Showing posts with label 444 E. 13th St.. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 444 E. 13th St.. Show all posts

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Report: New York Attorney General intervenes to stop eviction of tenants in Raphael Toledano-owned building on 13th Street


[Photo at No. 444 from May 2015 by Stacie Joy]

Updated to include the Gothamist post.

Landlord Raphael Toledano is still causing grief for East Village residents.

The controversial landlord, who bought up dozens of East Village properties only to foreclose on many of them later, is still reportedly the owner — via an LLC — of 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

According to published reports, Toledano filed for bankruptcy on the building, and is attempting to reject the rent-stabilized leases for a number of residents in the building, as NBC 4 first reported.

Per Gothamist, Toledo/the LLC is asking for a bankruptcy court to terminate the tenants' leases, on the grounds that a proposed $8.2 million sale of the property can't go through while the rent-stabilized leases are in place. (The Gothamist piece has a lot of good details not reported elsewhere.)

Now, however, New York Attorney General Letitia James and a handful of housing officials from the city and state have intervened to help the tenants, eight of whom have been withholding rent due to inadequate heat, broken or defective plumbing, garbage in the hallway and rodents, as Patch noted. (The NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development website lists 68 outstanding violations.)

James and the housing officials joined in an action in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of tenants at No. 444. Here's more via a media advisory from the AG's office:

Both the City and State are opposing the building owner's application to reject tenants' leases, an application that is a thinly-veiled attempt to flout rent regulation laws and displace tenants.

"Bankruptcy Court should not be used as a tool to unjustly oust rent-stabilized New Yorkers from their homes," James said. "In filing this motion, my office is working to ensure that the tenants are not displaced. Housing is a right, and we will continue to use every legal tool available to stand up for tenants and to enforce their rights."

Local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera pointed out Toledano's ugly past as a landlord.

"The owner of 444 East 13th St. has spent years illegally harassing the tenants living in these rent-stabilized apartments, and this legal maneuver is just the latest shady tactic to remove these long-time New Yorkers from their homes," she said in a statement. "Bad actors across New York need to be put on notice — our government is in the business of protecting and expanding rent-regulated apartments, and I certainly will not sit idly by while harassment takes place in my District."

James and Rivera both took part in a rally outside 444 E. 13th St. yesterday, as PIX 11 reported.



This is the address where many people first heard about the twentysomething Toledano. In the spring of 2015, tenants at No. 444 accused Toledano, and a management company he reportedly hired (then later fired), of harassment and intimidation.

There are tape recorded conversations where a rep for Goldmark Property Management reportedly said, among other things to a rent-stabilized tenant: "I'm here, really, to help you. Because if it were up to the owners, they would just drop dynamite on the whole building and everyone would figure it out."

(The Times published the audio recordings here... Gothamist posted them here.)

In May 2016, Toledano agreed to pay a little more than $1 million to settle claims that he harassed the tenants, according to The Real Deal. The Times reported that most of the the tenants are "low-wage workers of Mexican descent who pay modest rents for the neighborhood and have lived in their building for decades."

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, per The Real Deal.

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Raphael Toledano is selling 444 E. 13th St.


[Photo at No. 444 from May 2015 by Stacie Joy]

Raphael Toledano of Brookhill Properties has put another of his East Village buildings on the block.

As noted last week, Toledano is in the process of selling multiple EV properties.

Now the latest address for sale is 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue.

First, to the 444 listing at Cushman & Wakefield:

The building consists of a vacant ground floor space with 16 apartments above. Of the 16 residential units, all are subject to rent stabilization. Eight units are renovated with condo-level finishes that include wide plank wood floors, white marble bathrooms, re-finished exposed brick, gray washed stained wood cabinetry, and stainless steel appliances. The average in-place rent is approximately $70 per square foot which is below market. The newly renovated ground floor space is currently vacant.

The building is located less than a block from the 1st Avenue L train stop and within close proximity to neighborhood hot spots such as Hearth and The Redhead. Additionally, the building is less than a block from 500 East 14th Street where Extell is developing a large mixed-use condo building with over 40,000 SF of retail that will drive long term foot traffic.

The asking price is $9.9 million. Toledano bought the building for $6.1 million in January 2015, per public records.

