Stuy Town General Manager Sean Sullivan replaced

Sean Sullivan in April at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade Photo by Sabina Mollot

Sean Sullivan in April at the Peter Stuyvesant Little League Parade
Photo by Sabina Mollot

By Sabina Mollot

Sean Sullivan, the general manager of Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village, is no longer employed with the property, Town & Village has learned.

Reached on Thursday morning, Sullivan, who worked in ST/PCV for just 13 months, said he was not at liberty to discuss the reasons why. A former Marine, Sullivan is also a real estate industry veteran, previously having worked at Avalon Bay Communities and Tishman Speyer, though he left the latter company long before the Stuy Town purchase in 2006.

One source said he was let go, but a spokesperson for CWCapital said Sullivan left to “pursue other interests.”

While management employees and tenants don’t always see eye to eye, Sullivan has been described as a straight shooter by tenant leaders in ST/PCV.

Responding to the news of his departure, ST-PCV Tenants Association Chair Susan Steinberg said she was disappointed.

Although sometimes they’d be in adversarial positions over various issues, Steinberg said, “I felt that Sean had genuine sympathy for some of those issues, but of course he doesn’t work for the TA; he’s a property manager for CWCapital. But we all liked him. It’s hard not to like him. When someone would talk to him about something, he was on it.”

Sullivan came onto the scene last May, replacing then General Manager Jim Yasser. At the time, Sullivan was working under Rose Associates, the management firm CWCapital let go at end of last August when it hired CWCapital’s subsidiary company CompassRock. However, Sullivan remained on board after CompassRock took over.

At the time of his hiring, he told Town & Village, “Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town is celebrated for its strong sense of community within this city. I am very proud and honored to join the effort to make PCV/ST a place that this community is happy to call home.”

When asked for comment on Sullivan’s departure, Brian Moriarty, a spokesperson for CWCapital, said, “Sean left PCV/ST to pursue other interests. As our residents know, Sean led our community through the devastation of Hurricane Sandy and ensured our community was back up and running as quickly and safely as possible. CompassRock and the PCV/ST community are grateful for Sean’s contribution to this property, and we wish him well as he embarks on his next challenge.”

David Sorise, senior vice president of CompassRock Real Estate, has since taken over day-to-day operations in the community.

“David has been involved with operational initiatives at PCV/ST since January 2012,” Moriarty said. “With the assistance of the current onsite executive team, David will continue the improvements that commenced with the transition to CompassRock Real Estate last year.”

According to Sorise’s company bio, he’s a New York registered property manager and receiver and serves on the Rent Stabilization Association, an organization for owners. He began his career in real estate at PriceWaterhouse where he focused on operational analysis and process improvement. Most recently, Sorise was vice president for Laramar Communities and vice president of operations for Dermot Realty, where he was responsible for all capital improvements, budgeting, leasing, staff supervision and business development. He left that company in 2010, according to a Dermot blog post, which referred to Sorise as a “giant of a man — figuratively and literally.” Along with heading the property management group there, he was also, the blog noted, the tallest person at the company.

This article has been revised to include information from CWCapital on Sullivan’s departure and replacement.

Resident town hall gets heated

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

Stuyvesant Town Security Chief Bill McClellan and General Manager Sean Sullivan address residents at a town hall meeting on Tuesday.
Photo by Maria Rocha-Buschel

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

General Manager Sean Sullivan hosted a town hall meeting for Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village residents last Tuesday, the first such meeting in a number of years. Sullivan noted at the beginning of the meeting that its purpose was an informal gathering to talk with seniors about residential programming and the community center, but it quickly became clear that residents had other things on their minds. Security issues, Sandy-related problems and the rising student population were some of the main concerns of tenants at the meeting.

In light of the keycard failures during Sandy, one resident asked Sullivan at the beginning of the meeting if it would be possible to put regular cylinders with physical keys back on apartment doors.

