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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Before and After: What was Hoped For in the MCI Matter...and, now, a Response from the TA Attorney


Below are pertinent extracts of reports from the sources linked. Full text at the links. Subject headers are mine.


AT THE TENANT TOWN HALL MEETING IN NOVEMBER, 2013, THE TA'S LAWYER, TIM COLLINS, WAS CONFIDENT ABOUT THE MCIs BEING RESCINDED


Collins also spoke about the offer to say he was confident that the MCIs would be rescinded if appealed due to the fact that his arguments on behalf of the TA on why they shouldn’t be implemented, which were made last year, weren’t even acknowledged in the responses. Previously, he referred to this as a “reversible” error....

He added that complaints include the TA’s belief that since some of the work benefits ST/PCV’s commercial tenants, they too should share in the cost and that in some buildings, there were “class C” violations found, which would make the owner ineligible for an MCI. There was also the issue that some apartments were being used for student housing. Another argument, specifically against the resurfacing MCI was due to the quality of the work.

“We have 40 to 50 pictures showing what a mess it was,” Collins said. “The workmanship was horrendous. So we were really surprised when these things (MCI notices) started pouring out.”

....Only half jokingly, when Collins took the podium, he slammed down a pile of paperwork that was about six inches thick. Collins then told the audience that if he wasn’t confident about getting results from the HCR, he wouldn’t have shown up at the meeting. “I would not have canceled my proctologist appointment,” he said.


OBJECTIONS TO SECURITY SYSTEM AND COMMAND CENTER


Some objections from the TA’s counsel:

The Tenants Association said it has a few general objections to the MCI, which include claims that:

• The system replaced a full electronic security management system installed in Peter Cooper Village only in 2004. Before a system is replaced, it must have exceeded its useful life.
• Critical documentation, such as government permits, and plans and specifications were not submitted, but should have been. There were different contract amounts cited. Change orders lacked proper verifiable information. Some change orders were for repair and restoration not eligible for MCI rent increases.
• The security command center was a new facility installed at 518 East 20th Street. This security center was relocated to 317 Avenue C as part of an overall rental plan for retail spaces on the property. This work did not qualify for MCI treatment, even before Sandy destroyed the command center.


CWCAPITAL OFFERED TENANTS A 35% REDUCTION IN RETROACTIVE MCI PAYMENTS IF TENANTS AGREED NOT TO CHALLENGE THE MCIs


In the past month, tenants have received notices that MCIs (major capital improvements) for security upgrades done in 2009 as well as work done that year on doors, resurfacing and water tanks and valves, had been approved. The Tenants Association has since said it would challenge those MCIs, while CWCapital has made an offer to reduce the MCIs’ retroactive portions by 35 percent if tenants agree not to partake in any challenge.


IN NOVEMBER, 2014, TA PRESIDENT JOHN MARSH WAS CONCERNED ABOUT PERMAMENT MCI RENT INCREASES AND NOT JUST RETROACTIVE PAYMENTS


Marsh, meanwhile, in a written statement, blasted the offer as “an attempt to legitimize an unenforceable scheme” to get tenants to waive their right to challenge MCIs.

“While we appreciate any gesture by management to soften the blow of these increases, it is not enough for them to look at just the retroactive amount,” he added. “We are also concerned with the permanent increase. We will keep all channels of communication open with management while we continue to collect public membership pledges, so we can be in a position of even greater strength moving forward.”


 PDFs OF INTEREST:

TA LAWYER TIM COLLINS RESPONDS TO CWCAPITAL'S OFFER  OF 35% REDUCTION OF RETROACTIVE MCI CHARGES AND THEIR STRONG-ARMED TACTICS:


 TA'S "AGENDA" PDF ON NOVEMBER TOWN HALL MEETING:


------------------------------------------

STR here.  Some facts:

1) The TA's counsel did not challenge the MCIs and removed its request to a reconsideration of Prior Orders (the approved MCI increases) that were issued by the DHCR (Division of Housing and Community Renewal).

2) CWCapital's offer to tenants of a 35% decrease in retroactive MCI payments, and their threat against tenants challenging the MCIs, vanished with the wind. Tenants will now receive a complete removal of retroactive payments.

3) The DHCR signed off in the new "Order and Determination" that it "did not review all of the submissions or objections raised by the Tenants Association prior to rendering the Prior Orders." No blame is placed on this important lapse or an explanation given for it.

Some opinions:

It seems that the TA had CWCapital by the short hairs. Because CWCapital wants to put up STPCV for sale this year or next, it did not want to go into a lengthy legal process where the MCIs and retroactive charges could have been challenged in the courts, potentially holding up the sale. Otherwise, CWCapital would never have offered a complete elimination of retroactive MCI charges. These retroactive charges were also a powerful bargaining tool for CW. By offering to eliminate them, the company was able to present a significant prize to the TA, while still retaining a permanent MCI rent increase, which is of primary interest to any future buyer/landlord of this property.

[Another possible pressure on CWCapital  to come to an agreement that hasn't been mentioned anywhere is the rumor that there may be a city-wide rent freeze coming from the De Blasio administration. Would such an occurrence also freeze MCI increases, if not actualized swiftly before a rent freeze went into effect?]

The question is did the TA "blink"? Was the TA's case solid enough (as claimed by Tim Collins at the November 2013 Town Hall meeting) that the MCIs would have been rescinded, thereby also causing all the retroactive payments to disappear?

The DHCR's lack of reviewing all of the submissions and objections presented by the TA on the initial review of the MCIs is troubling. What the hell is going on there?

Troubling is also the fact that Tishman-Speyer in 2009 was responsible for 20% of all MCI applications in the city. These guys had no shame in sprucing up the property for self-serving reasons and throwing out rent-stabilized tenants and having tenants pay for the shafting. The current MCI agreement, while saving tenants any retroactive fees, continues this shafting.

And guess what? There are more MCIs on the way.

--------------------

UPDATE: 4/21/14

THE TA ATTORNEY RESPONDS TO THE ABOVE POST

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/ta-attorney-sets-the-record-straight

Tim Collins, TA’s attorney, responded to “Before and After: What Was Hoped For in the MCI Matter” (April 20, 2014), a post that appeared on the blog The Stuyvesant Town Report. STR’s summary contains misinformation and appears to discredit the MCI Settlement and the negotiations. Mr. Collins’s response, which was shared with STR the same day, addresses every point made in the STR post and is shown below: 

Statement by Tim Collins, the Tenants Association’s Attorney

My statement at the November TA meeting that DHCR’s initial orders were issued in error (because our submissions had not been considered) was correct. I never suggested that this would result in a complete elimination of the MCI’s — only a reopening of the proceedings. Ultimately DHCR did admit its error and agreed to reconsider its orders and our submissions. Although not in form, in substance DHCR rescinded the prior orders by modifying their impact in significant ways. The retroactive increases were totally eliminated and a portion of the permanent increase was reduced by 5% to 100% depending on the class of tenants affected.

What needs to be understood is that some of the objections we initially submitted to the DHCR were already recognized by DHCR in its first set of orders. In those orders DHCR had already reduced the permanent MCI increases applied for by 23%. The additional reduction in the permanent increase we achieved at the bargaining table resulted in an effective 28% overall reduction in the permanent increases applied for (and a 100% reduction for some tenants who pay high rents).

DHCR did not formally consider all of our objections after it agreed to reconsideration for the simple reason that we entered negotiations which preempted such a review. At the bargaining table we used our objections as leverage to achieve a global resolution which, on balance, was thought to be superior to the cost and uncertainty of maintaining over 300 proceedings, and the inevitable administrative and court appeals that would follow.

No one can ever tell for sure what would have happened if we had abandoned negotiations and allowed the administrative (and ultimately judicial) challenges to proceed. We do know that the bulk of MCI increases applied for by CW Capital were legally appropriate and properly documented. We also know the DHCR almost invariably grants owners opportunities to correct defects in workmanship. In the long run it is quite likely the CW Capital would have prevailed on most of its claims. That may have occurred years from now at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. In the interim, tenants would have continued to pay the full permanent increases.

The negotiations themselves covered a complex array of legal and practical issues — with three major negotiating sessions taking place over a three-month period, including dozens of phone conferences. The TA’s negotiating team was vigorously involved every step of the way. The TA’s legal committee — composed of several exceptional and accomplished attorneys — reviewed and commented on all proposed changes and the TA Board carefully reviewed the deal before accepting it.

