Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Report: Residents at 444 E. 13th St. will receive a $1 million settlement over claims of harassment by Raphael Toledano


[Photo from May 2015 by Stacie Joy]

Landlord Raphael Toledano has agreed to pay a little more than $1 million to settle claims that he harassed tenants at 444 E. 13th St., according to The Real Deal.

Last spring, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue accused Toledano, 26, and a management company he hired of harassment and intimidation. A staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center, who is representing the East 13th Street tenants, told reporters during a rally outside the building last May that "there are tape recorded conversations where the landlord is threatening to drop dynamite on the building and then let everyone 'figure it out themselves.'"

Jeffrey Goldman, an attorney for Toledano, denied the harassment claims at the time.

"I have not seen him engage in any behavior or conduct that would give rise to an investigation let alone a finding of harassment,” Goldman told the Daily News.

The settlement between Toledano and several rent-stabilized tenants at No. 444 was finalized May 6, per The Real Deal, who reports that the New York Attorney General’s office and the state Homes and Community Renewal’s tenant protection unit are continuing their joint investigation into the harassment claims.

Toledano bought the building for $6.1 million in January 2015. Later in 2015 he bought a 16-building parcel in the neighborhood.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: Landlord of 444 E. 13th St. threatened 'to drop dynamite on the building'

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Health Department to inspect Raphael Toledano's East Village properties for toxic levels of lead dust

18 comments:

Donnie Moder said...

Kudos to the tenants and their advocates. The way landlords have abused tenants and literally forced them into a battle for their lives or move out has taken a toll on the EV community. It has been sickening. Kudos to evgrieve for reporting. Toledano obviously has no regard for the chaos and human suffering he inflicts. As we have seen in the reports on Croman, it is a sport to them, an a amusement to them for fun and profit. Sick.

Anonymous said...

Great. Hope it sets a precedent.

Giovanni said...

Wow, the tenants get a whole million dollars, or as Raphael Toledano calls it, "lunch money." They couldn't buy a one bedroom apartment in most of the condos going up around here.

Anonymous said...

"I have not seen him engage in any behavior..."

Well, if YOU didn't personally see it, then I guess it never happened?!

Anonymous said...

A note to anyone with one of these new slumlords, record any and all forms of harassment including conversations, text messages, renovation happening in off hours, unsafe conditions, lack of basic services such as water and gas. The only way to stay in your home is to build a case against these criminals. Congrats to the residents in this building.

Anonymous said...

Good for them! Well deserved.

Anonymous said...

Good...however, how much of that $1 million will go to the tenants? As with any class action suits, they'll probably get hundreds, tops, and the rest to the lawyers.

Anonymous said...

At least half is taken by taxes.

Anonymous said...

To all those who seem to think this is a piddling amount: Hey, a win is a win - $1 million isn't chump change (at least not in my world!). I realize it won't make each tenant rich by any means (and won't really compensate them for what they've gone through), but it HAS hit Toledano where it counts, in his wallet. Maybe, just maybe, he & his ilk will think twice before doing this again.

I'm glad the tenants organized and kept the pressure on. With this settlement and Croman's arrest, maybe other tenants who are similarly being treated wrongly by their landlords will see the value of organizing. I wish all of them success!

Anonymous said...

The important thing is that they won. I have also been harassed with overcharges, late payment fees, unwarranted housing court cases, no gas or hot water for eight months, begging for years for repair requests that go unheeded, and they break in with keys any time we are in housing court! I have warned my LL in writing time and time again about harassment tactics —— maybe now he'll ease up. THANK YOU for setting this precedent. IT'S VERY MUCH APPRECIATED BECAUSE IT SHEDS A MUCH-NEEDED LIGHT ON THE HIDEOUS BEHAVIOR OF MANY EAST VILLAGE LLs. KUDOS TO YOU ALL.

Anonymous said...

Lot of local landlords are probably cursing out Croman lately, that sloppy motherfucker got pinched and ruined everyone else's fun. What's Raffi going to do if he can't participate in his beloved team sports? He'll need to find another activity I am guessing.

cmarrtyy said...

It sends a message no matter the amount. And that more than anything is the point of the settlement for the rest of us - the tenants of the City of New York.

Anonymous said...

I just got an idea. These landlords ought to form a softball league and play against each other. They obviously need an outlet. It would be fun IMO. You could have Croman's Crowbars facing off against the likes of Toledano's 'Timidators, Kushner's Klosers, Shaoul's Sledgehammers. I would bet that if these guys blew off a little steam with some you know, actual team sports, they might not be such assholes at work.

Anonymous said...

>...the fish stinks from the head?

Anonymous said...

Yay! Finally, a landlord has to pay _something_ for obvious wrongdoing. However, $1 million divided, what?, 24 ways, minus lawyer's fees sounds like . . . not enough, to me. Not enough to compensate tenants and not enough to punish the landlord, not exactly a just settlement.

Anonymous said...

http://nymag.com/nymetro/realestate/features/755/index3.html
I applaud the tenants that fought, yet cant stop thinking about the ones that were pushed "bought out". The elderly who lived here in the rough years, made to leave their friends, stores, everything. All for a generation of mini-me's. (I believe their parents loved being called "the ME generation".

Anonymous said...

The problem is the landlords are usually anonymous hiding behind a management company. They get to hit us where we live. We don't even know who they are, much less where they live. We usually only communicate with a managing agent who takes marching orders from an owner and can't make decisions just the landlord's dirty work or get fired.

Anonymous said...

Million dollars is a drop in the bucket..glad there is some recourse tho...