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.”
The Post reports that the landlord has withdrawn the case.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.
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