Stuy Town garage customers won’t get expected refunds

Aug16 garage

Stuyvesant Town’s garages are run by Quik Park. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

For the Stuyvesant Town residents who are customers of the complex’s six garages, which are run by Quik Park, the wait for a refund for $60 in rate increases that came without notice last year is finally over. This is because there will be no refunds issued to these customers after all.

In July, Councilman Dan Garodnick said he was told by the Department of Consumer Affairs that refunds were on the way for customers of Quik Park (parent company Citizens Icon Holdings) who’d been issued an improperly implemented increase. This was accurate, but apparently the Stuy Town garage customers were not included in that pool of motorists. The only refunds that will come through are for customers who’d gotten a notice that the rate hikes they were being charged were for a “Living Wage Assessment,” which happened elsewhere in the city.

Asked if there was still a possibility that the Stuy Town customers could see their money back as well, a spokesperson for the DCA didn’t have a response, but did say the department was working with the garage company (and others in the industry) to ensure customers will receive proper notice of increases in the future.

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Quik Park to refund customers $60 for no-notice increases

Quik Park operates garages in Stuyvesant Town.  (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Stuyvesant Town garage customers who were given a rent increase earlier this year without any notice can expect to see their money refunded.

The refunds of $60 will be paid in the form of credits to customer accounts in September, following the garages’ parent company, Citizens Icon Holdings, agreeing to pay a $1.2 million settlement. The settlement was announced by the Department of Consumer Affairs last Wednesday.

Council Member Dan Garodnick, who’d alerted the DCA to the increases after becoming concerned they were invalid due to the lack of notice, said he felt it was necessary to go through the enforcement authorities in order to get results from Citizens Icon, which runs Icon and Quik Park garages.

The $1.2 million is to be spread around its customer base in various garages around the city, since, according to Garodnick, “They were doing different sorts of things in different garages.”

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Garodnick asks city to investigate Quik Park rate increases in ST

Garage customers began complaining about the increases last September. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Garage customers began complaining about the increases last September. (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

Several months ago, drivers who parked their cars at any of the garages located in Stuyvesant Town found themselves socked with a $20 monthly increase in rent, without prior warning.

Now, Council Member Dan Garodnick is looking to the Department of Consumer Affairs to see if those increases, issued by garage operator Icon/Quik Park, are actually legit. In a letter to the DCA commissioner, Lorelai Salas, late last month, Garodnick wrote about the increases, which he started hearing about from garage customers last September.

“These increases have come without any notice,” he said. “The increases have been unaccompanied by any explanation; garage customers have simply received monthly bills higher than what they have paid previously. Since local law requires a 60 day prior notice of rate changes, it would appear that all of these increases are invalid, and should be reversed.”

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Another Council candidate enters race, raising $170G

Marti Speranza, City Council candidate and co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club, pictured at Madison Square Park Photo by Sabina Mollot)

Marti Speranza, City Council candidate and co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club, pictured at Madison Square Park (Photo by Sabina Mollot)

By Sabina Mollot

The most recent person to enter the City Council race for the seat currently occupied by Dan Garodnick is Marti Speranza, a former city employee and the co-president of the Gramercy Stuyvesant Independent Democrats Club.

Speranza, a 40-year-old NoMad neighborhood resident, is so far the only woman Democrat in the race. Another female candidate, Peter Cooper Village’s Diane Grayson, is running as an Independent.

Other candidates are Democrats Keith Powers and Jeff Mailman. As T&V first reported, former candidate Joshua Thompson dropped out of the Council race in May and is now running for mayor.

For Speranza, fundraising for the Council campaign has been in the works since April and just last week, she stepped down from her job as director at Women Entrepreneurs (WE) NYC, a new city initiative, to focus on the race.

So far things seem to be going well for Speranza, who announced that she raised $169,706 by the filing date last week, a fundraising record for the first filing of a Council race. She now has over $170,000. The record was previously held by Council Member Corey Johnson, who’d raised $166,000. Speranza also said this was the first time a woman candidate got $100,000 in contributions in the first filing. Of that campaign cash, 52 percent of those donating it are women and 72 percent gave $250 or less, she said. None were real estate developers or lobbyists.

On being the only female Democrat in the race, Speranza pointed out that at this time, because of term limits faced by members of the City Council, the number of female representatives out of over 50 could potentially drop to just nine.

“I do feel that more women need to step up to the plate and run for these seats,” she said.

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How straphangers can save hundreds of dollars a year, starting in January

Council Member Dan Garodnick speaks at an event in Union Square to promote the Community Benefits Law, which will save commuters an average of $443 a year in monthly MetroCards. (Photo courtesy of Riders Alliance)

Council Member Dan Garodnick speaks at an event in Union Square to promote the Community Benefits Law, which will save commuters an average of $443 a year in monthly MetroCards. (Photo courtesy of Riders Alliance)

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

To help commuters estimate how much they could save on transit as a result of the new Commuter Benefits Law, City Council Member Dan Garodnick joined representatives from the Rider’s Alliance, Straphangers Campaign and the Department of Consumer Affairs in the Union Square subway station on Sunday with a giant calculator and an oversized tax chart.

