We sent the notorious landlord Steven Croman to jail for breaking the law. Now, his tenants are also getting the restitution they deserve after enduring years of harassment. The first round of payments from our unprecedented $8M settlement are in the mail. https://t.co/9EjRwLi1DK pic.twitter.com/r4KBiRxNLt— NY AG Underwood (@NewYorkStateAG) December 13, 2018
New York AG Barbara Underwood announced yesterday that the first checks are in the mail to eligible current or former tenants of buildings owned by Steve Croman who submitted claims to the Croman Tenant Restitution Fund.
The restitution fund is part of the settlement that arose out of an investigation and lawsuit filed by the AG against Croman for — among other things — harassment, coercion and fraud, to force rent-regulated tenants out of their apartments.
Here's more from the AG's press office:
The consent decree requires Croman to pay $8 million into a Tenant Restitution Fund – the largest-ever monetary settlement with an individual landlord. The $8 million will be divided equally among eligible claimants and distributed to tenants in installments over a 38 to 42-month period. This first round of restitution payments follows Croman’s initial $2 million payment to the fund.
To be eligible for restitution, tenants had to have lived in a rent-stabilized or rent-controlled apartment owned by Croman between July 1, 2011 and December 20, 2017, not including tenants who received a buyout of more than $20,000 (not including any amount that purported to cover rent or arrears).
Following last year’s historic consent decree, in August 2018, the claims administrator hired by the Attorney General mailed claim notices and application forms to current and former rent-stabilized and rent-controlled tenants in Croman’s buildings. Nearly 800 households filed applications for restitution funds. Eligible households will begin receiving checks for $2,425 each, as early as next week, in this first installment from the Croman Tenant Restitution Fund.
Cynthia Chaffee, Croman tenant and cofounder of the Stop Croman Coalition, told me this: "As far as I'm concerned, no amount of money can ever make up for the hell Steve Croman put his tenants through."
In addition to this $8 million Tenant Restitution Fund, the settlement required that a new, independent management company run Croman's residential properties for five years. In June, the AG's office selected Michael Besen’s New York City Management to oversee Croman's real-estate empire, which includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village.
Croman was released from the Manhattan Correctional Facility on June 1 after serving eight months of a one-year jail sentence and paid a $5 million tax settlement following separate criminal charges brought by the AG's office for fraudulent refinancing of loans and tax fraud.
Previously on EV Grieve:
AG's office: Steve Croman agrees to pay $8 million to the tenants he harassed