We went into the negotiations armed with a sound understanding of the law and past DHCR practices. We recognized several weaknesses and vulnerabilities in CW’s MCI applications. And we knew that DHCR had already addressed many of those problems. As noted, we had the extraordinary backing and involvement of the TA leadership. But the most important asset we had at the bargaining table was a strong TA. As the MCI and service issues arose over the past year the ranks of TA members who signed public member pledges swelled to nearly 4,000. That was, far and away, our most powerful weapon in obtaining a beneficial settlement.

Going forward, strong leadership and widespread tenant support remain the most valuable assets for every member of the ST/PCV community. And there are many challenges yet to come.

I will be in attendance at the May 10th TA meeting to answer more questions about the settlement. If anyone feels disappointed or critical of the agreement, I ask that they withhold judgment until these issues can be fully aired at the meeting. On many levels this agreement was a significant achievement for the TA and I was honored to participate in it.

--------------------------

STR here.  So, my post that links to supposedly factual reportage "contains misinformation and appears to discredit the MCI Settlement and the negotiations"?  Perhaps the blame should be placed on the Town & Village newspaper, which did this reportage and offered up quotes from the participants in the matter.  I myself was at the Town Hall meeting and can verify, as best as one's memory can, the statements made there. If this factual reportage (and I believe it is factual) discredits the MCI Settlement and the negotiations in the opinion of Tim Collins and his firm, and I assume the TA, then what does that say about the settlement??? If the reportage is not factual, did counsel or the TA write to Town & Village to make them aware of the inaccuracy?

I also do not believe that I have been critical of the settlement, unlike some of the commentators in the comment section. I come around again and again to the same point: that residents should wait to see their new rent bill to weigh the results of settlement. And I frequently mention that counsel considered this the best deal it could achieve and do not imply sinister motives on their part in making such a deal for tenants.

So it's surprising that, suddenly, a post that reviews statements made before the settlement was achieved has created enough upset to warrant such a response from counsel and, by connection, the TA.

I'm all for transparency, however, so I do welcome this response and any statements that may be made about the settlement in the future.

143 comments:

Anonymous said...

STR thank you for putting together this well researched, well documented truth on the MCI "negotiations". I can only imagine the meeting where those guys came up with their plan to blanket this in the press and posters in our lobbies and mailers with their twisted version of how this is a good outcome for anyone other than themselves. Their is no disputing the historical account you put together. With more MCI's on the way as you say I don't see how we can take this latest scam from them without challenging it.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Yet, challenging it may be plunging ourselves to the abyss. The only thing that's really at stake here as a major loss would be if the retroactive charges were put back in place. In this sense, it is CWCapital that has us by the short hairs.

Anonymous said...

So we had them by the short hairs, were in the right, in the beginning, a slam dunk, then these negotiators put together a deal that paralyzed tenants and gave CW a hold on tenants by the short hairs.
Do we have a list of the names of all involved in the negotiations? Are the retro charges enough reason not to challenge given all laid out in your blog of the past few months on these mci's.

Anonymous said...

At the very least we MUST remove all involved in these negotiations from their positions effecting tenants because they are only interested in their own deals and are not acting in the best interest of of tenants. They are abusing their position to further their own agenda. I don't believe they were ever actually challenging the mci's.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the comprehensive report STR.

Problem is, I still have a hard time making any sense of the whole thing.

You should publish an MCI for Dummies book. :)

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The firm of Collins, Dobkin & Miller was involved in the negotiations for the TA.

http://collinsdobkinmiller.com/attorney.html

I don't see what purpose they would have to screw the tenants over.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The firm appears to be solidly pro-tenant, btw:

http://news.collinsdobkinmiller.com/

Anonymous said...

Then why did they flip flop?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

My suspicion is that CW's offer of eliminating the retroactive payment was too captivating to take a chance on fighting the MCIs, a positive outcome of which was not certain. So the TA took the certain deal accepting the MCIs while having the retroactive payment eliminated.

Anonymous said...

As to the request for an MCI for Dummies, this Fact Sheet might be helpful: http://www.nyshcr.org/Rent/FactSheets/orafac24.htm

Anonymous said...

607p. Thanks for the link.

Info is still pretty overwhelming.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that due to considerable tenant turnover in the complex over the past few years, it would be very difficult to collect retroactive charges from tenants who have moved out. Many units would have the same MCIs shared among several successive leases; by insisting on recouping retroactive payments they would have to chase down a lot of the money they feel they are owed (with dubious results). By conceding on this issue, they instead held fast for the sure thing: increases going forward. Makes total sense, from their standpoint.

Anonymous said...

On the declarations which STR references as "hopes" but really were declarative and facts thousands of tenants paid money to have these guys deliver those declarations. Roughly $140,000 was collected in their war chest.

Where is the money and where is the report on how each dollar was spent that gave us these less than stellar results?

That is a lot of money. Where is all the money all these years? It is not in the results. How is it being spent?

Anonymous said...

The TA should not have accepted this deal and fought this to the bitter end. What better way than to tie this thing up forever in the courts, thus delaying the future sale of this place. OH, we should all be so happy, right? $55.00 more per month AND a RGB increase on the way in June, how are we ever able to afford to live in this place? Our raises have not even kept up with all these increases. We are ALL slowly sinking. What a way to live. STPCV RUINED FOREVER!!!!

Anonymous said...

It's bs. they never expected to collect retroactive payments.

They just want you to think they gave you a gift. This paves the way for many more increases to come. Lmao.

Anonymous said...

The TA threw long-time RS tenants under the bus in order to enrich the new "market rate" tenants--probably the same people that the TA believes would be most likely to consider buying into a condo conversion.

The TA Board wants to be the condo board if a conversion can be orchestrated. In reality, it is highly unlikely that this will ever occur so the TA just sold out its real constituents for a pipe dream about the power they hope to wield in the future--once again.

Anonymous said...

Does any one know what defines:

Roberts Tenants
Non-Roberts Tenants paying full legal rent
Non-Roberts Tenants less than legal rent (How this situation comes about?)

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. The collection of the retro over 3 years would have been an Accounting department nightmare. While appreciative of what the TA accomplished, they could have waited this thing out a little longer and not give in soo easily.

Anonymous said...

To 10:28 AM. Interesting. That's definitely one read on the situation. It's credible because there is no real business sense in the TA endorsement of Brookfield. The only logic that applies is Gardonick angling for great fees for his law firm and the TA positioning itself to be elected to the governing board as members who could be very persuasive with Brookfield because of a cooperative past. In its endorsement of Brookfield, it's quite clear that demographically the TA has aligned itself with the newer tenants...as the ones most likely to have the money to buy.

But then again maybe the TA has some good reason why it negotiated such that the newer tenants did so much better than the older tenants. I leave it to the TA to speak for itself about this.

Anonymous said...

Thanks internet, everybody's a legal expert now! Not only that, anonymous commenters here even know exactly who had who by the short hairs, what CW Cap's legal eagles were thinking, and exactly how long Tim Collins and the TA should have held out before CW Cap's attorneys would have collapsed in frustration and exhaustion!

These are valuable gifts! Why keep them under a bushel!? Not that STR is just a bushel, but you know what I mean -- why not share these invaluable insights in real time directly with our attorneys, the legal committee, the board, etc?

Meanwhile of course there were also the experts who regularly groused in comments here about how the negotiations were taking too darn long, but...well I guess you experts disagree sometimes, but it sure makes things confusing for the rest of us ordinary readers!

Anonymous said...

Regarding your response to the TA attorney's response to your posts about the MCI settlement.

You say that: "I also do not believe that I have been critical of the settlement, unlike some of the commentators in the comment section."

However, your Pros/cons post IS critical of the agreement Here are some highlights from it:

The Pros and Cons for Tenants in the MCI Agreement

Pros

The big and only pro that I see is that retroactive MCI charges have been dropped...

I don’t see any other advantage in the agreement. Yes, we have a 5% decrease in MCI costs, but that is a pittance that will be hard to notice on your monthly rent bill and is really insulting to mention as much of a “win” for tenants...

Cons

Affordable housing took another hit with this agreement. The MCIs are not under challenge anymore and are permanently attached to the rent of every apartment...

Further, you suggest that T&V may be the cause of said misstatements: "So, my post that links to supposedly factual reportage 'contains misinformation and appears to discredit the MCI Settlement and the negotiations'? Perhaps the blame should be placed on the Town & Village newspaper...

Say what? You were at the Collins' meeting and you publish "The Stuyvesant Town Report" which suggests you are a reporter who takes notes at meetings and reports facts, not not someone who relies on other sources for you to copy and paste from.

