Letters to the Editor, July 10

July10 Toon subway busker

One percent increase a positive step

The recently announced one percent RGB increase is a small step toward putting the “stable” back in rent stabilization.
As tenants, we all need to support this action by selecting the one-year option when we renew our leases. This will send a clear message to the RGB and Albany that we want to preserve our community and affordable housing for all New Yorkers.
It will also reject the risky business model followed by the equity predators. This business model is named for its last two words: “It doesn’t matter how much you pay, you can always sell it later to a bigger fool.”  The problem with this model is who is going to be the next bigger fool?
Not the current tenants. We realize that the choice of a 2.75 percent two-year increase is the equivalent of selecting a 1 percent increase this year and a 3.5 percent increase next year! While landlords deserve to cover realistic cost increases, we will not pay for yet another round of replanting because the previous round was done wrong.
Not the future tenants. The equity predators are all targeting recent graduates and other newcomers to the housing market to fill current and future vacancies. But saddled with large student loans and entry-level salaries, the only vacancies they can fill are the empty bedrooms in their parents’ homes.
Not the equity lenders. They have been burned once by the Tishman Speyer default and other failed large real estate deals. They will be following the model established by Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac. (Thank you, Senator Schumer.) The equity predators will have to prove the viability of their projections with more than just an “I said so.”
In other words, the times they are a-changin’ (with apologies to Bob Dylan.) Gone are the days where equity predators can entice bigger fools with frivolous, self-congratulatory costs like the vanity plates on the PCVST security vehicles.
Gone too are the days when the mayor turns a blind eye because, “It’s a private matter.” If the equity predators continue to believe their own hype (the cardinal sin committed by Tishman Speyer), they will find that they are the biggest fools.
Responsible parties within the real estate industry have already shown signs that they are adjusting to accept a different business model based on realistic income forecasts and controlled operating costs.
Let us all give our support to these leaders by overwhelmingly accepting the one-year, one percent increase and rejecting all rent increases that exceed true cost increases.
Bill Huebsch,
ST Resident for 36 years


Mayor didn’t deliver on rent freeze

To the Editor:
Mayor de Blasio is now batting with two strikes against him here in Stuyvesant Town.
First, he sandbagged Councilmember Dan Garodnick, by actively campaigning for Dan’s opponent for City Council speaker.
Then, the mayor capitulated to the real estate industry and disavowed his supposedly ironclad campaign pledge of a rent freeze.
Sandbagging tenants like this has a real cost. A rent increase of one percent will cost ST/PCV residents a total of $3,236,680 every year – calculated as an average rent of $2,000 over 11,235 apartments. Plus, everyone’s base rent is now raised in perpetuity.
This $3,236,680 is money that tenants could have used to support our local community. Or, tenants could have strengthened their retirement savings. Instead, it will go to line the pockets of the hedge fund that controls the property.
The mayor needs to decide whether he is on the side of tenants or the side of hedge funds.
Name Withheld, ST


Can we give Citi Bike hogs the boot?

June26 Marsh Citibike2 June26 Marsh CitibikeThe following is an email sent to Citi Bike by John Marsh, president of the ST-PCV Tenants Association, shared with T&V.
Subject: “Reserving” or Booting a Citi Bike By For Your Exclusive Use
I wanted to formally bring to your attention the following unfair practice of reserving your own Citi Bike by putting a lock on it, or effectively booting it so other riders can’t take it out.
I came along at 8:20 a.m. on Thursday, June 19th delighted to see a lone bike at the E. 20th and FDR station in Dock #34.  After inserting my Citi Bike key in I was surprised to see that a U-Lock had been placed around the back wheel of bike number 06656. I immediately re-docked the bike, took these photos and called the incident into Citibike Customer Support number.
Whomever (whichever member) successfully undocked and rode this bike next to another Citi Bike station should be warned or disciplined in some manner for this inappropriate behavior.

Police Watch: Shots fired on 14th Street, Handyman arrested for ‘burglary’, Girl punches cop

Police arrested Patrick Perroud, 25, after he allegedly fired several shots from a gun in attempt to cause serious physical injuries on West 14th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues. He was charged with assault, reckless endangerment and weapons possession.

Anthony Digangi, 37, was arrested on June 30 for allegedly intentionally breaking 15 bottles of olive oil at the Garden of Eden food shop on West 23rd Street. Police said it wasn’t clear what prompted this and the value of the destroyed bottles was said to be $359.85. Digangi was charged with criminal mischief.