And this was the address where many people first heard about the 26-year-old Toledano. In the spring of 2015, rent-regulated tenants at No. 444 accused Toledano, and a management company he reportedly hired (then later fired), of harassment and intimidation.

There are tape recorded conversations where a rep for Goldmark Property Management reportedly said, among other things to a rent-stabilized tenant: "I'm here, really, to help you. Because if it were up to the owners, they would just drop dynamite on the whole building and everyone would figure it out."

(The Times published the audio recordings here... Gothamist posted them here.)

Back in May, Toledano agreed to pay a little more than $1 million to settle claims that he harassed the tenants, according to The Real Deal. The Times reported that most of the the tenants are "low-wage workers of Mexican descent who pay modest rents for the neighborhood and have lived in their building for decades."

In the past year, Toledano purchased 28 buildings in two separate portfolios from the Tabak family for a total of $140 million.

The Brookhill Properties website shows that the company owns 21 buildings in the East Village. Of those, 9 are now for sale:

• 27 St. Mark's Place — $16.5 million
• 66 E. Seventh St. — $12 million
• 253 E. 10th St. — $11 million
• 510 and 514 E. 12th St. — $24.5 million (must be purchased together)
• 97 Second Ave. (bids now being accepted)
• 221 E. 10th St. and 58 St. Mark’s Place (part of a four-building portfolio with 2 Kips Bay addresses asking $36 million)
• 444 E. 13th St. — $9.9 million

Experienced real-estate players have raised red flags about Toledano's heavy reliance on debt, per The Real Deal.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Report: Residents at 444 E. 13th St. will receive a $1 million settlement over claims of harassment by Raphael Toledano


[Photo from May 2015 by Stacie Joy]

Landlord Raphael Toledano has agreed to pay a little more than $1 million to settle claims that he harassed tenants at 444 E. 13th St., according to The Real Deal.

Last spring, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue accused Toledano, 26, and a management company he hired of harassment and intimidation. A staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center, who is representing the East 13th Street tenants, told reporters during a rally outside the building last May that "there are tape recorded conversations where the landlord is threatening to drop dynamite on the building and then let everyone 'figure it out themselves.'"

Jeffrey Goldman, an attorney for Toledano, denied the harassment claims at the time.

"I have not seen him engage in any behavior or conduct that would give rise to an investigation let alone a finding of harassment,” Goldman told the Daily News.

The settlement between Toledano and several rent-stabilized tenants at No. 444 was finalized May 6, per The Real Deal, who reports that the New York Attorney General’s office and the state Homes and Community Renewal’s tenant protection unit are continuing their joint investigation into the harassment claims.

Toledano bought the building for $6.1 million in January 2015. Later in 2015 he bought a 16-building parcel in the neighborhood.

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

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

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

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Report: Management company sues Raphael Toledano for backing out of $130 million loan

Landlord Raphael Toledano is facing more legal woes following the purchase last September of a 16-building East Village portfolio.

The Real Deal has the story:

An affiliate of Larry Gluck’s Stellar Management is suing Raphael Toledano, claiming the investor accepted a $130 million mortgage to finance the acquisition of his East Village portfolio, but then backed out of the deal and refused to pay the $1.9 million break-up fee.

“Almost immediately after signing the contract on July 15,2015,” Stellar states in the suit, “Toledano opted to take out a $124 million loan from Madison Realty Capital to finance the portfolio purchase. Toledano's agreement with Madison Realty Capital was in direct violation of the exclusivity provision of the contract and constitutes as a breach of contract.”

The is the latest legal matter involving Toledano to make headlines. Last spring, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. accused Toledano, 26, and a management company he hired of harassment and intimidation.

Prior to closing on the East Village deal this past fall, Toledano's uncle, Rosewood Realty Group's Aaron Jungreis, sued his nephew, claiming that he was squeezed out of the deal. (That suit was later settled.)