I'd also like to note that it could be read that you threw your commenters under the bus, suggesting that it is perhaps them, not you, who Mr Collins may be calling out: "I also do not believe that I have been critical of the settlement, unlike some of the commentators in the comment section."

Sorry, but you were challenged on your reporting by the individual you reported on and your response is self-serving and weak.

A final note. It's about time the TA stood up to this blog. And while you say that you're all in favor of transparency, the odds against this comment getting printed are pretty high.

Thank you for your time.

Anonymous said...

ok, so i'm very confused. Not having to pay the past bullshit bill on these, but have to pay WHAT going forward?

IOW::: What will my new rent be? My current rent is at 3200. The legal rent on the lease states 3300.

This does not sound like a win for me or us at all. THANKS

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Thanks internet, everybody's a legal expert now! Not only that, anonymous commenters here even know exactly who had who by the short hairs....<<

Your post seems to suggest an annoyance at people posting opinions about the settlement. Well, in my post on this matter, I quoted factual information. As to the opinions rendered there, surely it doesn't take a rocket scientist, or a legal expert, to figure out what the pressures were on both sides.

Sorry, but I'm not in the business of just blindly accepting whatever PR is being offered by any side.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>However, your Pros/cons post IS critical of the agreement Here are some highlights from it:<<

My pros and cons are factual. The retroactive charges have been dropped. We (long term tenants) get 5% off our MCIs, a figure that's hardly earth-shattering. Affordable housing took a hit, because the MCIs are now part of the permanent rental. Etc. What did you read that is NOT factual?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>I'd also like to note that it could be read that you threw your commenters under the bus, suggesting that it is perhaps them, not you, who Mr Collins may be calling out: "I also do not believe that I have been critical of the settlement, unlike some of the commentators in the comment section."<<

You have not been paying much attention to this blog. The people who comment here have various and differing opinions. I do challenge some of those opinions. Please read the blog and the comments more carefully.

Anonymous said...

OT. Id on't understand why we or anyone would think this landlord has a glutton of empty apartments or that the market has done anything but continued to skyrocket.

The site for rentals pcvst shows very few availability and ftr, a one bedroom in PC is now more than 4,000 dollars a month. I believe CW is earning a nice profit here and will continue to do so.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>And while you say that you're all in favor of transparency, the odds against this comment getting printed are pretty high.<<

In my approval for comments Blogger section, I did not see this end bit. And let your comment through. So you were wrong, it seems.

Anonymous said...

2:58 that is MISGUIDED and a STELLAR EXAMPLE of DISPLACEMENT.

The TA needs to stand up to CW. The TA does not need to stand up to STR.

The TA needs to thank all the STR's and commenters who push for tenant protections, truths, and rights. Who push for stronger, greater results for tenants.

From all I've ever seen of STR - STR is fair and truthful.

Your assessment of a lack transparency of STR commenters is like the pot calling the kettle black.

Commenters don't need to be transparent. But those assuming leadership positions absolutely MUST because leadership carries responsibility. Anyone you are assuming responsibility over has every right to their opinion and you should welcome all tenant's opinions if you are to represent tenants in a leadership position.

Stellar displacement. Glaringly absent of character traits of a leader.

Anonymous said...

The TA needs to see the tenants perspective. To see each and all tenant's perspective and act on behalf of each and all tenant's perspective. Not the other way around. The tenants don't need to see and understand this MCI mess from the TA's perspective. There should be one agenda - the best interest of the tenants. The results of the negotiations, the TA et al lack of understanding and anger towards the tenant perspective is disappointing and troubling.

Anonymous said...

If this is a good deal it will stand up to the toughest of criticism. If it is not, it will crumble in a downward spiral of defensive maneuvers.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Once again, it seems as if the TA is trying to control "the message" and takes offense at anyone who states, "Hey, let's take a look at this more closely."

Anonymous said...

My pros and cons are factual. The retroactive charges have been dropped. We (long term tenants) get 5% off our MCIs, a figure that's hardly earth-shattering. Affordable housing took a hit, because the MCIs are now part of the permanent rental. Etc. What did you read that is NOT factual?

The ENTIRE AMOUNT of the retroactive charges would NOT have been dropped if not for the TA and it's lawyers. And please stop saying that we only got 5% off on the MCIs. THAT IS INCORRECT. We got 28% off in total and a 100% reduction for some tenants who pay high rents.

There was no way that these MCIs were not going to be approved to some substantial extent. Blame the MCI law and Cuomo and his pro-landlord DHCR, but please stop blaming the TA. If we want to prevent these MCI landlord give aways in the future, then pressure needs to be put on the legislature in Albany to amend or abolish the grossly unfair MCI LAW.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 2:09...you acts as if the TA conducts itself transparently. It doesn't. It stuff, then announces what it's done, and acts if everyone else should fall in line. Maybe you respect as authority.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>And please stop saying that we only got 5% off on the MCIs. THAT IS INCORRECT. We got 28% off in total and a 100% reduction for some tenants who pay high rents.<<

I love this "28 percent" figure that's now being given. 23% of that is from the prior DHCR ruling, not the one that was scheduled for a reconsideration, not one the Town Hall meeting was about. So what's new, and you and the TA know this, is the 5% figure. That's what long-term tenants will be seeing NOW based on the agreement that just occurred. Please don't use the figure of 28% to try to camouflage the truth of what happened.

Anonymous said...

>>And please stop saying that we only got 5% off on the MCIs. THAT IS INCORRECT. We got 28% off in total and a 100% reduction for some tenants who pay high rents.<<

I love this "28 percent" figure that's now being given. 23% of that is from the prior DHCR ruling, not the one that was scheduled for a reconsideration, not one the Town Hall meeting was about. So what's new, and you and the TA know this, is the 5% figure. That's what long-term tenants will be seeing NOW based on the agreement that just occurred. Please don't use the figure of 28% to try to camouflage the truth of what happened.


The TA and its lawyers are responsible for both the original 23% reduction and the more recent 5% reduction in the MCI amounts. If you actually thought that we were going to get some huge amount more off during the second go round - over and above the ENTIRE amount of the retroactive being dropped, which represents thousands of dollars for most people - I think that that was a bit naive on your part.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the mci s

why are the amounts going to be different if i moved in a year ago, ten years ago or october 15th?

why are the amounts different depending on building?

Anonymous said...

You know...the TA thinks it's in the driver's seat,very impressed with itself. Hasn't a clue about transparency, true representation or about what little backing it has. Let the conversion occur. There will be a big wake-up call.

Anonymous said...

CW Capital did not go out of pocket to pay for any of the work performed related to these MCI's. For previous ownership, this was mis-spent capital that was lost. CW bondholders will make more money than they're owed at sale, guaranteed.

To CW, the retroactive charges were irrelevant. What matters is the ongoing rent increases. More specifically, what matters is the increase in rental income of those apartments that pay less than 'market' rate (the always RS units).

This little negotiated agreement just increased the value of STCPV by more than $75+ million.

My math is not exact but I'll document my calculation for purposes of disclosure: My 1BR ST apartment has a current MCI increase of $49.56/month or 594.74 per year. 95% of that is $565 per year. Multiply that by 60% of the 11,224 apartments (I approximate that 40% of apartments are Roberts/post-Roberts where MCI are not being included in current rent). That amounts to $6.341 million in additional rent. As a proposed sales cap rate of 5%, the value increase is $76+ million. If the assets sell at a better cap rate (better = lower, say 4.5%) then the value increase = $85 million.

Who won???

Anonymous said...

I had stated in a previous thread that the TA should have dragged in knuckles on this negotiation as well as continually sue CW for each and every infraction/ diminution of service/quality of life issue. Instead, the TA signs an agreement that INCREASES the legal rent for each apartment. For whose benefit? Is the TA in some type of confidential conversation with CW on matters of sale? And if so, for whose benefit? Not mine.
One great thing happened today. The TA acknowledged that they read this blog.

I've lived here for almost 15 years and TA leadership is downright laughable. I'm so confused by the TA actions that I cannot figure whether they are a tenants association, a prospective buyer or a wannabe condo association.

You know who else reads this blog? other prospective buyers of our community. And to them I say this, “I, as well as most of my neighbors, do not blindly follow the knucklehead TA leaders. When the time for sale arrives, come on by, talk to us. Tell us what you envision. We’ll assess your offer. And we’ll tell you directly whether we can support your bid. There are several local schools that can support a town hall style meeting”.

