Friday, June 21, 2019

Raphael Toledano to pay $3 million, faces possible lifetime real-estate ban, for harassing EV tenants

New York AG Letitia James yesterday announced a settlement with notorious East Village landlord Raphael Toledano to put an end to his harassment of tenants and to prevent him from engaging in speculative real-estate deals.

Let's go right to the news release via the AG's office...

Under the terms of the Consent Order (stipulation and judgement) being submitted to the Court, Toledano’s real estate business will be supervised by an Independent Monitor, who will ensure that Toledano ceases to engage in fraud and tenant harassment. Toledano will not be allowed to have any direct contact with tenants, and will be required to hire an independent management company for any of his properties.

In addition, Toledano has agreed to pay $3 million in damages and penalties. If Toledano violates the terms of his agreement, then Attorney General James will seek a lifetime bar against any further participation in the real estate industry, as well as a suspended judgment of $10 million.

Attorney General James and Governor Cuomo’s Tenant Protection Unit (TPU) within New York State Homes and Community Renewal began investigating Toledano after receiving complaints from tenants and community advocates about his use of harassment, unsafe construction, and other illegal conduct to push tenants out of their rent-stabilized homes.

As set forth in the Complaint filed in New York Supreme Court, Attorney General James’ investigation established that Toledano engaged in a pattern of fraudulent and illegal conduct throughout his work as a landlord and real-estate developer.

He harassed tenants through coercive buyouts, illegal construction practices and failed to provide his rent-regulated tenants with utilities, repairs, and other necessary services. Toledano also engaged in deceptive business practices in his real-estate transactions, including repeatedly and persistently misrepresenting himself as a lawyer and advertising apartments with 3 or 4 bedrooms, when legally the apartment could only have 1 or 2 bedrooms.

It's not immediately clear how many properties Toledano still owns. (His Brookhill Properties website is no longer active.) Toledano, who bought up dozens of East Village properties only to foreclose on many of them later, is still the owner — via an LLC — of 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

In March, he reportedly filed for bankruptcy on the building, and was attempting to reject the rent-stabilized leases for a number of residents in the building, per NBC 4. However, AG James and several housing officials from the city and state intervened to help the tenants.

In previous years, Toledano purchased 28 buildings in two separate portfolios from the Tabak family for a total of $140 million. Experienced real-estate players raised red flags about Toledano's heavy reliance on debt.

In an interview with The Real Deal in June 2016, Toledano, then 26, made "frat-tastic boasts about his wealth," including: "I’m worth a fuckload of money, bro."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Claim: Landlord of 444 E. 13th St. threatened 'to drop dynamite on the building'

Cleaning up 444 E. 13th St.

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Health Department to inspect Raphael Toledano's East Village properties for toxic levels of lead dust


noble neolani said...

As with all white collar criminals he got off with a slap on his limp wrist.

Anonymous said...

Put the Rich spoiled Bro in Rikers with the other Bros.

Anonymous said...

All straight male white collar criminals most always get a slap on the wrist. The rest of us? I am not so sure.

Anonymous said...

I would laugh at this guy if so many other people hadn't been, and continue to be, hurt by his stupid actions. He's a flea on the dog of society.

Gojira said...

It's a start. Now she should go after the Icon thugs, Kushner, and all the other rotten apples in the Real Estate Developers (bottom of the) Barrel.

Anonymous said...

Too lenient.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Letitia James got what could be gotten, under the law. Think she's going to be a fine AG.

Anonymous said...

This guy is a total duche bag. He deserves everything thrown at his way.

Anonymous said...

I hope he ends up with the lifetime ban on being involved in real estate. Couldn't happen to a more deserving d-bag.

Giovanni said...

If you were a tenant in a building who did half of what he did to his tenants you would probably be sent to jail, and for a long time. I like our new AG Letitia James, but this settlement is too lenient for one of the worst landlords we have seen in a long time. Also, where is the action against the predatory lenders that basically put this guy in charge of clearing out rent stabilized tenants in dozens of buildings? This wasn’t a case of one bad owner, it was a systematic attempt by his lenders to put an inexperienced, greedy frontman in charge of harassing tenants out of their homes so that they could all make a boatload of money.

Anonymous said...

YEs, Signature Bank was it that abetted this guy. A little good news though, but def too lenient.