Showing posts with label Sen. Brad Hoylman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sen. Brad Hoylman. Show all posts

Friday, September 25, 2020

Sen. Hoylman responds to anti-Semitic graffiti on 1st Avenue; 'Go to Hell, Nazis'

Early this morning, State Sen. Brad Hoylman spotted this moving truck with anti-Semitic graffiti parked on First Avenue between Third Street and Fourth Street.

The graffiti on the Katz Moving truck included multiple backward swastikas and the numbers 1488, signifying the white supremacist "14 Words" pledge. The Senator's office reported this to both the NYPD and the Anti-Defamation League. It was not clear when the graffiti was added to the truck of the Long Island City-based company.

"Hate is not welcome in our district, in Manhattan, or in any other part of our city," Hoylman said in a statement. "The perpetrators of this attack must be caught and held accountable. Close to 40,000 Jewish Holocaust survivors live in New York City. It hurts my heart to think that the many people who found refuge in America are still being targeted by this hateful ideology."

Friday, May 22, 2020

Sen. Hoylman introduces legislation allowing bars and restaurants to continue offering drinks for takeout after COVID-19

[7B via Instagram]

State Sen. Brad Hoylman announced new legislation yesterday that would allow bars and restaurants to continue offering drinks for takeout and delivery for two years after the state disaster emergency expires.

The bill would also provide community boards and local government with the power to conduct oversight that ensures an establishment is operating safely.

"If we want our favorite bars and restaurants to survive the crisis, we’ve got to help them adapt," Hoylman said in a statement. "My new legislation will allow bars and restaurants to provide beer, wine and cocktails for take-out and delivery for two years after the crisis ends, giving these establishments a much-needed lifeline while New York slowly returns to normal."

Per info via Hoylman's office:

The bill includes multiple safeguards to ensure all sales are safe and legal. It would require all alcoholic beverages to be sold in closed/sealed containers, to be accompanied by the purchase of food, and to comply with open container laws.

It would also require the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to conduct regular outreach to municipalities and community boards to solicit comment, and would allow the SLA to hold hearings to decide whether to suspend or revoke a licensee’s ability to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption in response to complaints from community boards or municipalities.

The bill requires the SLA to report to the Governor and the Legislature on the implementation of the law, and to hold public hearings across the state to hear from local communities about how the law has affected them.

New York’s hospitality industry is facing enormous economic pressure from COVID-19. According to a recent report from the New York City Office of Management and Budget (OMB), restaurant revenues declined by nearly 90 percent immediately after the New York on PAUSE regulations took effect.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Gov. Cuomo approves bill to create public liquor license database

Gov. Cuomo has approved a bill (S55/A4315) that requires the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to create and maintain a public database of information specific to on-premises liquor licenses.

Two local elected officials — Assemblywoman Deborah Glick and Sen. Brad Hoylman — sponsored the bill that will enable residents a means to look up information on a bar, including whether it has permits for live music or sidewalk seating.

The two released statements on Friday after Cuomo's signature made it all official:

Sen. Hoylman:

Community boards, block associations, and residents across my district have for years called upon the State Liquor Authority to make information on these licenses more available and accessible, so that they can better understand their impact on our neighborhoods. This is basic, good government. Yet until now, to our enormous frustration, the only option for the public to learn this information was through filing a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

You shouldn’t have to file a FOIL request just to find out whether a bar in your neighborhood has a liquor license that permits live music or an outside patio. What’s more, under these constraints, police precincts aren’t able to respond to neighborhood noise complaints — as they have no way to confirm whether an establishment is operating within the parameters of their license or not.

Assemblywoman Glick:

For too long, it has been nearly impossible for community members to get very basic information about State Liquor Authority licensees that operate in our neighborhood. Now that liquor license information will be easily obtainable, people can see for themselves if nearby establishments are being good neighbors and are operating within the constraints of their license.

