Tuesday, April 14, 2015

[Updated] Report: Icon Realty serves the Stage an eviction notice


[Photo by Grant Shaffer]

Attorneys for Icon Realty served an eviction noticed last night to the Stage, the beloved diner at 128 Second Ave., WNYC is reporting.

Stage owner Roman Diakun has until the end of this month to leave his 35-year-old neighborhood favorite. According to WNYC, the eviction notice cites a Stop Work Order the city had issued for unauthorized work being done on gas pipes in the basement. Here is the copy of the eviction notice, first obtained by WNYC...

brlclter.not 4-13-15



At the end of March, the city issued a Stop Work Order at 128 Second Ave. for what they say was installation of a gas pipe and fittings without a permit.

According to DOB documents, a city inspector on March 29 observed this taking place in the cellar of the under-renovation building across Second Avenue from the site of the gas explosion that killed two men and brought down three buildings.

Per Gothamist on April 1:

Tim Neithercott, a tenant of 128 Second Avenue, told us that his landlords would intermittently turn off the building's gas during renovations, but that Con Ed was never notified, suggesting the landlord was doing so independently. "They've definitely been tampering with the gas on their own," Neithercott says, and indeed, on Sunday, a Con Edison inspector discovered that a new gas pipe was being installed on site without a permit.

Mitch Kossoff, a lawyer representing Icon, told WNYC earlier in the month that the owners were "puzzled" and not aware of any gas work being done.

There was also complaint filed with the city on March 31 claiming the following: "Customer is reporting a restaurant hooking up gas pipes. Name of restaurant is Stage."



Stage owner Roman Diakun's son Andrew started an online petition last week … collecting signatures to help generate support for the restaurant between East Seventh Street and St.Mark's Place.

Meanwhile, the city issued a Full Stop Work Order last Thursday at 128. According to the DOB, there was work being done in several apartments without proper permits, including electrical and plumbing. Residents are still without gas for cooking and heat, a tenant tells us.



Icon bought the building in the fall of 2013.

Updated 10:38 a.m.

DNAinfo's Lisha Arino talked with Roman Diakun.

“They don’t want me,” he said, referring to his landlord, 128 Second Realty LLC. “I didn’t do any crime.”

Diakun declined to comment further, but previously said at a small business meeting that he was making an emergency repair on the line and did not realize he needed a permit to do the work. He also denied that he was siphoning gas. The landlord, he added, refused to fix the line so he could reopen his business.

Arino also has quotes from Icon lawyer Joseph Goldsmith, who disputed Roman's claims.

Updated 4-15

Goldsmith told amNY that the Stage was "trying to cover up the siphoning that they had previously done and the Department of Buildings went for an unnanounced inspection and caught them in the act."

Goldsmith said the landlord is waiting for gas use records and pictures that a DOB inspector had taken during the visit.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The possibility that the Stage won't reopen on 2nd Avenue

City serves stop work order on Icon Realty-owned building for installing gas pipe without permit across from deadly 2nd Avenue blast zone (48 comments)

Petition to help reopen the Stage

Tenants at 128 2nd Ave. file suit against Icon Realty in housing court

Troubling talk about 128 Second Ave, and the long-term future of the Stage

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's too bad, but after what happened across the street from them, no one can be allowed to tamper with the gas pipes.

Anonymous said...

When Grieve first started reporting about the new owners, I knew it was going to get ugly for Stage.

This is bogus. Can't a court halt the eviction pending an investigation of the new owners' shenanigans? Surely Stage's management will seek some kind of stay?

Anonymous said...

We need to help Stage Restaurant from being evicted. These are bogus allegations by ICON Realty. Please write to New York State Senator Daniel Squadron and other politicians to help Small Businesses:

http://www.nysenate.gov/contact_form

Anonymous said...

i don't believe roman would do such a thing! this is terrible! does anyone know what his recourse is if he is being wrongly accused? is it possible for him to fight and stay? i really hope so! oh stage, don't go!

Anonymous said...

The community needs to give ICON Realty a taste of their own medicine!

Anonymous said...

I want to confirm I am understanding this situation. Is Icon kicking Stage out because they are saying the guy who runs the Stage had a plumber or some other worker tampering with the gas pipes?

Anonymous said...

Thanks 8:27 for the contact form. I just wrote my state senator. This is the last straw for me personally. We have to do something.

Anonymous said...

If there was a big enough pot of money the lawyers could tie this up for some time. It could potentially allow the Stage to re-open after some period of time.

Is it time to band together and use this as the cause with which to sue and antagonize Icon Realty?

As mentioned when this was first reported as a possibility (the closing), this is the pattern by Icon. The gas line thing is just the convenient excuse.