Jason Washington, 22, was arrested at the Union Square subway after an officer saw him allegedly grinding onto a woman’s buttocks on a southbound express train. He was charged on June 30 at 9:47 a.m. with sexual abuse.

Handyman Luis Colon, 32, was arrested for burglary on July 2 after a tenant in the building he works told police she caught him on camera at her apartment when she wasn’t home. The woman, who lives at 30 West 18th Street, has a camera in her bedroom and said when she checked it after work, saw Colon going through five different wallets and a jewelry box. She said that Colon had no reason or permission to be in her apartment at that time. Police arrested him while he was painting another apartment.

Police arrested Marco Natal, 38 for assault after he allegedly bashed someone over the head with a wooden chair at 4 Union Square South on July 2. The victim got cuts and bruises as a result and according to police, Natal made “spontaneous utterances” admitting to doing it.

Police arrested a 16-year-old at the Good Shepherd Services home at 331 East 17th Street on July 4 for punching another girl and then the cop who came to investigate.
The officer arrived after a girl in the building said she was cleaning her room when the other teen, whose name is being withheld due to her tender age, approached her and punched her in the face. The punch caused swelling to the face of the victim, who also said she’s tired of the assailant hitting on her and they’ve had confrontations in the past. When an officer came to try and diffuse the situation, he said the suspect refused to sit down, and when apprehended, punched him, causing substantial pain.

Anthony Brown, 47, was busted at 319 East 28th Street on July 3 after police said he was trying to sell an Apple laptop and an iPad for $500 each. However, each of the computer boxes were actually filled with cut up paper, police said. He was charged with accosting and fraud.

Parks Department employee Luis Freyes, 30, was arrested on July 5 at 1:22 a.m. at First Avenue and 14th Street after allegedly attacking his wife.
The wife had told police they’d been on a bus and he was sleeping. When she woke him, he became very “irate” and shoved her and knocked her down, causing her to cut her face, police said. He then fled into the subway at the southeast corner of the intersection, but was apprehended when he returned to the location.

Police regularly arrest people who sell Metrocard swipes on the subway and the following individuals were collared for allegedly selling while also blocking turnstiles, obstructing the flow of traffic.
Casique Roman, 35, was arrested at the Union Square subway on June 30.
Daniel Abbastante, 40, was arrested on July 3 at the Union Square subway.
Scott Morales, 25, was arrested at the Union Square subway on July 3.
Edward Laramore, 30, was arrested at the Union Square subway on July 5.
Angelina Phillip, 31, was arrested at the Union Square subway on July 6.

Leonardo Ramirez, 23, was arrested after police saw him allegedly sneak under a turnstile at the Union Square subway. Upon searching him, an officer found a small glassine envelope of alleged cocaine in his shorts pocket.

Michael Bailes, 26, was arrested on June 30 at 4:48 p.m. at First Avenue and 14th Street for allegedly selling a controlled substance. Police said Bailes also resisted arrest by lying on top of his hands to avoid being cuffed.

Angel Reyes, 44, was allegedly seen by a cop holding a 24 oz. malt liquor beverage in Bellevue South Park on June 30 at around 8 p.m. Police said Reyes declined homeless outreach services.
Nearby at Second Avenue and 28th Street, David Ramos, 46, was arrested on July 2 at 9:24 a.m. for allegedly holding a bottle of Corona on a public sidewalk.
Isabelo Rodriguez was allegedly seen with an open bottle of Georgi vodka on a sidewalk at 332 East 29th Street.
Danielo Areis, 47, was allegedly seen with a can of Sapporo beer on a sidewalk in front of 41 Union Square West.

Police made a couple of arrests on July 1 of straphangers who’d fallen asleep on the train. Though the incidents occurred in the wee hours of the morning, police told T&V that occupying more than one seat is a crime any time, even when there’s little competition for seats.
Walter Allen, 51, was arrested at the Union Square subway after he was seeing allegedly lying across the seats on a southbound 4 train.
Juan Acosta, 35, was arrested at the Union Square Subway after allegedly occupying more than one seat on the 6 train.

Dave Morris, 50, was arrested at East 14th Street and Union Square West after an officer spotted him allegedly selling two Newport looseys. Since Morris was not in possession of a tax stamp, he was charged on July 1 with violating tax law.

