[Image via Facebook]
Residents at the Raphael Toledano-owned 325 E. 12th St. say they have been without gas for cooking for more than six months now. Yesterday morning, some of the tenants, along with other members of the Toledano Tenant Coalition, held a protest and "Toledano-Style Turkey Dinner" — featuring Banquet frozen turkey dinners — here between First Avenue and Second Avenue.
A handful of tenants announced that they are taking the under-investigation landlord to court. Here's more via an advisory from the Cooper Square Committee:
Now eight of the tenants are fighting Raphael Toledano in court for an order to restore the gas — one that his lawyers are vehemently resisting. While Mr. Toledano and his agents are likely enjoying warm and cozy kitchens filled with the aroma of holiday cooking, the kitchens of 325 East 12th Street will be cold & empty… except, perhaps, for the echo of Mr. Toledano, spouting empty promises of gas restoration and better relations with his tenants. Mr. Toledano has refused to meet face to face with tenants and elected officials on two occasions and opted to send his legal team (Belkin Burden Wenig & Goldman, LLP) instead.
And a statement:
"The Toledano Tenant Coalition believes that Mr. Toledano continues to harass tenants by unreasonable non-renewal of leases and through slow, poorly managed building construction designed to make tenant’s homes unlivable. The coalition also asserts that Mr. Toledano has irresponsibly forced both stabilized and market rate tenants to live for months without cooking gas in buildings overrun with vermin. The coalition remains committed to ending what they see as Mr. Toledano’s campaign against the tenants that call his buildings home."
Sen. Brad Hoylman also attended yesterday's protest...
Bedford + Bowery has more on yesterday's Toledano-turkey gathering here.
Back in August, Toledano’s Brookhill Properties held a poorly received ice cream social for its residents, including the 12th Street tenants without gas for cooking. At the time, a Toledano spokesperson told The Real Deal that it was up to Con Ed and the city to address the situation. However, a Con Ed rep said that the shutdown at No. 325 "was prompted by an internal gas leak at the 12th Street building and that the company can’t restore service until Toledano makes necessary repairs."
Toledano, who told a reporter for The Real Deal in June that he's "worth a fuckload of money, bro," has been accused of a variety of predatory practices. In addition, 20 of his buildings were tested for toxic levels of dust. In May, Toledano agreed to pay more than $1 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged that he harassed rent-regulated residents at 444 E. 13th St.
He is currently selling several buildings from his East Village portfolio.