In December, The Real Deal reported on a possible link between Toledano and a fake law firm, Truman & Wildes LLP.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties

Brook Hill Properties launches chocolate offensive

In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'

Report: East Village landlord Raphael Toledano allegedly misrepresented himself as a lawyer

The Villager looks at landlord Raphael Toledano's criminal past

An open letter to landlord Raphael Toledano from the Toledano Tenants Coalition

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Report: East Village landlord Raphael Toledano allegedly misrepresented himself as a lawyer

The Real Deal has published an investigative article about new East Village landlord Raphael Toledano, and how he allegedly misrepresented himself as a lawyer.

According to the article:

In the summer of 2014, a New York landlord with a modest portfolio received a letter from a certain Raphael Toledano, Esq. In the letter, Toledano allegedly identified himself as belonging to Truman & Wildes LLP, a Park Avenue law firm. He claimed to be representing real estate investor Josh Zegen in a 1031 exchange, and assured the landlord that his client was interested in one of his buildings and would “pay above market value” for it.

The issue, however, is that Truman & Wildes LLP is bogus. It is not a licensed law firm in the tri-state area, and isn’t even a registered entity in Delaware, Connecticut, New Jersey or New York. Its website, which was taken down shortly after The Real Deal began making inquiries, appears to be a basic web template with language lifted verbatim from legitimate law firms. Misrepresenting oneself as a lawyer is illegal.

For his part, Toledano, a former broker and now a prominent local real estate investor, denies any connection with the law firm. But property records and interviews with his former employees, business associates and industry players indicate otherwise.

In compiling nearly a 20-building portfolio, the majority of them in the East Village, the 25-year-old Toledano "has been peppered with allegations of cheating his partners and harassing his tenants," as The Real Deal put it.

To date, rent-stabilized tenants at 444 E. 13th St. have filed suit against him for alleged harassment. In addition, in August, Aaron Jungreis, one of the city's elite multifamily brokers, sued Toledano, "claiming he was squeezed out of a $100 million deal" to acquire 16 East Village buildings. (That suit was later settled.)

In addition, the landlord of Toledano's Flatiron office reportedly filed suit against him for failing to pay rent.

As for multiple identifications, City Limits noted this in an article about Toledano and 444 E. 13th St. back in September:

Curiously, there are numerous websites with similar URLs purporting to have been created by Raphael Toledanos across the country that fill up Google search results for his name. One Raphael Toledano is "a fervent traveler from the incredible state of Chicago," another is a "19-year-old boy from Ohio who wants to become an internationally recognized soccer player," and still another is "an Assistant Principal in one of the reputed schools of Rhode Island." Each of these sites was created on January 28, 2015 according to registration information on whois.net.

The last post on each of the sites is Feb. 24.

Toledano and Brook Hill closed on the 16-building East Village portfolio for $97 million back in the fall.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties

Brook Hill Properties launches chocolate offensive

In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'

Friday, December 11, 2015

Report: Toledano tenants hanging tough in face of evictions

The Villager checks in with a piece this week about residents now living in buildings owned by new landlord Raphael Toledo (pictured right).

As the paper notes, to date, "Toledano, who purchased more than a dozen properties in the area this year, hasn’t made the best of impressions on his new tenants, who have reported late-night phone calls and ominous visits by his associates that leave them feeling threatened."

And there have been a few eviction notices, which arrived after buyout offers. Lawyer David Frazer currently represents three Toledano tenants in rent-regulated apartments in the neighborhood.

“Two of the cases that I currently represent involve completely made-up allegations by the landlord, one of which they’ve already caved in on and given my client a renewal lease,” Frazer told The Villager.

The attorney said that case involved a tenant who had a pseudonym listed on his mailbox from the beginning of his tenancy, which the landlord used as evidence to claim that the man was illegally subletting the apartment.

Read the whole Villager article here.

In a $97 million deal, Toledano and Brook Hill closed on a 16-building East Village portfolio back in the fall.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties

Brook Hill Properties launches chocolate offensive

In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'

Report: Lawsuit accuses Raphael Toledano of not paying his office rent

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Report: Lawsuit accuses Raphael Toledano of not paying his office rent

Rent-stabilized tenants at the Raphael Toledano-owned 444 E. 13th St. have claimed that they were allegedly threatened and harassed to leave their homes.

Toledano is now reportedly having landlord issues of his own.

Per The Real Deal:

Landlord HRC Corporation is accusing broker-turned-investor Raphael Toledano of failing to pay rent at his Flatiron District office.

