According to Naomi Dann, when Gold Management bought the building at 80 New York Avenue, they began harassing residents living in the eight rent-stabilized units and offering them buyouts.
Dann said residents reported seeing fake immigration officers in the building, and one resident was trapped in her apartment by construction. The Fire Department had to let her out.
Eventually, five of the eight renters left.
Lisa Mathis grew up in the building and was one of the residents who stayed behind. She’s lived there off and on for the past 30 years. For the past two years, she’s been without heat after the boiler was removed.
“That’s not even hooked up to anything,” she said pointing to a radiator in the room. “It’s just window dressing.”
The tenants have also faced multiple instances of construction harassment too, she said. There’s been major dust in the building, and work was done on the weekends and throughout the night.
“There was a point where we couldn't get in the building or you could barely get in the building because they had taken the planks out in the hall,” she said. “You were walking on beams to come into the apartment.”
Mathis said the condensation from the central air conditioning, which she does not have in her apartment, has caused leaks in her ceiling. She also has a rat problem in her kitchen.
The new renters have faced hardships as well, causing them to form a tenants association. The new apartments were also rented out at $4,000 a month, not the rent-stabilized price of $2,700.
In June, with the help of MFY Legal Services, they filed a lawsuit against Gold Management.
“They did renovations and rented out at market-rate the other five apartments,” Dann said. “They should have been rent stabilized.”
According to Dann, the lawsuit is in the discovery stage and they’re hoping to reach a settlement soon.