Thursday, August 19, 2010

"I just want folks to know that the whole neighborhood is going to crap"

Quite a piece by Shefali Kulkarni in Runnin' Scared about the soon-to-close Village Fabrics.

Here's a chunk of it:

In June, Pamac Realty filed suit against Kurban Ali Kokan, the store's owner, after Kokan did not pay $27,400 in back rent. The Kokan family claimed that the store had water damage that was never properly repaired. The suit ended on August 9, when a judge ruled that Kokan must pay the back rent with interest and vacate the building. Pamac's attorney created a stipulation that reduced the amount to $20,000.

But that's still too much money, says Kokan's wife, Cemile, who is currently working at the store with their son Sadik. (The Kokan's rent was $4,400 each month for the last five years, during which business slowed down, her husband fell ill, and medical bills needed to be paid.)

Then Pamac Realty posted a For Rent sign above the storefront. "He came one day and he said 'pay or ship out' -- those were his words," Cemile says. "I'm not blaming him, but some of things he does are unfair. He's not a bad landlord, but he's fed up with me too. I guess 18 to 20 years doesn't count."

Cemile, 65, wipes tears from her eyes as she sells a few yards of brown vinyl to a customer. "I'm sorry," she says. "It's just that there's been no peace in my house for a while," she tells the customer. "We are getting older now, my husband is 80. We still have a mortgage to pay. What are we going to do after this?"

"I just want folks to know that the whole neighborhood is going to crap," Sadik, 33, says. "I mean [my parents] are senior citizens, you know? We're just tired of being honest and loyal, when apparent greed is all that matters. This just shows you what is happening to our community now."

Pasquale Coppolechia, the president of Pamac Realty, says that the tenants were never a problem, when they were paying the rent. He says the Kokans were at least eight months behind in rent and that after their 10-year lease expired, they went on a one-year lease and eventually a month-to-month one. "We offered an installment plan as well," he says. "I know they were going through some 'apparent' difficulties and that they were clearly struggling, but even these negotiations just took up time."

Coppolechia says that there are already businesses interested in the First Avenue location. "We've been collecting several requests from the broker, pardon my French, but they were like flies on shit."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Closing sale at Village Fabrics

Village Fabrics to close next month


Anonymous said...

I don't get it. They did not pay the rent even though a judge ruled that it is owed, and now the landlord wants to find somebody who can. Why exactly does this indicate that the neighborhood is going to crap? I'm all for independent businesses, but I'm not in favor of such special treatment.

Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to the mean and unforgiving nature of this particular landlord who has at least one other elderly tenant for whom he refuses to fix an ongoing leak in another building because the person has been here for years and has a old rent-controlled agreement. The landlord has been trying to force him out for at least five years. Because his rent is so low the landlord refuses to maintain the building between floors and now the entire building smells of mold. You can bet that he will be making much more than $4,400 a month for the street level space after Village Fabrics is gone. Does he deserve it? I don't think so, but this city functions on greed.

Lisa said...

Flies on shit - an apt analogy, but not one that I think ol'
Pasquale meant to suggest. Works for me, tho.

glamma said...

Pasquale Coppolechia, your karma is absolutely terrible. I mean, really abhorrent. How do you sleep with yourself at night?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 7:52:
Are you a fucking retard?

Commercial rents have reached a point where small businesses can no longer exist as small businesses, and therefor, small businesses are closing, leaving nothing but banks, Duane-Reades, and Starbucks in their place. Ergo, "the whole neighborhood is going to crap".
But hey; enjoy.