HRC filed suit Wednesday, asking a State Supreme Court judge to award it a total of $6.4 million, the amount allegedly due over the entire 10-year lease, plus damages.

In a statement, a Brook Hill spokesperson wrote "We are not in default of the lease."

In a $97 million deal, Toledano and Brook Hill closed on a 16-building East Village portfolio back in the fall.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties

Brook Hill Properties launches chocolate offensive

In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'

Thursday, October 29, 2015

About 'a coordinated visit' to buildings owned by Brookhill Properties on East 5th Street


[EVG file photo of 233-235 E. 5th St.]

Despite assurances to the contrary, some residents who live in the 16 buildings that Raphael Toledano's Brookhill Properties recently purchased are apprehensive about their future rental situations… especially with the news that has been coming out of 444 E. 13th St. in recent months, where rent-stablized tenants claim that they were allegedly threatened and harassed to leave their homes after Brookhill's January acquisition. (See The New York Times and DNAinfo for more background.)

We received the following statement from the East Fifth Street Toledano Tenants Coalition, consisting of five Toledano-owned buildings on Fifth Street between Second Avenue and Cooper Square.

[T]hese five buildings on East Fifth Street received a coordinated visit last Thursday [Oct. 22] by a group of representatives from the New York State Attorney General’s office, The New York City Department of Buildings and The New York State Division of Housing and Renewal. All apartment doors were knocked on, and representatives spoke with available tenants, made inspections of apartment conditions and building conditions and issued violations to the buildings. Perhaps the presence of these state and city agencies will ensure that Toledano’s tenants on East Fifth Street will not have to suffer what those at 444 East 13th St. did.

Meanwhile, a resident on East Fifth Street passed along this letter, noting that "Brookhill forgot to pay his post office box fee! Attached is a letter all East Fifth Street residents received last week."


[Click on image for larger view]

Per the note:

We are doing our best to have your monthly rent payments processed as soon as possible and apologize for any delay in doing so during this first month of ownership. Moving forward you can be confident that processing of your payments will be timely and accurate. This being said, if you have found that your rent check has not been processed for the month of October 2015 and your bank account has not been debited, please re-send your payment to the below address. We have been informed by USPS that there was a system glitch, which resulted in the return of numerous tenant's rent payments. This was remedied on October 19,2015.

If your payment was processed and thus your account has been debited, no action is required on your part. Please continue to ensure that your check is made payable to the order of
the specific LLC designated to your building.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties

Brook Hill Properties launches chocolate offensive

In op-ed, Raphael Toledano says that he wants 'to make the East Village a better place'

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

More about alleged harassment and landlord visits via Brook Hill Properties


[Photo from May by Stacie Joy]

Raphael Toledano and his Brook Hill Properties continue to make headlines. Here's a look at two recent published reports…

-----

In case you missed the Page 1 story in The New York Times yesterday … the paper published additional recordings between rent-stabilized tenants of Toledano's 444 E. 13th St. and one of his alleged brokers.

In an ongoing legal fight, the tenants submitted audio and video recordings to housing court depicting the agents trying to scare them into leaving their apartments.

“The building is going to be shaking; the vermin will start running,” one agent, who identified himself as Newton Hinds in a cellphone audio recording, said about the planned demolition.

According to the Times, Toledano denied harassing the tenants, and blamed Goldmark Property Management, which he subsequently fired, for all the problems. (Lawyers for Goldmark have denied in court papers that Hinds worked for them.)

In any event, the state's Tenant Protection Unit and attorney general's office are reportedly investigating the situation at No. 444, which Toledano bought in January for $6.1 million ... "and had subpoenaed information on Mr. Toledano's properties."

Toledano's East Village portfolio has grown substantially in recent months. In September, Brook Hill Properties completed the purchase of 16 East Village buildings from the Tabak family, paying $97 million for a portfolio that amounts to 301 apartments and 15 retail spaces.

The current issue of The Villager has a detailed article about the encounters residents of the recently acquired buildings on East Fifth Street have had with the 25-year-old Toledano, who often goes by Raffi.