If someone wants to investigate any Icon owned building and report on all the illegal gas lines that are in their buildings and then sue ICON for allowing such things to go on their buildings and putting all us NYC citizens in danger, that might be another option.

Giovanni said...

This is bogus, a bum rush masterpiece straight out of the Shock Doctrine; use every crisis to your own advantage. With this letter they are attempting to force an eviction before Stage even has a chance to prove their innocence in court. Remember when Icon put up the scaffolding and blocked the front door so that Roman couldn't get back in? Sorry but with Icon's lousy track record--the tenants of this same building are now suing them for harassment-- they have no credibility.

Gojira said...

Gee, didn't see that one coming.

http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/daniel-l-squadron/contact

http://council.nyc.gov/d2/html/members/contact.shtml (rosie mendez)

http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Brian-Kavanagh/contact

Gojira said...

Oh, and Anon. 7:20, what exactly is YOUR role at ICON Realty? How much do you get paid to troll anti-ICON sites and leave stupid comments?

Anonymous said...

Hmm who to believe, a small business owner or a nefarious slumlord?

Seriously, GTFU of New York Icon!

JAZ said...

Mission accomplished; congratulations ICON

JAZ said...

In a little good news, B&H has their Con Ed inspection today, so they should be open as soon as the inspectors are done.

JAZ said...

Correction: Inspection is today at B&H, but will be open some time between today and Friday. Either way, great, great news and everyone should try to get over there and support them please.

Anonymous said...

ICON is absolutely the worst. But this from DNA info is not good for the Stage:

"Stage restaurant owner Roman Diakun told DNAinfo he did not do anything wrong.

“They don’t want me,” he said, referring to his landlord, 128 Second Realty LLC. “I didn’t do any crime.”

Diakun declined to comment further, but previously said at a small business meeting that he was making an emergency repair on the line and did not realize he needed a permit to do the work. He also denied that he was siphoning gas. "

https://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20150409/east-village/east-village-businesses-affected-by-blast-gather-offer-support

Anonymous said...

This is DISGUSTING!!!! Icon, why do you want this to be your legacy? There is a such thing as balance.

chris flash said...

The game is NOT over. STAGE has plenty of recourse here. A good lawyer will kill the ICON eviction effort and counter-sue for damages (lost income, etc) due to ICON's interference with STAGE's re-opening. The ConEd records will back up STAGE, not ICON, whose tenants were having gas problems long before the explosion across the street.....

olympiasepiriot said...

Here is the letter I wrote to State Sen. Squadron:

Dear Senator Squadron,

In my neighborhood there is a small lunch counter restaurant named The Stage that has the misfortune to be in a building with gas utility line problems. Ever since the building was bought by a new management LLC which seems to be a front for ICON, the residential and retail tenants have had various problems with the utilities and building maintenance. Now, the landlord is blaming The Stage for the problems and evicting them. http://evgrieve.com/2015/04/report-icon-realty-serves-stage.html?showComment=1429014442476 Although I do not know if there is any truth to the landlord's claims, I do know that ICON seems to try to buy cheap buildings with less than stellar conditions and then treat the existing tenants like rats to be eradicated. I am lucky enough not to live in one of their buildings; but, many friends and acquaintances do.

Is there anything your office can do to help this situation?

Thank you very much for your time and consideration,

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of Icon, but if it is proven that the guys from Stage were working on the gas line without permits, I am going to be hugely disappointed in them. Just because you have a bad landlord doesn't mean you are excused when you do bad things. I really hope this isn't true, but if it is, Stage can say goodbye to my business.

Anonymous said...

1) is it true that Stage was tampering with the gas lines?

and

2) if true, is eviction the proper recourse? Why not a fine?

It seems unlikely that ICON would accuse Stage of this without some proof (also collaborated by posters above)... But can't ICON be convinced to punish Stage instead of evicting them? Sounds like Ronan handed ICON Stage's head on a silver platter :(

Anonymous said...

I love Stage. The food is great, well priced and the people are wonderful. ICON has been trying to evict Roman for a while. am sure all of this has been quite a stress. Maybe a GOFUND page can be set-up to help Stage, and their employees. ICON is not going to stop. Stage only has a few more years on the lease, maybe it's time to move on. There are many empty storefronts. ICON is an awful landlord. These nice people deserve a nice landlord. Someone should take out a full page ad in the Villager and appeal to the landlords in the community. Maybe we can find them a wonderful new space, with a decent landlord, only blocks away. Fighting ICON may be too much of a monetary drain on Roman and the employees. don't want them to le

Anonymous said...

