Police Watch: June 22

Earlier this month, the Manhattan district attorney’s office announced the indictment of 31-year-old Long Island resident Cameron McDermott for allegedly raping and sexually assaulting two unconscious women at apartments in Manhattan, including one in Gramercy. McDermott was arrested for allegedly exposing himself in public in Garden City and during the investigation, police found alleged videos and photographs on McDermott’s computer and hard drives which depicted the suspect sexually assaulting an unconscious woman on eight occasions in 2010. The DA’s office said that he also recorded and photographed himself raping and sexually assaulting a second unconscious woman in an apartment on the Upper East Side on five different occasions in 2013. McDermott was charged with predatory sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse and unlawful surveillance.

Police arrested 31-year-old Yulianna Urbas and 26-year-old Carlos Valdez for assault near Stuyvesant Town. Urbas was apprehended at Avenue C and East 18th Street and Valdez was arrested on the same block but on First Avenue. The victim said that Urbas allegedly struck him multiple times, punching him in the face and causing pain to his head and scratches to his neck. The victim said that Valdez punched him on the left side of his face.

Police arrested a 15-year-old boy for possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana in front of 274 First Avenue Loop last Wednesday at 10:40 p.m. Police said that the teen was in possession of the victim’s property without permission and when he was searched, he was also in possession of a glass pipe with marijuana residue. Because the suspect is a minor, no further information about the incident was available.

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Town & Village co-hosts City Council debate at Waterside Plaza

On Thursday night, an evening of debate among the candidates running to replace Dan Garodnick in the City Council was held at Waterside Plaza. The event’s hosts were Town & Village newspaper, the Waterside Tenants Association and Waterside management with the event taking place outdoors. A story covering the views of the various candidates on affordable housing, small businesses, issues affecting seniors, and the sanitation garage the city plans to build at the Brookdale campus, is forthcoming. Scroll down to see some photos from the debate, where all seats on the plaza were filled with a mixed crowd of community residents and candidates’ supporters.

Richard Ravitch, owner of Waterside Plaza and former lieutenant governor, makes opening remarks. (Photos by Maria Rocha-Buschel)

Crowd at the debate

Waterside Tenants Association President Janet Handal, event co-host

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Steinberg shoots down RSA’s argument that MCIs are ‘laughable’

ST-PCV Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

At a Manhattan hearing of the Rent Guidelines Board, where both landlords and tenants were invited each year to give testimony on their respective suffering, Stuyvesant Town-Peter Cooper Village Tenants Association President Susan Steinberg took umbrage at one owner representative’s argument that MCIs are not sufficient rent increases.

She spoke up after Rent Stabilization Association president Jack Freund, whose organization represents landlords throughout the city, said at the hearing that Major Capital Improvements (MCIs) and preferential rent increases don’t offer enough income to sustain landlords.

“You cannot substitute MCI increases for maintenance and operating rent increases,” he said. “MCIs have nothing to do with this issue and the suggestion that preferential rents somehow should play into this, that you can eliminate the need for rent increases because owners can increase rent (with MCIs and preferential rent increases), is a ludicrous notion. Both of those suggestions, that MCIs and preferential rent increases, can somehow substitute for a necessary, across-the-board rent increase, are just laughable.”

Later, Steinberg, who said she’d originally planned to read pre-written testimony, changed her mind in order to respond to Freund.

“Perhaps he forgot that MCIs get onto a tenant’s rent in perpetuity,” she said during her testimony. “It goes way beyond recouping the landlord’s costs and if you’re a tenant living in a building and have received several MCIs that get added permanently on top of the RGB increases, that adds up really fast. Maybe it’s laughable for the landlord but it sure isn’t for tenants.”

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