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to figure out the reason why long timers got the worse deal. Many of them are probably on fixed income and can least afford the MCIs.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>To CW, the retroactive charges were irrelevant. What matters is the ongoing rent increases. More specifically, what matters is the increase in rental income of those apartments that pay less than 'market' rate (the always RS units).<<

Exactly.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>If you actually thought that we were going to get some huge amount more off during the second go round - over and above the ENTIRE amount of the retroactive being dropped, which represents thousands of dollars for most people - I think that that was a bit naive on your part.<<

I'm just going by statements that were made by the TA's lawyer and the president of the TA. I had no other expectations, though I did think that a few of the MCIs, like the walkways, could have been successfully fought, given the ample proof that the work was shoddy and needs to be redone.

Anonymous said...

Tell us there's a cap on how many HITS WE'll get annually for Mci charges here in stuy.

Think about it, the possibilities are endless .. elevator, water, pipes, sewer , laundry, electrical, playgrounds, sidewalks......

Giovanni said...

This is actually all very simple:. Stuy Town/PCV is being systematically economically cleansed of undesirable tenants through a massive legal campaign that requires a PhD to comprehend, but only a grade school education to understand.

Its really simple: They want you out. They will succeed. It's only a matter of time. Maybe a tenant group purchase of the property way back when, combined with political support from the city, could have stopped this. Or maybe the people you trusted had another agenda.

Look who the Mayor was when this was all going on. Bloomberg was always on the side of the owners and developers, but now you expect DeBlasio to fix 12 years of Tishman Speyers and CW"s damage? It's like watching the guy who stood in front of the tank in Tienamen Square. He hasnt been seen since. By the time the tanks show up its a little too late. The investors are winning. If they have their way, which is to extract maximum returns, the bulldozers will be next.

No one showed up to the few pathetic protests, no one put the little yellow signs in the windows. The politicains who were so full pf promises seem to have disappeared now that the election is over. Why? Because real estate is a commodity, not a community. A true community would have gotten itself organized. A place full of transients and dormitories did not.

This is going to be the model for all future developers who want to dismantle established middle class enclaves. Expect more MCIs, more rent increases, fewer services, and more broken promises.

The solution: change the laws that helped create this mess. It may not save ST/PCV but it may save your kids some time down the road.

Anonymous said...

11:41 - Not being snarky , but how did we get the worst deal here?

i think we have the best deal. explain please.

Anonymous said...

Sure seems to me everyone at that negotiation shared one agenda of PCVST as a commodity not a community.

Anonymous said...

Anyone ever think that the TA was in more of a rush to negotiate the MCI's than CW?

It sounds like a sale is imminent. The TA wants to buy the assets (with brookfield). In their deluded minds, the TA 'power' brokers think they have the inside track on being the winning bidder. But how would it look if, after winning the bid, the TA then negotiated the MCI rental increase WITH ITSELF.

I'm not saying the TA (or its 3rd rate team of investment bankers) is smart enough to think about clearing such conflicts before they arise, but some of us tenants have been telling the TA that conflicts exist.

Anonymous said...

Is this TA legally qualified to speak for the entire population? Do they have ample membership or abide by tenants association bylines and practices to have the authority to negotiate for the entire STPCV population?

During the sale how do tenants get representation at the negotiating table of these buyers and sellers who are working against tenants?

How do we protect our homes and community when both the buyers and sellers are trying to increase rent roll by evicting our neighbors?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

MCI charges are capped at 6% of your rent. They can't charge you more. But that's per year.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

This explains, in simple language, an MCI:

http://www.tenantsandneighbors.org/pdf/MCI%20Final_English.pdf

Anonymous said...

So far as MCIs are concerned, CW needs to talk to some tenant rep to negotiate. The old TA was a viable partner to do that. But the current TA that seeks no feedback & just acts on its own accord has the backing of relatively few tenants.

Anonymous said...

The position of any tenant organization with respect to a sale is interesting. Unless the unit prices come out such that monthly outlays are about the same as they are today, there will be a lot of tenants who don't buy. Those tenants will need representation...like the TA. However, there will also be a governance board for owners. It's a conflict of interest to be on both a TA and a governance board so there will be a separation. Make no mistake. For the first 5 years, the governance board will be dominated by the winning developer. That is, unless the conversion offering is very, very favorable to tenant-buyers, the developer will own the majority of the units. And on the governance board, majority rules. So one dynamic that's in play is how much trouble the tenant-owner members of the board will be prepared to make in order to stand up to the developer during the first five years. I mean make real trouble because when you're not in the majority, making a lot of public trouble over impasses is your only real leverage. I'd urge the tenants to take careful note of the current TA board. Campaigning starts now. If Brookfield wins the bid, I would not vote for any current TA board member to be on the governance board. No how, no way.

Anonymous said...

The advertising with co-authored TA CW laminated posters in lobbies and press articles in real estate publications to fool and give a false perception of this ever being a negotiation in the first place is a bad joke. It was a done deal from the beginning. They didn't deliver results that fulfilled the promises they made. Maybe the promises they made in the beginning were just to increase the number of members in the TA luring us in with false promises to push their own interests. Seems we all should rescind our pledges which mandated we join the TA signing away our rights to fight for ourselves. If I recall they put in a clause that they get a lot of days from time we rescind to when they release us. Was it all a ploy to increase TA membership to help them in their Garodnick purchase plan?

Anonymous said...

I'm filing an individual par. I encourage all to do same.

Anonymous said...

I'm really afraid that I will not be able to afford my rent as I reach old age. I will NEVER be able to retire. THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM, AND I'M WORRIED!

Anonymous said...

6% a year?? holy fuck.

So they can (my rent is 1800) charge me 6% plus the 4% renewal rate????

that's an additional 10% = 180 per month first year! hahahaha

Anonymous said...

the May 10 TA town hall meeting is NOT about the MCI settlement.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>6% a year?? holy fuck.<<

But those have to be for new MCIs.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>I'm filing an individual par. I encourage all to do same.<<

I hope you have a super lawyer, like the Perry Mason type that never loses. You may also want to attend the May 10th TA meeting, where the TA's lawyer will be present.

Anonymous said...

The lawyer who negotiated the settlement takes issue with misstatements made on this blog and STR blames T&V for any misstatements. That's not exactly mensch-y, STR.

As for your pros and cons being "factual." This is basically an opinion blog and so was your Pros and Cons piece. You looked at facts and interpreted them like a pundit on an editorial page. Nothing wrong with that except the lawyer disagreed with your facts and interpretations. Your response was not adequate, IMO.

One final note. Having opinions is a critical part of being human, but folks here often seem to have a mob mentality, being all to ready to grab for the torches and pitchforks based on bits and pieces of info that's not always reliable. I doubt this comment will elicit anything more substantial than such as April 21, 2014 at 4:04 PM, but it's worth a shot anyway.

Thanks for your time.

Anonymous said...

Anon, April 22, 2014 at 11:53 AM - "the May 10 TA town hall meeting is NOT about the MCI settlement."

From the TA's April 17, 2014, "MCI Settlement Reached After Months of Negotiation" email to tenants:

"A general meeting to discuss the settlement will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014, at 1:00 PM, in Intermediate School 104, East 20th Street between First and Second Avenues."

Anonymous said...

>>I'm filing an individual par. I encourage all to do same.<<

I hope you have a super lawyer, like the Perry Mason type that never loses. You may also want to attend the May 10th TA meeting, where the TA's lawyer will be present.


Gee, STR, sounds like you believe that the only reason tenants got as much as they did in fighting the MCIs was due to the TA and its lawyers. Yes? So, what's your gripe with how the TA handled the MCIs?

I might also add that every five minutes someone on the TA's Facebook page was asking for an update on the MCI negotiations or complaining that the resolution of the MCIs was taking too long. I can only imagine the uproar from tenants if the negotiations had gone on on for YEARS, instead of months.

Anonymous said...

"Tell us there's a cap on how many HITS WE'll get annually for Mci charges here in stuy.

Think about it, the possibilities are endless .. elevator, water, pipes, sewer , laundry, electrical, playgrounds, sidewalks......"

Under the current law (GOTTA MOBILIZE TO CHANGE IT) there's probably no cap--other than you can't be charged more than 6% of your rent at the time the MCI was filed.

But there is a useful life schedule, and eligible items can't be replaced until their time is up.

And as a general comment on other comments here: I see a lot of confusion, lack of awareness of what the law allows, and what could be achieved by a negotiation (hint: no one gets everything they want or should get).

