the purposes of recording her, police said.

HARASSMENT AT GRAMERCY PARK NORTH
A resident of 39 Gramercy Park North reported last Monday at 3:45 p.m. that she was harassed in her building. She told police that a woman she knows but doesn’t live there entered the building without permission. The victim told police that she asked the woman to leave but she became verbally abusive, then swung her shopping bag and hit the victim in the chest. The woman also sprayed an unknown substance at the victim but it didn’t make contact with her.

TEEN MISSING FROM ACS FACILITY

Moshe Moshiyakov

Moshe Moshiyakov

Police are asking for the public’s assistance in locating Moshe Moshiyakov, a 15-year-old last seen on Saturday, April 12 at 492 First Avenue, home to ACS. The missing teen is white, 5’4”, 140 lbs. with brown eyes and brown hair. He was wearing a grey sweatshirt, grey sweatpants, and white sneakers. Moshiyakov is in good physical condition. Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers’ website at nypdcrimestoppers.com or by texting TIP577 and their tips to CRIMES (274637).

LAPTOP SNATCHED IN PRET A MANGER
A woman reported that her laptop was stolen while she was inside the Pret a Manger at 24 West 23rd Street last Thursday at 4 p.m. She told police that she was in the restaurant when she realized that the computer was missing and she thinks that someone took it when the bag was down near her chair.

‘POT’-SMOKING DRIVER BUSTED
Police arrested 20-year-old James Chen for impaired driving last Tuesday at 12:15 a.m. at the northeast corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street. Police saw Chen committing a traffic infraction and upon stopping him, there was a cloud of smoke and a strong smell of marijuana emanating from the vehicle. Chen allegedly said that he was smoking marijuana with the female passenger, who was also arrested. Police recovered a joint in the passenger’s hand. Chen allegedly admitted that he was smoking pot while driving.

CAR BROKEN INTO ON EAST 26TH
A 51-year-old woman reported that her car was broken into while it was parked in front of 25 East 26th Street last Monday at 10 p.m. She told police that she went back to the car the following day at 8 a.m. and she noticed that the driver’s side back window had been smashed with an unknown object and both her EZ Pass and car manual were missing.

HIT AND RUN AT FIFTH AND 17TH ST.
A man reported that his car was damaged in a hit-and-run last Wednesday at 12:10 a.m. at the southwest corner of Fifth Avenue and West 15th Street. He told police that he was involved in an accident at the location and the other vehicle involved fled east on East 14th Street without staying to exchange information.

PHONE ‘THIEF’ BUSTED
Police arrested 26-year-old Gabriel Perez for petit larceny last Thursday at 11 p.m. at the northeast corner of Third Avenue and East 27th Street. A 30-year-old man told police that his phone was removed from his car which was parked at the above location and Perez allegedly broke in and took it.

SUBWAY PERFORMERS BUSTED
Police arrested 18-year-old Rayqua Perez and 22-year-old Daniel Siciliano for reckless endangerment in the Union Square subway station last Thursday at 12:45 p.m. Perez and Siciliano were allegedly dancing and performing acrobatic and gymnastic moves on a moving downtown 4 train, creating a hazard and a risk of serious physical injury to passengers.