“You may not like some of my responses but I’m going to try to be straight with you tonight,” Sullivan said. “The short answer is no. It’s a system that we put in place and it works. (Sandy) was an extraordinary moment in time and we took extraordinary measures.” Residents responded to this, frustrated, saying the system obviously does not work if it failed for so long after the storm, but Sullivan noted that Sandy was not a typical scenario. “Battery backup for the keycard system will work in a typical outage,” he said.

In addition to the keycard failures, other residents noted that the emergency lights in the stairwells failed as well. Sullivan said that there is a battery backup for these as well but they did not last as long as the outage because they were only meant to be used for hours at a time, not days. When tenants specified that there were cases in which the lighting did not even last for hours after the blackout, Sullivan said that he wasn’t aware of this issue and would look into it.

Many Peter Cooper Village residents were on hand at the meeting to express frustrations about the lack of laundry services, as well as the partial elevator service that still exists in some of the buildings.

“My husband is in a wheelchair. We waited two and a half hours because the one elevator was out (a couple weeks ago),” one resident said. “You can keep your memos about the landscaping. Restoring elevator service should be your number one priority. All we’ve got is reassurances and no definitive information.”

After heckling from other meeting attendees about the lack of a concrete date, Sullivan said the hope is that all elevator service will be restored by the end of this month, and attempted to explain why the process has been so lengthy.

“They’re not broken, they’re gone,” he said. “The workers are rebuilding the elevators in the shaft from scratch. We were fortunate to get in the queue. There were a lot of manufacturers that stopped taking orders because the need was just so high (after Sandy). There is no profit for us to move any slower on this.”

As for laundry, service for residents without it in Peter Cooper Village will still have a few months to wait.

“We’ve said that laundry service would be fully restored by September of this year. I’m not changing their timeline but we are trying to do better than that,” he said. “We’re focused on restoring these services. We don’t want you to be frustrated, but the damage was significant and severe. I understand the level of frustration and I don’t want to diminish it for a moment. We’re working on it. It’s not a great solution but we’re doing our best.”

Although noise and late-night rowdiness from the community’s younger population has been a recent complaint of many residents in this newspaper’s letters to the editor, residents at the meeting were more bothered by the transient nature of students in Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village. The constant moving in and out of short-term tenants was a point of concern for those at the meeting. Some residents noted that it even becomes a frustrating security issue because building doors have been propped open while people are moving. “It happens every month, sometimes in the middle of the month as well,” one resident said at the meeting. “When I bring it up to them, security says, ‘oh it’s fine.’ But it’s not fine. It’s a safety issue.”

ST/PCV Security Chief Bill McClellan said that alarms are set to go off if a door has been propped open for three minutes. They’ve also sent people to close doors and tell movers that they can’t prop the doors open, but residents at the meeting were frustrated that this was not helping, one noting that she had told movers herself not to prop the door open and the mover cursed at her.

A resident of 541 East 20th Street said that she was concerned about safety issues as well after maintenance had entered her apartment to install an intercom without notice or permission, and was especially disturbed after hearing about the reports of burglaries in the community.

Sullivan said that maintenance is supposed to reach out to tenants beforehand and for tenants that don’t respond, maintenance may come back multiple times to deal with these exceptions. After not specifically addressing the resident’s situation, other attendees at the meeting became frustrated, yelling while Sullivan attempted to move on to another question.

In response to concerns about the thefts possibly being related to recent maintenance work, Sullivan added that public safety is supposed to escort outside contractors to the apartments to supervise but otherwise had no information about why this incident occurred at the building on East 20th Street.

In some of the less contentious moments of the evening, Sullivan did announce that the gym is expected to reopen in just a few weeks.

He also noted, to the appreciation of the tenants at the meeting, that the doors in the community center would be replaced by automatic sliding doors, similar to those in supermarkets, because there have been issues with seniors walking into the doors or having difficult getting them open.