The news release included a statement from Susan Stetzer, district manager for Community Board 3: "Having information available online would be a tremendous help. We spend a lot of time working with community groups and with our local precincts to resolve issues that require information about a licensed business, particularly method of operation and outdoor use questions."

No word on when the SLA will actually make this online resource available to the public.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

New state legislation aims to combat predatory equity

Local elected officials introduced joint legislation on Sunday targeting the practice of predatory equity.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman, Assemblymember Harvey Epstein and various tenants and advocates were present at a press conference outside the office of Westminster Management, a Kushner Companies subsidiary, on 12th Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. There, they discussed the legislation, which directs the New York State Department of Finanical Services (DFS) to collect data on financial institutions that lend to property owners with the intent to displace current tenants.

Per the announcement:

Specifically, the bill requires DFS to investigate the role financial institutions play in encouraging anti-tenant practices by notorious landlords like Jared Kushner, Steve Croman and Raphael Toledano.

Similar to the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, lax underwriting standards and a general lack of transparency have allowed speculators and real estate agents to secure outsized mortgages with very little discretion and oversight. Owners use these loans to make purchases based on unrealistic projections of rising rents, and in turn have difficulty paying the mortgages.

Building owners — anxious to recoup on their hefty investments — often resort to abusive and exploitative tactics to drive rent-regulated tenants out. These abusive practices, known as predatory equity, are best-exemplified by figures like Steve Croman and Jared Kushner.

In the fall of 2015, after the Daily News reported that the state was investigating Toledano for tenant harassment at 444 E. 13th St., he received two loans totaling $124 million from private equity firm Madison Realty Capital to buy and renovate a 16-building East Village portfolio.

Per The Real Deal in an article last July:

The leverage on the deal — which clocked in at 128 percent compared to the typical 50 to 65 percent on a New York City multifamily deal — raises questions about how culpable lenders are in perpetuating harassment. In short, are they turning a blind eye when their borrowers too-aggressively push to turn rent-stabilized apartments into luxury units?

Pressured to generate income from the buildings to pay off his loans, Toledano reportedly attempted widespread buyouts. And many of the tenants at the buildings accused him of harassment.

"No longer can we allow landlords like Kushner, Croman and Toledano to force our neighbors out of their homes in order to make a quick buck," Hoylman said in a statement. "We demand that New York State investigate the practice of predatory equity so we can take the necessary steps to protect rent regulated tenants from harassment and eviction."

Said the recently elected Epstein: "This legislation will bring us closer to stopping the practice of predatory equity before it starts the cycle of tenant harassment and displacement that has become all too familiar in our city. Bad actor landlords and scheming financiers should take note: your days of destabilizing our neighborhoods with your shady business practices are numbered."

Croman was released from jail on Friday after serving eight months of a year-long sentence for fraud.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Report: Raphael Toledano files for Chapter 11; $145 million deal for EV portfolio is off the table

Raphael Toledano tenants take to Midtown streets to speak out against their landlord and his lenders

Friday, June 2, 2017

High-rent blight: Senator's report finds nearly 10% vacancy rate on parts of 1st and 2nd avenues

[2 storefronts for rent on 1st Avenue between 13th and 14th]

Last week, State Sen. Brad Hoylman released the findings of a new report examining the growing specter of vacant storefronts in Manhattan.

Per a release on this report:

Combining on-the-ground data collection with firsthand accounts from small businesses, "Bleaker on Bleecker: A Snapshot of High-Rent Blight in Greenwich Village and Chelsea" looks at the causes and impacts of storefront vacancies and recommends solutions to address the problem.

The New York Times (here) and Jeremiah's Vanishing New York (here) reported on some of the findings.

The data Hoylman's office collected includes commercial sectors in the East Village:

· 18.4 percent vacancy rate along Bleecker Street from 6th to 8th Avenues

· 9.8 percent overall vacancy rate along First Avenue from 10th to 23rd Streets, Second Avenue from 3rd to 14th Streets, Eighth Avenue from 15th to 22nd Streets, and Bleecker Street from 6th to 8th Avenues

"Bleecker Street serves as a cautionary tale of how high rents in the Village and Chelsea are pushing out longtime independent business. We can’t simply allow market forces to run roughshod over our community any longer," he said.

