He is under criminal indictment for mortgage fraud in a probe launched by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
In addition, a civil suit alleges that Croman "directs an illegal operation that wields harassment, coercion, and fraud to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments and convert their apartments into highly profitable market-rate units."
Croman's criminal case was adjourned until Nov. 29 ... while the civil case begins on Nov. 1.
Croman's real-estate empire includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village. As previously noted, Croman owns more buildings in the East Village than any other landlord.
The Bloomberg piece contains plenty of horror stories from past and present Croman tenants.
“He would remove the washing machines. He tried to close the front door, make everybody go through the basement. He got rid of the super, then had a part-time super who did nothing.”
Even his new market-rate tenants suffer, such as this NYU student:
Sophia offers me a brief tour of her formerly stabilized apartment, telling me that she and her two roommates pay $5,200 a month. The place has been renovated—wine fridge, exposed brick—but in a cheapo, Ikea way. “We just had someone in here fixing our shower,” she says. “We have a dishwasher that’s been broken since we’ve moved in here. Our dryer is, like, total shit. You have to dry things, like, 84 times.” She pauses. “The joke is: Everything is pretty, but nothing actually works.”
And a few more passages:
Sending one landlord to jail won’t turn New York City into a communitarian paradise, of course, but the attorney general’s case against Croman suggests the state is at least eager for gentrification to proceed legally. The city has maintained rent freezes on one-year leases for stabilized apartments for the past few years. Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for the repeal of decontrol loopholes (though the state is unlikely to accede), and has overhauled the zoning code so that many new residential buildings must set aside units for low-income tenants.
But such measures will do nothing to address the seemingly inexhaustible demand from privileged undergrads and Qatari emirs for well-appointed New York apartments. There are those, too, who argue that rent control isn’t worth fighting for—that it artificially suppresses housing supply and creates opportunities for bad actors such as Croman to exploit.
One lawyer who represented tenants in a lawsuit against Croman speculates that the landlord will spend time in prison: “I’m thinking he’s probably going to be living upstate somewhere. They really want to make an example out of him.”
Read the full piece here.