May I suggest that we all do a little homework by consulting the DHCR site--it has lots of pertinent fact sheets. Maybe some of us will find answers to our own questions. Even if we don't, we'll be in a better position to ask informed questions when the TA holds its meeting.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>The lawyer who negotiated the settlement takes issue with misstatements made on this blog and STR blames T&V for any misstatements. That's not exactly mensch-y, STR.

As for your pros and cons being "factual." This is basically an opinion blog and so was your Pros and Cons piece. You looked at facts and interpreted them like a pundit on an editorial page. Nothing wrong with that except the lawyer disagreed with your facts and interpretations. Your response was not adequate, IMO.<<

What misstatements? I was there and the reportage from T&V was accurate. (BTW, wasn't the TA supposed to upload the entire meeting online?) IF the reportage was erroneous, why in the hell didn't counsel and the TA inform T&V of this fact, so corrections could be made? Also, we have a quote from TA President John Marsh about the importance of permanent MCI increases vs. the retroactive MCI payments. Was he misquoted by T&V? Yeah, I know he'd like to backtrack on that statement, but it's there, unless he was misquoted.

Regarding my pros and cons, which ones are NOT factual? Please state specifics.

Anonymous said...

"6% a year?? holy fuck.

So they can (my rent is 1800) charge me 6% plus the 4% renewal rate????

that's an additional 10% = 180 per month first year!"

That's the beauty of MCIs for landlords and a disaster for renters, especially since the MCI becomes part of the base rent that the annual increase is figured on. The MCI is depreciable, but the landlord collects forever. That's the law.

BUT the 6% is figured on what your rent was when the MCI was filed, in the current cases, 2009. Because the landlord can't recoup more than the 6%, retroactive charges can appear on your rent bill for years.

Anonymous said...

"I don't understand the mci s

why are the amounts going to be different if i moved in a year ago, ten years ago or october 15th?

why are the amounts different depending on building?"

If you want to understand MCIs, go to the DHCR site. It has a lot of information.

The amounts are different because they are calculated by building and by apartment size. The larger your apartment, the higher the cost to you.

When you moved in makes a difference. Long-term tenants in unrenovated apartments are usually paying the full legal rent. Tenants in renovated apartments who were here when the Roberts case was filed, pay much higher rents because those apartments were initially deregulated (taken out of rent stabilization). When the Roberts case was won by the plaintiff tenants, a formula was arrived at to determine the legal rent and the collectible rent plus several other factors. Tenants who moved into renovated apartments after the Roberts case was decided fall into another category. Most of them are probably paying preferential rents. Those are rents that are lower than what the landlord can legally charge. Why are they paying less? Because the landlord has managed to get the legal rent up so high that it's above what the market will pay.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

You know, I'm getting pissed off by these poor, flabby excuses concerning "misstatements" made by me on this blog. I spent a good amount of time going through past references to what was said prior to the recent agreement, and I gave links to the ENTIRE reportage I quoted. And these excuses completely ignore my main point in the "pros and cons" that the BIG win was the removal of the retroactive fees. That 5% reduction on the MCIs was a crumb thrown to tenants. Anyone who doesn't believe that and considers that 5% an impressive win is delusional and just spinning for the settlement. And please no 28% bullshit. That extra 25% had NOTHING to do with the matter under discussion or in the recent notification we received from the DHCR.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm getting pissed off by these poor, flabby excuses concerning "misstatements" made by me on this blog.


It is a calculated response from the TA, Garodnick and their attorneys. Clearly, the TA attorney is lying and you called him on it. So what does a lawyer do when they get caught lying? They lie some more! Sounds like he is the perfect representative for the TA, an organization that is so corrupt it refuses to release any documents that it is legally required to make public.

Anonymous said...

I'm in on the PAR filing. How do we go about filing one?

Anonymous said...

I think one possible, overlooked issue is that the TA does not have unlimited funds to fight these MCIs, CW Capital and DHCR. The TA does not have the deep, deep pockets that CW Capital does and would, undoubtedly, have run out of money in a prolonged battle. I suspect that reality had to have been taken into consideration at some point in the MCI negotiations. For anyone who isn't aware of it, the TA's lawyers do NOT work for free.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>It is a calculated response from the TA, Garodnick and their attorneys. Clearly, the TA attorney is lying and you called him on it. So what does a lawyer do when they get caught lying? They lie some more! Sounds like he is the perfect representative for the TA, an organization that is so corrupt it refuses to release any documents that it is legally required to make public.<<

Just a notation that I don't subscribe to the above. I also want to point out to readers that there are individuals, or an individual, who may want to discredit the TA and Brookfield because they may want to get in on the sale of this property. Not saying that this is so in this case, but that people should be aware that because of the anonymous nature of the commentary here, differing agendas can be voiced which may not be coming from the "casual" STPCV resident.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Gee, STR, sounds like you believe that the only reason tenants got as much as they did in fighting the MCIs was due to the TA and its lawyers. Yes? So, what's your gripe with how the TA handled the MCIs?<<

The only gripe here is coming from the TA, which has a gripe about my posts that don't follow 100% the party line. I stated from the outset in my "pros and cons" that the big pro was the elimination of the retroactive charges. But, yes, affordable housing took a hit because nothing was really done about the MCIs which are now going to be permanent on our rents and which will contribute to rent increases with new lease signings.

For some reason, the TA doesn't like to admit the latter truth.

Anonymous said...

"But, yes, affordable housing took a hit because nothing was really done about the MCIs which are now going to be permanent on our rents and which will contribute to rent increases with new lease signings."

THERE WAS NO WAY THAT THESE MCIs WERE GOING TO GO AWAY COMPLETELY.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING TOOK A HIT BECAUSE OF THE MCI LAW.

REPEATING THIS OVER AND OVER IS GETTING EXHAUSTING.

DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE MCI LAW AND THIS WON'T HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>THERE WAS NO WAY THAT THESE MCIs WERE GOING TO GO AWAY COMPLETELY.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING TOOK A HIT BECAUSE OF THE MCI LAW.

REPEATING THIS OVER AND OVER IS GETTING EXHAUSTING.

DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE MCI LAW AND THIS WON'T HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE.<<

This wasn't the main thrust of the November Town Hall meeting.

Anonymous said...

It is a calculated response from the TA, Garodnick and their attorneys. Clearly, the TA attorney is lying and you called him on it. So what does a lawyer do when they get caught lying? They lie some more! Sounds like he is the perfect representative for the TA, an organization that is so corrupt it refuses to release any documents that it is legally required to make public.<<

I said it and I have no interest in the sale of this place, that would be the TA and it's gang. I am a long term (over 50 years) resident who is sick of the TA and its crap. I am filing a PAR too.

Anonymous said...



I support you STR. You at least tell the truth, facts as they are. That's powerful.

I'ms rue the TA members work hard and etc. I have no judgement as I don't work or volunteer. There's no point in arguing , futile. We are fucked, they know it, we know it and what do we really expect the TA to do???? Fighting a pricey losing battle here.

Anonymous said...

So is it better to be a roberts tenant or a tenant who moved in 12/ 2013 for example?

All so confusing.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I can't answer that. If I had more time, perhaps. The TA should be able to provide you with an answer, however, and there is that May 10th meeting that should be of interest.

I think we will all find out what is in the settlement for us individually when the rent checks come in. I'll be reviewing mine with extra care.

Anonymous said...

John Marsh needs to stop disgracing the TA with his poor decision making and move on already. If there's a smart choice to be made, he'll make the other choice. The very notion he would involve the lawyers on a counter point is sheer buffoonery.

Anonymous said...

Sorry. Do you really think John Marsh is calling the shots here? I don't think so. From the very moment that Guterman offered a challenge to the TA's deal with Brookfield, who was the first person to come forward for the TA? Recall...it was Dan Garodnick saying "if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't." It's clear that the MCI deal is great for all but the older residents. So here's the win-win between CW and Garodnick. Garodnick sees the newer residents as his way to the future. CW sees the older residents as standing in their way. Force them out & there are higher rents to be charged and more vacant apartments that can be sold by a developer who wins the bid...which can lead to higher bids. After all, many of the older residents may be on fixed income so MCIS can help push them out. This is hardball, make no mistake about it. And so far as the TA itself goes, if I had to guess, I'd say that it's Susan Steinberg who is the strongest voice supporting Garodnick. (Not sure if Steve Sanders is involved.) So does the TA have the backing of the newer residents is the question, because they sure as hell don't have the backing of the older residents who still have a few grey cells left. This is all so self-serving, more than Garodnick, the spotlight is really on the TA. And the open question is: what does the TA board really think they're getting out of what they've been doing? So they endorse Brookfield. So what? Has no bearing on the tenants whatsoever. So why do it?Negotiate a deal over the MCIs that favors newer tenants over older tenants. Why? Even if the motivation is to curry favor with the newer tenants, why would a member of the TA board want to do that? Why?