To date, tenants in six of Toledano’s E. Fifth St. buildings have documented more than 140 interactions, altercations and outright threats by Toledano and his camp during the two-month period from this July 8 through Sept. 8. Some have reported being followed in the street by Raffi’s cousin Isaac Toledano, while others report encounters with a group of men dressed in black stepping out of SUV’s and insisting on entering and inspecting tenants’ apartments.

However, according to the article, there haven't been any "recorded complaints or reports of harassment by Toledano and his team" since Sept. 8. And as we noted on Sept. 23, some tenants in the buildings received welcome letters and boxes of chocolates from Brook Hill.

The charm offensive wasn't limited to residents. A volunteer at the 6th Street and Avenue B Community Garden shared this letter with us:

By way of introduction, I work with Brook Hill Properties, a new landlord in the East Village. One of our commitments is to serve the community and its residents. As part of that, we are interested in partnering with organizations such as the 6&B Garden to explore ways in which we can work together in the East Village neighborhood.

We would welcome the opportunity to come to the garden and learn more about your vision and goals as a leading community group. In doing so, we are hoping to better understand the role we can play in becoming an active community partner.

Meanwhile, according to The Villager, Toledano is currently under contract to purchase an additional 11 buildings in the East Village, West Village and Murray Hill for $55 million.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio

Brookhill Properties launches chocolate offensive

Friday, September 11, 2015

Report: Raphael Toledano completes purchase of 16-building East Village portfolio


[233-235 E. 5th St.]

Raphael Toledano’s Brook Hill Properties has completed the purchase of 16 East Village buildings from the Tabak family, paying $97 million, according to The Real Deal.

The portfolio amounts to 301 apartments and 15 retail spaces. Here are the addresses (updated this list 9/12):

• 27 St. Marks Place – 20 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 66 East 7th Street – 22 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 95 East 7th Street – 20 residential units
• 223 East 5th Street – 18 residential units
• 228 East 6th Street – 20 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 229 East 5th Street – 10 residential units
• 231 East 5th Street – 8 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 233 East 5th Street – 10 residential units
• 235 East 5th Street – 10 residential units
• 253 East 10th Street – 20 residential units; 1 commercial unit
• 323-325 East 12th Street – 37 residential units
• 327 East 12th Street – 22 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 329 East 12th Street – 24 residential units
• 334 East 9th Street – 20 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 510 East 12th Street – 20 residential units; 2 commercial units
• 514 East 12th Street – 20 residential units

The deal moved forward despite the fact that Toledano’s uncle, power broker Aaron Jungreis, is suing him. According to the Daily News, the two allegedly agreed to form a joint venture to acquire the buildings, but Toledano reportedly went behind his uncle's back to buy them himself. Jungreis accuses his nephew of being "motivated solely by greed." (This suit was settled. See update below.)

In other East Village Toledano legal action... In May, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. filed a lawsuit against Toledano and his Goldmark Property Management for "deplorable conditions" as well as for alleged ongoing threats and harassment.

Then in August, state officials served subpoenas on Goldmark Property Managmenet, investigating whether the company threatened tenants with police raids, evictions and the shut off of essential service, as The Real Deal put it.

Updated 11:30 a.m.

Real Estate Weekly had more details on the sale...

Toledano, who at 25 is the youngest landlord in New York City with a portfolio of this size, and Brookhill Properties are focusing on this neighborhood because of its appeal to millennials (18-35 year-olds) and the significant potential for continued growth. Toledano is currently under contract to purchase an additional 11 buildings in the East Village, West Village and Murray Hill for $55 million.

“We are committed to being a force for good in the neighborhood and providing our tenants with high-quality apartments,” Toledano said. “Our company is not just a property owner, we are members of this East Village community and look forward to partnering with local groups to show our dedication.”

Updated 12:30 p.m.

The Real Deal reports that Jungreis and Toledano have settled...

“I am glad that we were able to amicably settle with Mr. Jungreis and continue focusing on what matters – serving our tenants and asserting ourselves as the largest landlord in the East Village while continuing to better the community,” Toledano told The Real Deal.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal

Friday, August 28, 2015

Report: Uncle suing nephew broker Raphael Toledano over $100 million East Village deal


[Photo from May by Stacie Joy]

Let's get right to the Daily News with the story:

Aaron Jungreis, one of the top building sales brokers in New York, is suing Raphael Toledano, his nephew, for allegedly agreeing to form a joint venture with his uncle to acquire the buildings, then going behind his back to buy them himself.