Garodnick had originally proposed the legislation in the spring of 2014 and Mayor Bill de Blasio signed the legislation that October, but the councilmember held the event in Union Square last weekend as a reminder that commuters should take advantage of the benefits because the law officially goes into effect on January 1, 2016.

The new law will require businesses with 20 or more employees to offer workers the opportunity to use pre-tax dollars toward transit. Garodnick said that there was previously no requirement for employers and once the law goes into effect, the Department of Consumer Affairs will have the power to enforce it. But he emphasized that he wants to let both employers and employees know about the program’s advantages rather than worry about consequences of non-compliance.

“At this moment we’re really trying to educate,” he said. “We want people to know it’s a benefit that will be available and encourage employers to set it up.”

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Police Watch: Man arrested for damaging Beth Israel door, Arrest in McDonald’s assault

Police arrested 51-year-old Andre Blanco for criminal mischief inside Beth Israel at 10 Union Square East last Monday at 3:04 p.m. A Beth Israel security guard told police that Blanco walked up to a glass door at the front of the building and he allegedly proceeded to punch the door with both fists. Police said that he shattered the entire door, which the director of the medical center said costs more than $1,000.

Police arrested Allan Lester Massman for petit larceny last Tuesday evening at the CVS at 300 Park Avenue South. Massman allegedly took a total of 18 packs of Listerine off the shelves and tried to leave without paying.

Gustavo Ramirez, 29, was arrested in front of the McDonald’s at 39 Union Square West last Wednesday at 4:24 a.m. for assault. The victim told police that he got into a fight with Ramirez, who allegedly punched the victim in the face and chest, which ripped his shirt and caused pain.

Police arrested 41-year-old Samad Stevens for petit larceny and possession of stolen property inside the CVS at 275 Third Avenue last Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. Stevens allegedly took four tubes of Revlon lipstick and 16 tubes of Revlon lip gloss from the shelf and hid it in his white gift bag. Police said that he attempted to leave the store without paying.

Police arrested 54-year-old Dane Clark for burglar’s tools in front of 244 East 28th Street last Wednesday at 11:49 p.m. Clark allegedly cut a black bicycle lock with red bolt cutters. Police said that the lock secured a bicycle to a parking sign and that Clark is not the legal owner of the bike. He was also charged with petit larceny and criminal mischief.

Fifty-year-old William Matos was arrested at the 13th precinct last Thursday at 2 p.m. for grand larceny. Police said that Matos entered the Churchill Bar and Lounge at 45 East 28th Street at an earlier date and allegedly stole a woman’s purse.

Police arrested 51-year-old Aliou Woppa in front of 725 Sixth Avenue last Thursday at 2 p.m. for an unclassified misdemeanor of New York State laws. Woppa was allegedly trying to sell ten pairs of sunglasses without a valid Department of Consumer Affairs license.

David Martorano, 33, was arrested for intoxicated driving at the intersection of West 17th Street and Fifth Avenue last Thursday at 11:48 p.m. Police said that he was driving south on Fifth Avenue with no headlights while swerving into different lanes. When he was stopped, he allegedly had a moderate odor of alcohol on his breath with watery, bloodshot eyes. Police said that he blew .137 on a Breathalyzer.

Police arrested 55-year-old Horace Madison in front of the Duane Reade at 71 West 23rd Street last Friday at 5:21 p.m. for possession of stolen property. Police said that Madison had fled the store and was about to enter the subway system at the 23rd Street F/M station. He was allegedly holding a large box with a sensor device actively ringing. Police said that when he was stopped, they found he had stolen merchandise from the store and was in possession of stolen property.

Robert Robinson, 43, was arrested for possession of stolen property at the corner of Third Avenue and East 28th Street last Sunday at 12:51 a.m. Police said that Robinson was riding a Citi Bike on a public sidewalk and was stopped, and when police requested identification, he allegedly became irate and combative, refusing to cooperate. Police said that he flailed his arms to prevent being handcuffed and upon further investigation, officers found that the Citi Bike he was in possession of was stolen. Robinson was also charged with resisting arrest, bail jumping, disorderly conduct, an unclassified misdemeanor and an unclassified violation.

Police arrested two men for selling drugs to an undercover officer in Union Square last Thursday at 6:05 p.m. Douglas Miller, 51, was charged with intent to sell a controlled substance, sale of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance and Edwards Glover, 41, was charged with sale of a controlled substance. Miller was arrested at the corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street and Glover was arrested at East 15th Street and Union Square East.

Police arrested 37-year-old Talib Sasa at the corner of Union Square West and East 14th Street last Friday at 11:28 p.m. for possession of a controlled substance. Sasa was allegedly operating a bicycle on the sidewalk and when he was stopped, police said he was unable to provide valid identification. After he was brought to the precinct and searched, police found that he was in possession of a glassine envelope with alleged MDMA, five plastic cases of alleged marijuana and one glassine envelope of alleged marijuana. He was also charged with an unclassified violation and possession of marijuana.

Sixteen-year-old John Paez was arrested for criminal mischief in front of 67 West 14th Street last Monday at 4:05 p.m. Police said that Paez had sold marijuana to an undercover officer and after he was arrested, he allegedly damaged the police van by breaking off a metal panel while attempting to get out of the handcuffs.