Anonymous said...

No one on the TA is qualified to soothe work they do. It's a joke.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>So does the TA have the backing of the newer residents is the question, because they sure as hell don't have the backing of the older residents who still have a few grey cells left.<<

In every TA Town Hall I've attended, the older tenants make up most of the audience and cheer Dan the loudest.

I really, really don't see this settlement as having anything to do with the sale of STPCV (aside from the increase in rent rolls that favor whoever will buy the propert--and it's not the tenants). Neither does the settlement have anything to do with Garodnick, Brookfield, etc. I think I know what you're stating, but I just don't believe there's that cold-blooded, and traitorous, hardball being played by people you mention. No way. The hardball comes from CW.

Anonymous said...

In perspective...yes, the hardball is coming from CW on everything. Students, apartment churning, MCIs, Roberts litigation, etc. But answer the questions with respect to the TA: why advocate a condo deal (generally more appealing to upscale tenants); why make an alliance with Brookfield at all; why negotiate an MCI deal that goes much harder on the older tenants. Not matter what you believe, these obvious questions are out there with as yet no clear answers.

Anonymous said...

These threads are too long and time-consuming and argumentative that I just can't take it all in. I can't help but wonder though why does everyone beat up on John Marsh? Why beat up on the TA? They are the only ones who make an attempt to stand up to this Gestapo-like vile landlord. They are a small group of people. John Marsh is one man and he and his group are doing the best they can, as far as I can tell.

We have NOTHING to thank Garodnick for. He is a typical New York politician only looking out for his own best monetary interests and ambitions. But the TA is made up of ordinary, regular citizens who live here and want the best they can get for the tenants. The TA used to be more powerful before MetLife sold us down the river to the despicable schnorrers, TS and Blackrock. Most of the new tenants don't even know that the TA exists. Please, let's not dismiss and disrespect the only entity we have on our side, i.e., the TA. It's a David and Goliath situation and the TA does as much as it can do. I don't believe the TA is still looking to buy this place; that pipe dream went down the toilet a long time ago. They are simply trying to keep the place as decent and affordable as possible and they are fighting against a giant mountain of bad will on the part of the Landlord. Let's not add to that mountain!

Anonymous said...

8:44 Now this is really confusing ...

How is it worse for older tenants?

Seems like a sucky deal all around. We're all paying more from now until forever.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>I can't help but wonder though why does everyone beat up on John Marsh? Why beat up on the TA? They are the only ones who make an attempt to stand up to this Gestapo-like vile landlord. They are a small group of people. John Marsh is one man and he and his group are doing the best they can, as far as I can tell.<<

I agree. And have stated, in other terms, similar thoughts in the past. Perhaps not recently, but that is probably because the TA has recently, in two incidents, tried to "beat up" on me for not allowing them to control the message.

Yes, we are all, ultimately, on the same side of fighting the Powers that Be who have disdain and inconsideration for the residents here, and who prove this daily by their actions or thoughtlessness.

But in case it needs to be stated again be me at this point: I do appreciate the time and effort the TA puts into the fight, Marsh included.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>But answer the questions with respect to the TA: why advocate a condo deal (generally more appealing to upscale tenants); why make an alliance with Brookfield at all; why negotiate an MCI deal that goes much harder on the older tenants.<<

1) Why advocate a condo deal? A couple of reasons: It would be "make history" to have this place run, in part, by the tenants, who would own some of the property. Then, it is assumed, the tenants and their co-partner, Brookfield, would run the place with the tenants concerns chief in mind; abuse of tenants would be, theoretically, non-existent. Also, it would, yes, afford certain tenants the opportunity to own their home and all the financial perks that may come with that.

2) Why make an alliance with Brookfield? Because, by themselves the TA and tenants do not have the capital to buy this place.

3) Why negotiate a deal that goes much harder on older tenants? Because it's not fair for tenants who started leasing here after the MCI improvements were in place to pay fully for those MCIs? Not sure if that is part of the reasoning, because the whole confusing Roberts stuff gets thrown into the calculation, and I'm not about to try to find a way out to the light there!

Anonymous said...

STR...first of all, you should be challenging the TA to answer these questions themselves...which they steadfastly have refused to do.

Also, reasons you provide don't add up. The first objection implies co-op vs condo. So your response isn't germane. The second objection: in a field of multiple bidders all of whom will bring in outside capital, again your reason isn't responsive to the question. The TA doesn't need an alliance for there to be a conversion. And every developer is out for itself. In a pinch Brookfield will side with Brookfield as is true of any developer. Who are we kidding here? As to the last, what about the group that was paying 'market rate' before the MCIs went in? Why do they pay nothing? But again, you should be challenging the TA to answer publicly, not answering for them. There are several problems with the current TA: they try to control communication, they don't hold themselves accountable to open community questions and they are not transparent.

Anonymous said...

Wow!
After reading all of these comments, you know what is always comes down to? The top 1% always wins. Always has, always will. I think we should be somewhat grateful for what the TA did for us. Your individual PARS would have been laughed at. CW was legally entitled to collect it ALL. There is an MCI bill in the Senate that would eliminate this permanent increase, but all that happens is that it is passed on from from one division to another. This has been going on for a few years now, and nothing gets done. That is our ONLY chance for getting some relief. Otherwise. everything else is just a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

I have a low rent, been here for years. Personally, I'd rather keep my apartment as is and have my landlord be A CONDO owner- tenant than CW, CR , TS or any other as swipe company that doesn't give a shit about me or the higher paying tenants.

ABSOLUTELY. I'm not stupid enough to think otherwise.

Anonymous said...

"It's clear that the MCI deal is great for all but the older residents."

As a long-term, i.e., unrenovated, tenant, I can't agree with this point of view. It hasn't been too long since I finally finished paying off the rewiring MCI (can't remember how many years--ten?), and I wasn't looking forward to years of paying off hundreds of dollars of retroactive charges. Any Roberts or post-Roberts tenant is paying a high rent, even if it isn't as high as the often absurd legal rent. Unless you do some real-time math on the settlement, your argument is meaningless.

Anonymous said...

It appears the whole agreement was made under fraudulent circumstances. The HCR took the TA at its word that it has the authority to speak on behalf of ALL the tenants in PCVST. This is fraud as they do not have the authorization to speak for ALL tenants. After speaking with a person at the HCR I was informed that anyone can write the Asst. commissioner to charge the TA with fraud. This can effectively scuttle the whole deal, not to mention get the TA in some hot water. I don't see why this shouldn't be done.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Well, the TA has the authority to speak for more tenants than any other entity or individual I know!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

And surely the DHCR knows that any tenant organization does not contain all tenants as members and is aware of the STPCV situation, having dealt with the TA for years.

I mean, if people want to file individual PARs that's their right, but to try to get the TA in "hot water" is irresponsible, unless one is working for the Powers that Be or the Powers that Want to Be.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

You know, now I'm getting pissed off for another reason. I'm actually going to cease passing through certain objections to the TA that I think are strongly agenda sourced for whatever reason, personal or otherwise. Sorry.

Anonymous said...



So what we're reading here is that the NON renovated units will get the increases ANNUALLY and only the non renovated units?

No.

All tenants will be getting MCI increases for her eon out. The elevator is coming up soon, then it will be the basement, and the lobby and the lifts for seniors... No one wins here, oh except THE landlord.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

This is the way it breaks down, as far as the permanent MCIs go:

Benefits for Non-Roberts Tenants Paying Full Legal Rent:
● 5% of the permanent MCI will be credited for the duration of each resident’s tenancy.

Benefits for Non-Roberts Tenants Paying Less Than Full Legal Rent:
● 100% of the permanent MCI will be credited for the duration of each resident’s tenancy.

Benefits for Roberts Residents:
● 5% of the permanent MCI will be credited for Roberts residents paying the full Legal Rent.
● 50% of the permanent MCI will be credited for Roberts residents paying either the maximum Modified Legal Rent or the maximum Roberts Preferential Rent. These two terms are defined in the Roberts Settlement.

Anonymous said...

STR @ 5:58

So unfair. Why though?

Anonymous said...

STR, do you know, or have some ballpark estimate, of the percentage of non-Roberts tenants who are paying less than full legal rent?

Anonymous said...

Also, STR, do you have any information, or any guesses, about why, for tenants who are paying less than the full legal rent, some of those (the non-Roberts tenants) will receive 100% credit, while others (the Robert tenants) receive only a 50% credit?