Somebody well connected (grieve or DNA?) please contact Roman Diakun and ask if he'd like a crowdfunding for lawyer help to fight this. If so, let's start one immediately. And everybody get ready to cough up some $$$.

This ain't just about the Stage. $100 to fight this might save you $1000 on your next year's rent. Plus it will help to save the last few remaining east village places.

Anonymous said...

I like the Stage Deli. But the truth is, the moment they messed with the gas lines without a permit (the owner essentially admitted to that fact) they were screwed.

I don't see how they keep their place after what happened across the street.

Anonymous said...

Also residents in Icon buildings are meeting with Cooper Square and GOLES to push back against Icon.

Anonymous said...

Cooper Square manages many buildings. Maybe we should petition Cooper Square to give Stage a storefront. They have buildings on 4th Street , on 2nd Avenue, and many others.

Anonymous said...

it says :

"Diakun declined to comment further, but previously said at a small business meeting that he was making an emergency repair on the line and did not realize he needed a permit to do the work."

if he was indeed making an emergency repair on the gas line, given all that has happened, they unfortunately have plenty or reason to evict him. it is sad to lose yet another long time neighborhood business, but that is reportedly what he claimed to have been doing, and everyone should know not to work on a gas line with out a permit.

Giovanni said...

Wait, so if a landlord messes with the gas lines, they get a stop work order and just have to fix the problem, they get to keep their building and charge everyone rent as usual until their building blows up. If a tenant messes with gas lines, they get evicted immediately without any evidence being presented or a fair hearing in court even though there was no damage done to anyone. Does this sound fair to anyone?

Anonymous said...

I am so disappointed by anyone--landlord or restaurant--who would tamper with gas lines. How could anyone do this? Do they not care at all about the people living in apartments above them let alone their customers and even themselves? People don't take the dangers of gas seriously. If you don't care about the rest of us, think of your own safety. This guy has to be in there running his restaurant every day. Common sense, people!

Sammy said...

For what it is worth WNYC is covering this pretty extensively.

Anonymous said...

There should be a no tolerance policy for landlords and tenants who tamper with gas lines. One strike, and you're out. These landlords and business owners don't seem to mind risking our lives so they can make money.

Anonymous said...

@olympiasepiriot: Excellent letter! I live near a different Icon-owned building and you hit the nail on the head: Icon considers existing tenants like rats to be eradicated.

Fortunately, tenants are wising up and getting legal help, but someone high up in city government ought to be taking a very, very close look at ALL of Icon's dealings in ALL of their buildings.

Goggla said...

This is sad and enraging on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

I don't know who to side with here. It kind of sounds like everybody is at fault to some degree.

Anonymous said...

I know its shocking. But people who OWN buildings are in a different situation than tenants. If a tenant messes with a gas line they can be evicted. Sorry. I know NYC is the home of the entitled tenant who thinks they are more than a renter. Considering the horrific explosion they cant have tenants who admit to doing this. Sorry. Maybe if some of you actually lived in the real world and werent so clueless and entitled youd learn something. SMH.

Anonymous said...


Managed by Terrence Lowenberg, of SMICON REALTY MANAGEMENT LLC:

http://50.116.56.233/buildings/222-east-12-street-manhattan#building-issues

Anonymous said...

The guy operating the restaurant goes to make an emergency repair. This isn't "tampering". It's fixing something that the LANDLORD should have fixed immediately. Why was he compelled to fix it himself? Most likely because THEY SUCK and were trying to force him out.

I'm sure given the byzantine system of getting a permit, etc., that many, many, many places do their own fixes. It was in a paper (since the explosion) that the guys see at least one case a week. Thie means the CITY hasn't been keeping tabs on it.

So the city is at fault, ICON is at fault. And the guy running the restaurant is doing an emergency repair (which was successful, apparently) just to keep his business operating. He wasn't trying to scam anyone or anybody.

Anonymous said...

Why is everybody so quick to defend this situation when he's doing the exact same thing as Hyrenko (or whatever her name is)

Anonymous said...

I don't want anybody messing with the gas in my building. I don't care if it is the restaurant on the ground floor or the landlord. When will these idiots learn?

HugeFanoftheStage said...

What I know: Yes 8:56, those are the allegations, and sadly the facts as well. I don't think the stage wants to fight it legally because it was in the wrong. It had made a simple mistake. And now the building's owners will use that as cause for eviction. Don't know what side to take? Why take one? Its just plain sad. Wish there was a way to help Roman get a fresh start. Can u crowd fund that 11:05?

Anonymous said...

I could not agree with Anon @1:54 more. The hypocrisy and sense of entitlement amongst EV Grieve commenters needs to stop.

