Tenants of more than 20 buildings owned by Raphael Toledano, along with local elected officials and community organizers, went to Midtown to call out Madison Realty Capital and Signature Bank for their role in lending money to the controversial landlord.
The group, including a large number of East Village residents, first convened yesterday morning outside Madison Realty Capital headquarters, 825 Third Ave., then, accompanied by members of the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, marched to the Signature Bank headquarters, 565 Fifth Ave.
Here's part of a statement issued via the Cooper Square Committee:
In September of 2015, Madison Realty Capital, a determined private equity lender, issued Toledano a $124 mil mortgage to buy 17 buildings throughout the East Village and Chelsea area.
News coverage (The Real Deal) has documented the risky lending patterns that Madison Realty Capital maintains. The Real Deal quoted a veteran real estate investor saying that MRC’s $124 million loan to Toledano left him “over leveraged,” and that Toledano is now “pushing up rents to pay off a high mortgage.”
The mortgages Madison Realty Capital issued Toledano went as far as to require him to spend $2 mil of the loan exclusively on tenant buyouts or renovations – practices which often trigger huge rent increases. Tenants in Toledano’s buildings have faced alleged harassment and extensive building issues ever since he took ownership. Signature Bank played a role here as well, as they collateralize Madison Realty Capital in the lending they do.
And here are prepared statements from elected local officials...
State Assemblymember Deborah Glick: “Raphael Toledano has proven to be an unscrupulous and harassing landlord who takes financial risks and is often over-leveraged while seeking to make an enormous short-term profit off a group of buildings at the expense of tenant’s rights. Madison Realty Capital, and their collateralized backer, Signature Bank, show a disregard for stable communities by funding these mortgages for Toledano. We urge them to stop funding these projects which inevitably result in tenant harassment."
State Sen. Brad Hoylman: "Madison Realty needs to take responsibility for the unscrupulous, anti-tenant actions of the developers it bankrolls. Madison is greasing the skids for predatory landlords in my district who systematically harass tenants out of their homes. I’m proud to stand with the Toledano Tenants Coalition, Cooper Square Committee, and the Rude Mechanical Orchestra in calling on Madison Realty to pull the plug on Brookhill Properties."
Toledano is reportedly trying to sell a large number of his East Village properties.
Photos courtesy of the Cooper Square Committee