I hope this will be addressed at the May 10th meeting. I can't think of a justification for Roberts tenants getting half the credit that non-Roberts tenants receive, for those tenants of both categories who are paying less than the full legal rent.

I am also confused by the comments here that indicate that Roberts tenants are getting a better deal under this settlement. Am I missing something?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Re: the Roberts questions. I'm equally befuddled as the rest of you. This and also the "full legal rent" business and how it filters in to those calculations.

What I do know is that a person's lease contains, or may contain, something about full legal rent. I have to check my lease, but I'm almost sure that due to the outstanding MCIs that were around at the time I signed my last lease, my rent was not "full legal rent." This settlement probably codified my legal rent, as it did for others in my situation. (I'm a long-term RS tenant.) I have a lease renewal coming up, so that now I will be charged even more for renewing my lease because of the approval on these MCIs. And that's the way the game is played.

And, again, the point I've made previously a few times: Tenants will know how the settlement affects them by checking their future rent bills--and, their lease renewals, if they have them forthcoming.

I will be making such an assessment when I receive everything and will report back on my findings. I hope others will do the same, too, here or at the tenant Facebooks, so that we all can get a more objective view of the settlement.

Anonymous said...

If rents keep getting jacked up EVERY SINGLE YEAR, and pay raises not even coming close to keeping up to it, think homelessness CAN'T happen to you? It most certainly can. And you know what, no one gives a damm about you. You are only a number in today's society. The future is getting really scary! We definitely need from our elected officials. HELLO? IS ANYONE LISTENING?

Anonymous said...

Let's ask these questions to DHCR too. All these specific questions, and reasons why are best sought from as many resources as possible to get a full picture and as objective one as poss.

STR seems to be the only one giving unbiased answers and reflecting all sides of the issues. But all those asking q's of STR, also need to pick up the phone and make that quick call to DHCR or pop down there - they are very nice and will answer your q's and explain specifics on how it will affect your home.

That is what the DHCR is there for. For you. They will give you an objective assessment calculating what it means to your home without any spin.

Anonymous said...

Yea ok, DCHR is there for you. They are ONLY there for you to enforce every rule imaginable for the landlord and not you. OH, that is soo nice of them. What a conspiracy. Until Coumo changes these ridiculous laws, as Frank Sinatra once sang, "the best it yet to come".

Anonymous said...



Should we all just bombard DHCR in person ?

where are they located in manhattan? Thank you and Thanks TO STR.

Anonymous said...

off topic but these are the noisiest damn apartments ever.

we have lots of carpets, we have lots of furniture, when the upstairs tenants vacuum, clean, move stuff it literally sounds like the walls are falling in.

WHAT IS THIS? Never ever had these in our 4 other rentals b4 this one. w.t.f.

Anonymous said...

That they are trying to control the timing of the MCI announcement (which was worked out a while ago)and they're trying to control the message is troubling enough. Just heard they are also clearing all court cases off their desk to make it look like a clean slate property. The moves by all of them are calculated and coordinated. Very troubling indeed.

Anonymous said...

I mean, if people want to file individual PARs that's their right, but to try to get the TA in "hot water" is irresponsible, unless one is working for the Powers that Be or the Powers that Want to Be.

That is a ridiculous statement! I wrote the comment that has you all "pissed" off and I don't work for any of the powers that be or want to be. I am one person trying to stop the TA from ruining PCVST more than they already have. However, its your "ball" and you can go home with it if you want.

Anonymous said...

It is so incredibly hard for me to feel sorry for anyone paying $1,800/month in rent in this part of Manhattan. No one likes rent increases, but you are in no way screwed compared to the rest of us.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Should we all just bombard DHCR in person ?<<

You mean, of course, bombard the DHCR with our presence!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>It is so incredibly hard for me to feel sorry for anyone paying $1,800/month in rent in this part of Manhattan. No one likes rent increases, but you are in no way screwed compared to the rest of us.<<

Please. Are you a market-rate paying tenant here or perhaps from out of the complex and just feel like commenting?

The long-term tenants here and PCVST were doing just fine before the Met Life sale. Your problem, if you are a market-rate paying tenant here, is not with the long-term tenants but with the sale and Tishman-Speyer who bought this place. Long-term tenants have NOTHING to do with your high rents. In fact, it is the long-term tenants who have been fighting for you also, while almost all of the market-rate tenants have been missing in action when called upon to engage in the fight against the Powers that Be, like showing up in front of the leasing office to protest mid-lease rent increases (which JUST affected market rate tenants) or just simply putting up placards in your windows supporting the fight against an aggressive landlord.

Also, many of the long-time tenants are not as wealthy as you may be. PCVST has been there home for decades. Many are seniors by now. Are you going to kick them out because you're pissed that they pay less rent than you do because they've been here for years?

So, please, stop it with even a hint of annoyance or dissatisfaction at or lack of sympathy for your fellow tenants who were here before you.

Anonymous said...

DHCR is at 25 Beaver Street.

Go ask DHCR to accurately calculate MCI charges for your apartment. Do this next week before May 1.
Then compare it to what CW charges you in your rent stub and make sure CW does not overcharge with their funny calculations.

Go ask for a rent history on your apartment going back to at least 2000 while you are there. Chances are you are being overcharged a lot especially if you live in 250 First Avenue.

We can't ONLY rely on information from proven unreliable sources as CW rent stubs, TA calculated, controlled messages, politicians who say one thing while doing another.

Before the May 10 meeting get the information from DHCR on your apartment also.

Do this for yourself - it is worth it.

Anonymous said...

WOW 9:59!!! WAY TO PUT 9:48 IN IT'S PLACE. YOU ARE SOO RIGHT!!!!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I think you meant "8:53 PM"... ;-)

Anonymous said...

Yes, the stuytown reporter's answer regarding that we were doing just fine before the metlife sale. I agree with you 100%. Miss the days when there were NO dogs, NO students and their parties, the chains were up, walking in the grass was prohibited, etc, etc, etc. There was a good reason why these policies were in place. Now, it's a complete free for all.

Anonymous said...

No, you are just the last of a group of tenants that are benefiting from rent stabilization. I wish that RS was still the norm, that we all could pay affordable rents. But now everyone but you is forced to pay more and more of their income in rent to continue to live in Manhattan. The rest of us are screwed. You are not, which I'd otherwise be glad for you, but when you complain about increases of $180 when most of us can face $750+, you do not garner much sympathy.

Anonymous said...

What misstatements did you make?

1. You were at the meeting. So was I and I came away with a very clear picture of what the deal would generally look like. And that was that CW Cap did not really give a shit about the retroactive portion of the MCIs, that it was the permanent increase that they were after because a permanent increase bumps up the rent rolls which bumps up the property value. So my impression was that retro charges would likely go away and that the hard negotiations would be over a reduction of the permanent increase. Period. Again, I was there. There was no discussion, by anyone, of eliminating MCIs at that meeting.

2. The attorney didn't challenge the MCIs because they decided to negotiate. Not an unreasonable decision knowing what we do about DHCR and what we don't about Cuomo.

3. Your describe the 5% reduction in the permanent increase as a "pittance," but you neglect to mention the part about how that 5% reduction is on top of another 23% reduction the DHCR granted based on Collins' initial objections.

To the comments from April 23, 2014 at 2:58 PM and April 22, 2014 at 4:09 PM. You guys think filing individual PARs are gonna do shit? Maybe if you got another 80 or so apartments to file PARs along with you, your building would have a snowball's chance in hell of getting..what exactly out of the DHCR? The MCIs eliminated? Ha ha. Talk about magical thinking. If you're smart, you'll stick to screaming and yelling on blogs about how someone the TA's attorney didn't deliver your magical MCI pony, because going it alone on the MCI challenge process (first with DHCR and then after they reject your petition, in state supreme court) will go just swimmingly!

And April 22, 2014 at 2:04 PM, I challenged STR on the misstatements on my own, not on behalf of anyone else. You are aware that it's entirely possible that there are people who read this blog and find much of what's written to be borderline nuts and not be in the TA or work for Garodnick or the attorneys, right?

Anonymous said...

11:34 BS

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>> I was there. There was no discussion, by anyone, of eliminating MCIs at that meeting.<<

The meeting was centered around fighting the MCIs, so I can't understand how you think there was NO discussion of eliminating them, since fighting them (successfully) eliminates them. Why in the hell did everyone show up then? If for little reason or just to talk about CW's 35% retroactive waver offer, then lawyer Tim Collins would have kept his proctologist appointment and skipped the meeting.

