Today, we are forcing notorious NYC landlord Steve Croman to pay $8 million in restitution to his tenants—the largest-ever settlement with an individual landlord. https://t.co/p7zQSdEfa0 pic.twitter.com/gViuoiMFg8— Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) December 20, 2017
Steve Croman's civil case came to an end yesterday as he agreed to pay $8 million to the tenants he was accused of bullying out of their rent-regulated apartments.
Here's the official release from the Attorney General's office:
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced an unprecedented settlement with Steven Croman ... for engaging in illegal conduct, including harassment, coercion, and fraud, to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments and convert their apartments into highly profitable market-rate units.
The consent decree requires Croman to pay $8 million into a Tenant Restitution Fund – the largest-ever monetary settlement with an individual landlord. The settlement also requires over 100 Croman residential properties to be run by a new, independent management company with no ties to Croman, for five years – the longest-ever term for independent management in OAG history. Moreover, the settlement requires seven years of a monitor who will oversee compliance with the terms of the consent decree and provide regular reporting to the Attorney General – the longest-ever monitorship required in any tenant harassment case.
Croman is currently serving one year in jail and paid a separate $5 million settlement as a result of criminal charges brought by Attorney General Schneiderman.
Eligible tenants will be able to apply for restitution; the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) will announce details of a claims process early next year. Tenants will be eligible for restitution if they are or were a tenant in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment owned by Croman between July 1, 2011 and the date of the agreement (Dec. 20, 2017); they received a buyout of less than $20,000, not including any amount that purported to cover rent or arrears; and no other tenant in their apartment received money from the restitution fund.
The Attorney General’s office will approve both the independent management company and the monitor. The independent management company will oversee operations and institute new policies at the Croman properties to ensure full compliance with the law and correction of all past violations. It will also post a comprehensive set of Tenants Rights in every building it manages.
The monitor will provide quarterly reports to the Attorney General, which will include at minimum any complaints received from tenants and actions taken; the total number of rent-regulated apartments that became deregulated during the reporting period, the reason for deregulation, and all supporting documents; and the monitor’s assessment as to whether Croman has complied with the consent decree.
The consent decree also ensures that Anthony Falconite – another defendant in the Attorney General’s lawsuit whom Croman allegedly referred to as his “secret weapon” in intimidating rent-regulated tenants – will have no interaction with any Croman tenants.
Croman is currently in jail (though not at Rikers as originally billed via the AG's office) for mortgage fraud. Back in June, he pleaded guilty to three felonies for fraudulently refinancing loans and committing tax fraud and will serve up to a year in prison and pay a $5 million tax settlement. Public records show that Croman (in the system as Steven Crowman) is currently at the Manhattan Detention Center (aka the Tombs).
Croman's real-estate portfolio via 9300 Realty includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village.
Meanwhile, a Croman tenant shared the holiday card that 9300 Realty sent out last week...