Monday, August 21, 2017

[Updated] Report: Landlord makes eviction case against tenant with the Confederate flags

The drama continues over the flags on Eighth Street and Avenue D. DNAinfo reports that the landlord has filed a lawsuit against the tenant and is seeking to have him evicted.

Per DNAinfo:

William Green's glowing display of two Confederate battle flags in the windows of his top-floor apartment at 403 E. Eighth St. have posed a "clear and present danger" to the building and the surrounding community by sparking violence and mayhem, says the complaint filed Saturday by property owner 113 Avenue D, LLC in New York State Supreme Court.

Green, a rent-stabilized tenant with a lease dating back to 1996, is in violation of both the "Objectionable Conduct" clause of his lease and the Rent Stabilization Code because the flags are a nuisance burdening other tenants in the building and he should be evicted as a result, the lawsuit states.

Green has reportedly been out of town.

He said that he "found the sudden anger about the flags 'suspicious,'" according to emails included in the court papers.

Previous reports noted that Green was one of three non-market-rate tenants left in the building. According to Streeteasy, there are 23 units in the building. The previous listings show an average monthly rent of $2,395. Streeteasy does show any active rentals right now.

Per the listing:

This east village walk up building features beautifully renovated units and live-in super. The M14D bus stops right outside, and there is a citibike station across the street. Easy walking distance to the L, J, F, and M trains. There is a convenient dry cleaner downstairs as well as many bars and restaurants on Avenue C just a block away.

Public records show that No. 403 is managed by Yassky Properties. The building last changed hands for $865,000 in September 2000.

Updated 1:40 p.m.

Here's more from the Daily News:

Yassky’s attorney, Robert Gumenick, said he was not currently seeking Green’s eviction.

“Once the tenant realizes the extent of the problem, we’re hopeful the tenant will cooperate,” he said.

One longtime resident of the building, who did not wish to give her name, said the controversy was complicated by the fact that Green may be mentally ill.

“Obviously I don't want to live in a building with Confederate flags in the window,” the resident said. “(But) I don't know if he understands what that flag represents.”

Updated 8/22

The Post reports that the landlord has withdrawn the case.

“At this point, he feels it would be better to work it out with the tenant,” said Robert Gumenick, the lawyer for building owner Charles Yassky.

Gumenick declined to comment further except to say that Yassky no longer wanted to pursue the matter in court.

Updated 8/23

The Daily News has a short interview with Green.

“Absolutely not,” a defiant William Green told the Daily News on Tuesday when asked if he would classify himself as a racist.

The 43-year-old said the association of the rebel flag with secession and slavery is just a tale being told by select media outlets.

“That’s a fad, something that’s being created by MSNBC,” he told The News.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Anger over Confederate flags on 8th Street and Avenue D

[Updated] Workers place tarp over flags on 8th Street and Avenue D

[Updated] Flags — and tarp — have been removed from building at 8th Street and Avenue D


IzF said...

When I lived on 12th St between A & B in '96-'97 there was an apt across the street from me that had a Confederate flag in the window and you could see a Nazi flag inside on the wall.

Anonymous said...

So some people who were never slaves and who have a standard of living unimaginable in most parts of the world are fightin' mad at some other people who never owned slaves and that they call Nazis, even though I betcha neither side knows a damn thing about real Nazis, and this all over some flags and some statues that were once a product of the Democratic Party but which are now being defended by Republicans?

Who wants to live on this planet anymore?

Anonymous said...

Evevectiom over a flag causing a nuisance? I highly find this reason plausible. More like a landlord loophole for evection. The EV had been known for demonstrations, nuisances, etc. We've always fought for our rights. Is anyone getting together to demonstrate freedom of speech in support of the tenant who is a victim of free speech and landlord greed? Wake up you people! Our country is on the way to smothering the right of our greatest freedom, free speech!

Anonymous said...

It's called freedom of speech, people!

Anonymous said...

I obviously can't condone having the flags, but this threatens an extremely dangerous precedent from a civil liberties perspective. It wasn't terribly long ago that the McCarthy era persecuted those deemed too far to the left.

If you create the precedent that a tenant can be evicted for displaying a flag or having a viewpoint, that precedent will be used again in a different context. Perhaps someone displaying an unpopular religious symbol, supporting a controversial political candidate or viewpoint. It's a slippery slope, and if this precedent gets created, you're not going to be able to push the shit back into the horse.

sophocles said...