His report provides a few solutions to address the growing problem of small business vacancies:

· Creation of a New York City Legacy Business Registry: The registry would track and maintain a list of small businesses that have been in operation for at least 30 years. This would enable New York State to recognize important businesses that in the future could potentially merit historic preservation tax credits and other benefits.

· Creation of Formula Retail Zoning Restrictions: This legislation would enable New York City to place limits on national chain stores.

· Phasing Out Tax Deductions for Landlords with Persistent Vacancies: Though landlords who leave retail storefronts vacant cannot deduct lost potential rental income, they are able to receive deductions for depreciation of property and operating vacancies. This proposal would disincentivize vacant storefronts by phasing out these deductions for building owners who leave retail spaces vacant over a year.

·Eliminating the Commercial Rent Tax: The Commercial Rent Tax (CRT) is an onerous and outdated burden on many small businesses. The tax only applies to commercial tenants in buildings below 96th Street in Manhattan, putting them at a distinct disadvantage compared to businesses elsewhere. State legislation could prevent the city from levying the Commercial Rent Tax on small businesses.

"I hope the ideas in my report will ignite a conversation about how we can assist small businesses before — not after — they face the seemingly inevitable reckoning of enormous rent increases," he said.

You can access a PDF of the report here.

On this topic, Community Board 3's Economic Development Committee is hosting a public forum next Wednesday night to discuss a proposed special district in the East Village "to encourage retail diversity and promote small and independent businesses."

Find the details here.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Sen. Hoylman calls for immediate stay on all Steve Croman-initiated tenant cases

Despite being charged with 20 felonies last May, Steve Croman's tenants have alleged that their landlord continues to harass them.

Per a December 2016 article in The Villager:

“He’s still not giving heat and hot water, still not backing off from the rotten things he would do, like jacking up rent and not returning leases to people,” said Cynthia Chaffee, a longtime Croman residential tenant. “He’s still doing it and nothing’s changed. He’s stillusing the courts to harass his tenants.”

Also last December, tenants of 159 Stanton St. sued Croman in housing court, saying he was subjecting them to unsafe conditions and harassment. In February, the Department of Buildings issued a partial vacate order on the building, with the residents of two apartments forced to relocate until unsafe conditions were rectified, as The Lo-Down reported.

Now Sen. Brad Hoylman is releasing the results of a review of eviction cases filed by Croman against tenants in the Senator's district and throughout Manhattan. Hoylman is calling for an immediate stay on all Croman-initiated tenant cases.

According to Hoylman’s review, at least eight active cases are proceeding against tenants.

"Croman’s M.O., as the Attorney General alleges in the criminal complaint, is to harass tenants by filing baseless lawsuits against them. The court should stay all of the cases where Croman is suing tenants until these serious allegations are addressed. Otherwise, these tenants, many of whom are not represented by legal counsel, risk irreparable harm, including losing their homes," Hoylman said in a statement. "The bottom line is that Croman is running a criminal enterprise. Justice demands his cases against tenants be stayed."

Two East Village buildings are in the list of cases proceeding: 229 First Ave. and 309 E. Eighth St.

Croman's real-estate empire includes 47 buildings with 617 units in the East Village. As previously noted, Croman owns more buildings in the East Village than any other landlord.

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the charges against Croman in May 2016, including multiple felonies for his role in an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain several multi-million dollar refinancing loans between 2012 and 2014.

The civil lawsuit, filed in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan and the product of an independent investigation, alleges that Croman used, among other things, the illegal tactic of pressuring tenants into surrendering their apartments by repeatedly filing baseless lawsuits against them.

His criminal case has been adjourned and bail continued five times now, according to the Croman Tenants Alliance. His civil court date is June 5.

The New York Post reported earlier this month that Croman was nearing a plea deal that would see him serve eight months of jail time and pay a fine up to $10 million.