By Sabina Mollot
Earlier this month, it appeared there might be another distribution of checks, albeit small ones, to residents of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village who’d been represented in the Roberts v. Tishman Speyer lawsuit.
However, that’s no longer a possibility as the money left in that pot is under $33,000, according to tenants’ law firm, Wolf Haldenstein. Had the remaining funds been over $100,000 it would have gotten distributed to tenants, as part of the settlement deal hashed out in 2013. For an amount lower than $100,000, however, the remaining funds are to be split evenly between two nonprofits: the Peter Stuyvesant Little League and the ST-PCV Tenants Association.
Previously, Wolf Haldenstein attorney Michael Liskow told Town & Village it looked like there was going to be over $150,000 left in the pool of damages intended for residents. That money represented checks that were not deposited by a 120-day deadline. But Liskow this week said he later learned the $150,000 figure he got from the claims administrator, which he thought was updated as of the end of January, didn’t reflect withdrawals from the amount during January. He also apologized for providing us with the “stale” figure earlier.
While the amount left still needs some “spot checking,” Liskow said he didn’t think the numbers would change much at this point.
Last October, nearly 2,000 residents got a second damages check since there was $442,738.10 remaining out of a total of the nearly $69 million cash settlement.
The second checks averaged $228 each. The initial payouts had been the entire amount of rent tenants overpaid according to a calculated formula, minus 30 percent for legal fees and other fees.
Here’s how the settlement money breaks down at this point, according to the most recent available figures:
Original amount of funds to distribute: $442,738.10
Amount paid to claims administrator off top for secondary distribution: $12,000
Total amount of all checks sent in secondary distribution: $430,738.28
Total number of checks sent: 1,974
Total number of checks cashed within required 120 day period: 1,750 (88.6 percent)
Total amount of all cashed checks: $398,032.31.
Total number of checks not cashed within required period and now void: 224
Total amount of voided checks/residual funds: $32,705.97.
With the account soon to be closed, following years of litigation followed by even more years of negotiations over damages, Liskow and another attorney involved in the suit, Alex Schmidt, issued the following statement:
“With the final distribution of the outstanding funds in the Roberts class action now concluded, we are happy to report that the case has come to a close. It has been a true pleasure to help serve the ST/PCV community in such a successful fashion and make groundbreaking new law that continues to benefit thousands of rent stabilized residents each year throughout New York City.”