I expect these claims will get dismissed or withdrawn and if he has a good lawyer he will get a few bucks from the landlord. Please leave the guy alone unless he threatens or assaults someons and then let the law take care od it. Next thing you know someone will feel threatened by the Israeli or Msxican or Russian flag. Oh it has already happened with the Israeli flag.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT a freedom of speech issue since he put the flags in the window of a rented apartment that caused other tenants to complain about his objectionable conduct, which is a violation of his lease. The flags are just the straw that broke the camels back, because if all of the other reports about his antisocial behaviors are true (throwing garbage out the window, throwing a TV down the stairs, yelling offensive insults out the window, blasting music) then he has given his landlord plenty of excuses to take him to court. People have been evicted for much less than this. If proven, these antisocial behaviors show he has created a nusiisance for other tenants, which is a clear violation of his lease. He does not own the property, he rents it, so his rights are limited. He can carry the flags with him in the street all he wants, or hang them inside his apartment where they are not a nuisance. By turning the flags into an in your face display in every window, and putting flood lights behind them at night, he turned this into a huge shitshow that is now going to cost him thousands in legal fess and maybe even a lost rent stabilized apartment.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the market trumps ideology. I hope a judge throws this out.

Anonymous said...

and we lose another rent regulated apartment and a mentally ill person will need to find other affordable housing. I don't remember reading that his neighbors think he is a nuisance. sounds to me like a real effort should be made to speak to this person and try to get through to him how this is impacting people. What is the downside in trying to get a qualified person to speak to him. and when did we decide we believe in censorship?

Nickybotz said...

Evicting him because we don't like his flag or him flaunting his flag is a textbook definition of censorship. While the first amendment protects you from government persecution and not from other individuals, think of the precedent this sets for our culture. Whenever the majority doesn't like what you wear or show, whatever we deem a nuisance, we can alter your basic living conditions and impede on your civil liberty. Maybe the Pride Flag is next if we get a majority far right crowd in this city. Maybe your foreign country flag is next. Do you not see the irony of going after this confederate guy considering what people go through who wear Pride gear in far right localities? It's the very same thing, to the T. The same way you ascribe hate and a nuisance to the Confederate Flag, they may make the same argument about the Pride flag being hateful and a nuisance towards the majority heterosexual, religious communities in far right counties. So whose right? It's not fair to decide, so let's let people decide on their own what they want to flaunt and suffer social consequences, but let's commit to never taking away their civil liberty lest we grant them the power to take away ours. It's weird to criticize right wing majorities of demonizing Pride and minorities, and then turn around and behave the exact same way towards their symbols.

Anonymous said...

I really don't want to get into the free speech issue, it is complicated, but I do want to say that people have GOT to knock it off already with this "he's mentally ill" business. Being an antisocial asshole, or a racist who is too dumb to even articulate his misguided racism, or a guy who throws TVs down the stairs and trash out the window, is not necessarily a sign of being mentally ill. Now, for all we know this guy may indeed be suffering from some really bad mental health issues, and I hope in that case he gets the help he needs while his neighbors are also made to feel safe in their building/on their block. But some dude from the block association, or some 8th Street busybody talking to reporters, are not this tenant's doctors, and they should not be diagnosing him and therefore basically explaining away the antisocial behavior. When I hear "throwing garbage out the window, throwing a TV down the stairs, yelling offensive insults out the window, blasting music," I don't think "untreated schizophrenia," I think "abrasive drunk." Maybe I'm right, maybe I'm wrong and he IS ill, but can people please stop speaking about this as if it's a fact?

And I'm sorry, if he's NOT mentally ill, then he's a dumbass, because anyone who has managed to hold onto their rent-stabilized apartment over the past 20 years knows better than to draw purposeless negative attention to yourself, when the landlords are just looking for any reason to get their grubby mitts on your lease.

Anonymous said...

@1:00 and @5:35 YES.

Anonymous said...

Landlord already dropped the suit. I think we have a record.

Alt-Right BnB said...

To everyone here defending this guys right to free speech, don't worry, you can always take him in as your new roommate once he gets evicted.

JQ LLC said...

He's not getting evicted. All the yelling and vandalism has come to naught. And these nazi dipshits are still organizing.

The slippery slope is now greasier.

Jenny Adams said...

Why is no publication mentioning that he also has had the German Iron Cross flag flying at points too? That - coupled with the Confederate Flags - was an even more disturbing message to me.
I called Yassky Properties and Charles Yassky himself 3 separate times. I wrote about it here on July 4th too.

I was always sent over on the phone to a manager to speak. They gave me the runaround that they'd spoken to the tenant and their hands were tied. Multiple times. I called 311, the community board and wrote an email to the police. And that's just me. Others were doing the same.

So, if that was true, it's hardly "suspicious" that this was while he was out of town. I think he'd been told MULTIPLE times by multiple people to take those fucking things down for nearly a year.
He at one point hung them off the roof and they were able to remove them then. I wish he had someone who cared enough about him to help him get back on his medication. This is a sad situation all around but as his across the street neighbor, i'm VERY glad my room isn't bathed in this gross red light from the shining, lit-up flags anymore. Kinda wish he'd move and then I could have his penthouse apt. too.

sophocles said...

I saw a guy with an iron cross tatoo. Maybe I can force him to have it removed.

Anonymous said...

See his answers to a similar thread on DNAInfo. He's a straight up troll.