Jermaine Anderson, 30, was arrested on July 3 at East 26th Street and Park Avenue South after police said he crossed a crime scene. But after being told to move along, Anderson refused, cops said. After searching him, he was found to be in possession of alleged marijuana in his gym bag.
Omar Miller, 41, was arrested on July 1 at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street for allegedly selling pot to an undercover officer.
Nicholas Jean, 26, was arrested at Broadway and 23rd Street on July 2 after allegedly selling pot to an undercover officer. Police said Jean had seven active warrants.

On July 2, Amir Mushal, 42, was seen by a cop allegedly carrying a gravity knife in his front pants pocket in plain view on the subway.
On July 3, Dimitri Rohen, 22, was allegedly seen by a cop with a knife clipped to his front pants pocket at the Union Square subway.

Police arrested Emmanuel Urena, 24, for allegedly urinating on a public sidewalk at 134 East 29th Street on July 4.

Russell Nelson, 25, was stopped at Third Avenue and 24th Street after an officer saw him allegedly driving without using his headlights. Police said he was going east and when stopped, had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes and could only produce a non-driver’s ID. He was arrested on July 4 at 5:16 a.m.

Compiled by Sabina Mollot


Cheating claims spark new lenders lawsuit

Stuyvesant Town leasing office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Stuyvesant Town leasing office (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot
Last week, CWCapital was sued by holders of Stuyvesant Town’s mezzanine debt who claimed that the new owner cheated them out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The lawsuit, which was first reported by Bloomberg, is being led by Centerbridge Partners, which is representing six limited liability companies who are named as plaintiffs.
The suit follows a decision by CW last month to take title to Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village through a deed rather than hold a foreclosure sale that had been scheduled for June 13.
By doing this, Centerbridge accused CW of a “continuing pattern of misconduct” to keep control of the property and “reap an unjust windfall of $1 billion” that should go to lower level lenders, who’ve received nothing.
The report went on to say the lenders, in their complaint, called CWCapital’s takeover “executed on the flawed premise that the amount owed on the senior loan was greater than the value of the property.” CW represented that $4.4 billion was owed on the mortgage when the amount was really $3.45 billion, the lenders said.
A spokesperson for Centerbridge, Michele de Milly, said the lawsuit shouldn’t impact the tenants.
In an official statement, Centerbridge said, “We believe that Stuyvesant Town is and will continue to be a unique and extraordinarily important property, both for the City of New York and for the thousands of tenants who make it such a robust community. This legal matter is an inter-creditor dispute and we do not expect it to affect Stuyvesant Town or its residents. Funds affiliated with Centerbridge Partners, which have owned mezzanine loans of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, have been forced to commence this lawsuit because of the actions taken by CW Capital, in violation of an inter-creditor agreement.”
CWCapital, however, denied this and called the suit “without merit.”
“The assertions made in the lawsuit are utterly baseless and without merit,” spokesperson Brian Moriarty said. “The fact that the complaint centers on a deed in lieu transaction completed before the plaintiff acquired their position exposes the plaintiff’s specific intent to wrest a quick profit from ‘purchased litigation.’ Centerbridge acquired this position at a deep discount in hopes of reaping a windfall at the expense of the bondholders we represent and residents who deserve a timely resolution that will provide certainty and a path forward for the community.”
The litigation, which also names commercial-mortgage trusts set up by Wachovia Bank, may slow down a sale process. However, it shouldn’t stop the city from its current plan of trying to work with CW to maintain affordability at the property while satisfying the bondholders.
When CW canceled the foreclosure auction it also agreed to hold off on a sale for two months while working with the de Blasio administration along with local elected officials representing ST/PCV to come up with a plan. According to Council Member Dan Garodnick, this litigation doesn’t change that.
“This is largely a dispute between lenders and it does not affect our strategy,” he said. “The only question is whether this has the effect of slowing things down further, which is not at all clear at this moment.”
A New York Times story on June 11 had quoted Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen as saying a plan was being explored that would keep as many as 6,000 units in ST/PCV affordable in exchange for a tax exemption.
However, as of late June, Garodnick told Town & Village there aren’t yet any numbers figured out and city officials stressed that was just one possibility.
“The numbers that have been floated were hypothetical and not based on the substance of any negotiation,” Garodnick said.
Lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have already committed to not financing a deal that would be unacceptable to the tenants or the city.