Jungreis accuses his nephew of being “motivated solely by greed” and says he mentored him in the real estate business for years and shared his network, only to be cast aside when Toledano felt he could go it alone.

The lawsuit is over a 16-building portfolio in the East Village owned by Morton Tabak & Co. (The sale has not yet hit public records.)

As for that portfolio of buildings, The Real Deal lists them as the following:

• 253 East 10th Street
• 510 East 12th Street
• 228 East 6th Street
• 329 East 12th Street
• 327 East 12th Street
• 334 East 9th Street
• 323-325 East 12th Street
• 95 East 7th Street
• 514 East 12th Street
• 27 St. Mark’s Place
• 231-233 East 5th Street
• 229 East 5th Street
• 223 East 5th Street
• 235 East 5th Street
• 66 East 7th Street.

It has been a busy legal year for Toledano. In May, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. filed a lawsuit against Toledano and his Goldmark Property Management for "deplorable conditions" as well as for alleged ongoing threats and harassment.

On Monday, the Daily News reported that state officials have launched an investigation into Toledano following the accusations of strong-arming tenants into giving up their rent-regulated apartments on East 13th Street.

Meanwhile, in the East Fifth Street buildings that are reportedly part of the sale, a resident claims that Toledano has already been visiting the properties even though the sales haven't been finalized. According to the resident, Toledano will introduce himself as Rafi, Ralph or Raphael.

The East Fifth Street resident also claims to have recently witnessed the following:

Arriving in a convoy of three black SUVs in the morning or evening, [Toledano] has been hanging out on the street, asking tenants if he and his entourage can enter their apartments. Others he shadows to or from their apartment house entrances with accusations that they "should not be living in rent-regulated apartments," that he has had them investigated, all the while referring to specifics on their Facebook pages.

Residents here have been in contact with GOLES and The Urban Justice Center.

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

Reader report: Large portfolio of East Village buildings ready to change hands

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano

Monday, August 24, 2015

Report: State investigating East Village landlord Raphael Toledano


[Photo from May by Stacie Joy]

The Daily News has the story about Raphael Toledano's Goldmark Property Management:

State officials have launched an investigation into an East Village landlord accused of strong-arming tenants into giving up their rent-regulated apartments, the Daily News has learned.

The state’s tenant protection unit served subpoenas on companies controlled by landlord Raphael Toledano as part of a probe into claims of abusive behavior by his agents, including threats of eviction and the shutting off of gas and other essential services, officials said.

In May, rent-regulated tenants at 444 E. 13th St. filed a lawsuit against Goldmark for "deplorable conditions" as well as for ongoing threats and harassment. A staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center, who is representing the East 13th Street tenants, told reporters that "there are tape recorded conversations where the landlord is threatening to drop dynamite on the building and then let everyone 'figure it out themselves.'"

According to The Real Deal, Toledano bought the building for $6.1 million in January.

Jeffrey Goldman, an attorney for Toledano, denied the harassment claims.

"I have not seen him engage in any behavior or conduct that would give rise to an investigation let alone a finding of harassment,” Goldman told the Daily News.

Toledano's name surfaced earlier this month as the new owner of a 17-building parcel, most of which are in the East Village.

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

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Cleaning up 444 E. 13th St.

As previously reported, the remaining rent-stabilized tenants at at 444 E. 13th St. filed a lawsuit against their landlord for deplorable conditions as well as for alleged threats and harassment.

One of the residents told us the other night that Goldmark Property Management hasn't bothered cleaning the building or taking out the trash in several weeks.

So the tenants have been tending to these duties themselves...



... and after the clean-up...





Meanwhile, yesterday, the two sides met in Housing Court.

Among other issues, the building's heat, hot water and cooking gas have been off since April. Tenants also said at a May 28 press conference outside the building between Avenue A and First Avenue that they've had to endure "racist taunts and threats to call immigration from the landlord's aggressive agents," per a report in the Daily News.

