[Photo from May by Stacie Joy]
Raphael Toledano and his Brook Hill Properties continue to make headlines. Here's a look at two recent published reports…
In case you missed the Page 1 story in The New York Times yesterday … the paper published additional recordings between rent-stabilized tenants of Toledano's 444 E. 13th St. and one of his alleged brokers.
In an ongoing legal fight, the tenants submitted audio and video recordings to housing court depicting the agents trying to scare them into leaving their apartments.
“The building is going to be shaking; the vermin will start running,” one agent, who identified himself as Newton Hinds in a cellphone audio recording, said about the planned demolition.
According to the Times, Toledano denied harassing the tenants, and blamed Goldmark Property Management, which he subsequently fired, for all the problems. (Lawyers for Goldmark have denied in court papers that Hinds worked for them.)
In any event, the state's Tenant Protection Unit and attorney general's office are reportedly investigating the situation at No. 444, which Toledano bought in January for $6.1 million ... "and had subpoenaed information on Mr. Toledano's properties."
Toledano's East Village portfolio has grown substantially in recent months. In September, Brook Hill Properties completed the purchase of 16 East Village buildings from the Tabak family, paying $97 million for a portfolio that amounts to 301 apartments and 15 retail spaces.
The current issue of The Villager has a detailed article about the encounters residents of the recently acquired buildings on East Fifth Street have had with the 25-year-old Toledano, who often goes by Raffi.
To date, tenants in six of Toledano’s E. Fifth St. buildings have documented more than 140 interactions, altercations and outright threats by Toledano and his camp during the two-month period from this July 8 through Sept. 8. Some have reported being followed in the street by Raffi’s cousin Isaac Toledano, while others report encounters with a group of men dressed in black stepping out of SUV’s and insisting on entering and inspecting tenants’ apartments.
However, according to the article, there haven't been any "recorded complaints or reports of harassment by Toledano and his team" since Sept. 8. And as we noted on Sept. 23, some tenants in the buildings received welcome letters and boxes of chocolates from Brook Hill.
The charm offensive wasn't limited to residents. A volunteer at the 6th Street and Avenue B Community Garden shared this letter with us:
By way of introduction, I work with Brook Hill Properties, a new landlord in the East Village. One of our commitments is to serve the community and its residents. As part of that, we are interested in partnering with organizations such as the 6&B Garden to explore ways in which we can work together in the East Village neighborhood.
We would welcome the opportunity to come to the garden and learn more about your vision and goals as a leading community group. In doing so, we are hoping to better understand the role we can play in becoming an active community partner.
Meanwhile, according to The Villager, Toledano is currently under contract to purchase an additional 11 buildings in the East Village, West Village and Murray Hill for $55 million.
Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: Landlord of 444 E. 13th St. threatened 'to drop dynamite on the building'
Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands
Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano
Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal
Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio
Brookhill Properties launches chocolate offensive