Anonymous said...

Awful lot of suspiciously sock-puppety comments here taking Icon's story as the word of god. I'll believe The Stage bollixed up the gas line when I read it from a source other than the neighborhood's most notorious real estate scumbags and a bunch of anonymous and probably commercially-interested commenters.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Had a quick look at an Icon property list:
http://www.nybits.com/managers/icon_realty.html
Wow, that's some bundle of buildings. Saw plenty of Failure to Maintain & SWO violations for bulging masonry, cracked walls, illegal gas piping, illegal occupancy, missing flooring, loose windows, illegal construction, hazardous boiler conditions, non-working sprinklers etc. etc. etc. Landlords get so much leeway for this kind of crap - I wish it were unbelievable.
I hope against hope that Stage is proved to be in the clear over this, and that somewhere there's a new spot for them.

Anonymous said...

I am enraged. Seriously. Even IF Stage tampered with the gas, is that enough reason to evict them? I haven't even seen any proof for this claim. There seem to be different standards at work, if at all. Also, my fantasy is too limited to imagine that the Stage people would temper with the gas lines in the other tenant's apartments. Hallo, anybody out there? ICON, you bully, this smells badly.

Ken from Ken's Kitchen said...

ConEd investigators found some funky gas piping in the basement. Icon alleges that it's the Stage's doing and the Stage denies it.

That's all we know at this point.

Anonymous said...

If Stage restaurant tampered illegally with the gas lines, the building owner has the right to evict them for the safety of their tenants.

If 128 blew up due to a gas explosion caused by Stage, everyone would be pointing their finger at the landlord. Wouldn't they?

Tenants are merciless if a landlord makes a mistake thus there should be no reason for a landlord to be merciful towards a tenant. Landlord has the right to protect his property. Tenants can just move out and harass another landlord.

If it turns out Stage was siphoning gas, would the tenants still feel all cozy with Stage?
or will they still blame the landlord?

Anonymous said...

@Ken That's not all we know. We aso know that there were multiple DOB violations on the building's owner separate from any issues with the gas line or The Stage, including doing work on the building without a permit, and that the tenants are suing the landlord for a laundry list of issues including:

• inconsistent heat
• no fire alarms
• broken fire escape
• broken front door
• excessive dust
• broken stairs
• hanging wires

Those all sound like serious safety and fire code issues to me. And now all of a sudden the new owner is pointing fingers and putting up a smoke screen. Lets wait to see what the truth is when the smoke clears.

Gojira said...

Wow, so many real estate trolls! Go home, guys, your bridges are lonely!

Anonymous said...

if they are getting evicted, what can I/we do to help them find a new home? Regardless of who did what, I love the Stage and everyone who works there, and wish them the best.

Anonymous said...

^^ yes. Stage is iconic, but if this is true, that's deplorable and I have no sympathy.

Anonymous said...

You don't make an emergency repair yourself when it comes to as. YOU CALL CON-ED IMMEDIATELY.

chris flash said...

I believe that EVG has the ability to see the IP address of every poster here. It would be very interesting to trace the source of the ICONITROLLS who keep pointing the finger at everyone but THEMSELVES!!

We do not know that STAGE did ANYthing wrong, but we DO know that ICON has a negative history of violations and non-maintenance at this and other ICON-held buildings, so NO ONE should be taking ICON or its trolls seriously.

STAGE needs to take the OFFENSE, starting with a STAY OF EVICTION, followed by an ORDER TO SHOW CAUSE as to why ICON shouldn't be forced to correct conditions and violations interfering with the operation of STAGE's business, to pay for STAGE's damages and lost income and for an extension of STAGE's lease due to ICON's breaches of the Lease Agreement.

This is a perfectly valid and winnable response if STAGE is willing to FIGHT THE BASTARDS!!

Anonymous said...

Is Roman willing to do an interview or put out a statement confirming or denying this? I want to hear from him directly. This is incredibly upsetting. Whoever was working on the gas in this building without the proper permits/supervision should be held responsible.

Anonymous said...

I live in an icon building and have to go anonymous for fear of further harassment. These guys are merciless greedy and "cocksure" . They are rude and heartless to all of their stabilized tenants. The first words out of their mouths are always "its not true" or "we didn't do it" always trying to place the blame elsewhere. I think Icon tenants should unite (multiple buildings). They need to be exposed and forced to comply with the law, they might have changed laws (zoning etc) with their money paid to the Bloomberg administration but its high time Icon stopped buying more buildings when they can barely maintain the ones they have. High time to KICK ICON TO THE CURB! Hope someone out there starts an Icon Blog where we can all come together. I would do it but again I fear more harrassment.