A resident in attendance at yesterday's preliminary court hearing shared a few details, such as the judge ordered a temporary injunction against the management's reps from speaking with tenants as well as issued a stop work order for all construction that isn't related to getting the gas restored or repairing other violations.

According to the Department of Housing Preservation and Development website, there are currently 85 open violations in the building, per DNAinfo.

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

Thursday, May 28, 2015

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



As we reported earlier today, residents who live at 444 E. 13th St. plan to sue their landlord for "deplorable conditions" as well as for ongoing threats and harassment.

The rent-regulated tenants, along with their legal counsel and City Councilmember Rosie Mendez, held a press conference outside the building between Avenue A and First Avenue this morning at 10 to speak out against landlord Goldmark Property Management and their associates.

EVG contributor Stacie Joy shared these photos from the press conference.

The residents said that they have haven't had gas for cooking or hot water since April 17 in the building that houses several children under the age of 7.




[Resident Patricia Ramirez]

Here's more from the Daily News:

They claim they've … endured racist taunts and threats to call immigration from the landlord's aggressive agents.

"They don't know the reality," said tenant Angel Salazar, 39. "Most of us are legal. That's why we are not afraid."

Tenants' lawyer Stephanie Rudolph said "this threat of retaliation and racial discrimination is egregious." She said only nine of the 18 units remain occupied — everybody else has been forced out.


[Stephanie Rudolph]

"There are tape recorded conversations where the landlord is threatening to drop dynamite on the building and then let everyone 'figure it out themselves,'" said Rudolph, a staff attorney at the Urban Justice Center.

There was no immediate response from Goldmark, whose agents include former NYPD Sgt. Miguel Cueto. The cop cost the city $2 million after he and his partner ran over and killed a Brooklyn man in their squad car three years ago.


[Rosie Mendez]


[Resident Cesar Bello with son, Ivan]


[Residents Lidia Puentes and Emma Gomez]



Said one longtime resident: "They are killing us. They don't have any feelings and they think everything's about money."

DNAinfo has more on the story here.

E. 13th St. tenants filing lawsuit against landlord for alleged harassment, poor living conditions


[444 E. 13th St. photo from March via EVG reader Gamelan]

Several families who live at 444 E. 13th St. are filing a lawsuit against their landlord for "deplorable conditions" as well as for ongoing threats and harassment, according to a media advisory about the tenants' situation.

The residents and their legal and housing reps will hold a press conference this morning at 10 outside 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue to discuss the lawsuit.

Here's background via the EVG inbox:

The Community Development Project (CDP) of the Urban Justice Center, in collaboration with Good Old Lower East Side (GOLES), is representing nine rent-regulated Mexican immigrant tenants of 444 E. 13th St. who are suing their landlord, Raphael Toledano, and his agents in Manhattan Housing Court. They are asking the court for an injunction against illegal harassment, the restoration of basic services, and repairs to individual apartments and common areas.

In addition to the wide range of alleged illegal harassment and discrimination practices from agents hired by the owners, tenants have gone without heat, hot water, and gas since mid-April.

Other alleged bad practices by the landlord include:
· Threats of demolishing the building;
· Threatening Mexican tenants who the owner alleges are undocumented; racist and discriminatory remarks about Latino tenants;
· Relocation pressure by agents;
· Health and safety hazards due to illegal construction and unsafe work on the gas lines.

There are currently several Stop Work Orders on the building, including for illegal renovations and unauthorized work on the gas lines, according to DOB records.

Meanwhile at 444, workers have carved out a new storefront on the ground-floor in the building. According to the listing (no longer online), the "Landlord will present as a restaurant ready space." The asking rent is $10,000 a month.

Previously on EV Grieve:
A storefront arrives on East 13th Street

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A storefront arrives on East 13th Street


[EVG photo from February]

As we pointed out earlier last month, there are approved plans on file to carve out a storefront at 444 E. 13th St. between Avenue A and First Avenue…

EVG reader Gamelan let us know that the carving is underway…





According to the listing, the "Landlord will present as a restaurant ready space." The asking rent is $10,000 a month.

And this will be one of the more minor changes coming to this block in the months/years ahead.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Tracking the coming changes to East 13th Street between Avenue A and 1st Avenue