>>The attorney didn't challenge the MCIs because they decided to negotiate. Not an unreasonable decision knowing what we do about DHCR and what we don't about Cuomo.<<

This possibility, however, was NOT discussed at the Town Hall meeting, and was kept a secret until the outcome was already settled.

>>Your describe the 5% reduction in the permanent increase as a "pittance," but you neglect to mention the part about how that 5% reduction is on top of another 23% reduction the DHCR granted based on Collins' initial objections.<<

I've called major bullshit on this reasoning before and I'll do so again. This PRIOR 23% result from the DHCR had NOTHING to do with the issue at hand at the Town Hall meeting. Nor does it have any bearing on the Order and Determination we received last week from the DHCR. Review the DHCR stipulation and see if you find it there. This promotional spin of the 23% on top of the 5% (and that 5% IS pathetic) is the most infuriating and transparently idiotic explanation coming from the TA to justify the recent negotiations with CWCapital in an attempt to prop up the TA "win." Again, MAJOR BULLSHIT and everyone knows it!

Now go away with your duplicitous and false logic!

[To any potential commentator here. Mention this bullshit "We really won 28%" and your comment will not be passed. I'm tired of giving space to this idiotic rationale that surely insults anyone's intelligence, or should.]

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>No, you are just the last of a group of tenants that are benefiting from rent stabilization. I wish that RS was still the norm, that we all could pay affordable rents. But now everyone but you is forced to pay more and more of their income in rent to continue to live in Manhattan. The rest of us are screwed. You are not, which I'd otherwise be glad for you, but when you complain about increases of $180 when most of us can face $750+, you do not garner much sympathy.<<

Okay, I'm going to play a little hardball here, since you seem not to have any sympathy for the long-term and typically elderly residents that signed onto living here, probably before you sucked on your first milk bottle.

Get this: The long-term residents are, in part, on fixed incomes. To you, $180 may not seem like much (that's what you probably pay for a month at Apple Seeds or the Ice Rink), but for many residents here $180 IS a lot and can be burdensome. It is to me, and I'm not even a senior yet. So, perhaps, if you think about it some more, you may get a measure of sympathy for residents who are not as well off as you. (After all, you can afford market rate here, so my assumption is that you are wealthier than many long-term RS tenants.)

But get this, too: You signed up for this deal, this market rate pricing. No one forced you to come here and pay market rate and get screwed by the landlord.

Long-term tenants signed up for a deal, too, but it was different than yours.

Perhaps you should be angry at yourself, not the long-term tenants. You made a bad deal. We didn't.

And get this, also: Perhaps it is you, and other market-rate paying tenants, that have raised the rents here. If you had not all wanted to rent here, the landlord would have been forced to LOWER rents to bring in tenants.

So perhaps it is us long-term RS residents who should be pissed off at YOU. Perhaps it is the people who support affordable housing who should be disappointed in you, in that you elected to pay market rate for what is, ultimately, an apartment in the projects.

Anonymous said...

>>Perhaps it is you, and other market-rate paying tenants, that have raised the rents here. If you had not all wanted to rent here, the landlord would have been forced to LOWER rents to bring in tenants.<<

Wait, what? This does not compute. It would only work if the current market-rate-paying tenants were the only people in the world who were willing to rent an apartment here at the rents that were offered. But of course, that's not the case.

STR, I agree that comments directed at older tenants are totally uncalled for and very objectionable. But I wish, by the same token, that people would not bash the market-rate-paying tenants.

My husband and I, and our two children, moved to Stuy Town in the summer of 2004. At that point, the market rate rent on our apartment was affordable to us. For our first renewal lease the next year (we initially signed a one-year lease), the rent went up $5.00. Yes, $5, the cost of a latte.

That first renewal lease was the last one that was reasonable. Since then, we have been hit by some huge increases. Our current rent is half again as high as when we moved in -- specifically, it is 52.77% higher today than it was in August 2004. I know a lot of time has passed since then, but that's still a huge increase, especially considering that I am retired and my husband, who works for the state, had no raises for five years.

I do not mean to complain. It is what it is, and as you pointed out, no one forced us to move here. (But no one, no matter when they moved in, was forced to move here, so I'm not sure what the point of that comment is.)

The point I do want to make is that the Roberts tenants are hardly cold and callous one-percenters, and do not deserve to be criticized as a group. We are all individuals, with varying situations, and we all deserve at least the benefit of the doubt and respect in discourse.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Point taken.

Anonymous said...

To 11:25. They just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Stuy Town reporter for your 1:20pm comment. Sometimes you just can't get through to some people's heads.

Anonymous said...

Thank you. And thanks for this blog -- it is a valuable resource for all Stuy Town and PCV tenants.

Anonymous said...

IF I EVER NEED A LAWYER, I'M HIRING THE STUY TOWN REPORTER.
EXCELLENT RESPONSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

1:59 agree we should not let these MCI negotiations pit long term RS against MR. It should have never been negotiated as such and we tenants are smarter than to fall in a trap dictated by negotiations with biased results. We tenants are all in it together to protect and save all our homes. And 1:59 you may want to go to DHCR and get a rent history going back to at least 2000 or you can go back as far as 1984 -so you can see the rent increases and make certain your home was properly deregulated with no overcharges along the way. It only takes a few minutes to get the rent history they print out while you wait. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

If all the MR tenants went to DHCR and got their apartments' rent history, CW would be up shit creek without a paddle. Please do it, folks!

As for those MCIs, they are totally unwarranted and downright felonious. Those stinking intercoms haven't worked right since they were installed. We are supposed to be able to call Security from them. I had some asshole try to follow me in one day and he clearly did not live here or even know which apartment he was going to. I tried to call Security from the intercom in the lobby. Couldn't get through at all. The fucking camera didn't work either.
In my apartment, I am NEVER able to hear my visitors, even when I can see them on the screen. They can't hear me either. I think the thing has worked maybe five times since I've had it. A lot of the times when it blasts at me it is because some drunken idiot is calling the wrong apartment or somebody without a key card just wants to be let in. For this I usually have to run from the back to the front of my apartment. At this point, I am tempted to rip the thing off the wall because my visitors all call me from their cell phones now when they arrive at the building. They can always get in easily enough because there's so much traffic and nobody cares who follows them in.
The TA should have taken up the matter of the MCIs being totally unjustified and a scam on the part of the landlord. I don't know whey are such a bunch of limp dicks.

Anonymous said...

"...you may want to go to DHCR and get a rent history going back to at least 2000 or you can go back as far as 1984 -so you can see the rent increases and make certain your home was properly deregulated with no overcharges along the way. It only takes a few minutes to get the rent history they print out while you wait."

If every MR tenant did that, Andy Mac would regress to his toddler days: he'd burst into tears and shit his pants.

Anonymous said...

Wrong again. Apparently everyone "doesn't know it" judging by the responses to the settlement on the TA's FB page. Comments on it there were overwhelmingly positive.

I call BS on this statement. Of course the responses on the TA page were overwhelmingly positive, the TA wouldn't allow it to be any other way. Don't pretend they don't censor their site. They go so far as to remove dissenters from the sight, so pure BS!

Anonymous said...

Apparently my point by point response to your comment on April 25, 2014 at 1:04 PM was put up and then taken down by you. How do I know? Because the last sentence of my gone-missing response is quoted by April 25, 2014 at 4:58 PM.

Which is only funny, April 25, 2014 at 4:58 PM, because apparently dissenters get removed here.

I was polite in my response, so I don't know why you pulled it. Doubtfully this will go up either, but let's see how transparent you really are.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Guess what? You erred again, and you current message went up!

The other one was around just for the few seconds so I could fully read it, and then it disappeared because you promoted that disingenuous 28% percent idea again. And I promised to not let pass any post that promotes the current settlement as having anything to do with that earlier 23%. Go to the TA Facebook and gloat about how tenants won not just a 5% reduction of MCIs but 28% with the recent Order and Determination from the DHCR that everyone received. Perhaps someone will believe you.

Anonymous said...

STR @ April 25, 2014 at 9:43 PM

No my post did not "disappear." You removed it. Because you disagreed with me. Just like I said, dissenters get removed on this blog.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>No my post did not "disappear." You removed it. Because you disagreed with me.<<

I'm beginning to think you are not reading my comments with any care or just are not grasping them.

1) "...it disappeared because" means, that I made it disappear. How else would it disappear?

2) And, no, it didn't disappear because you disagreed with me. It disappeared because you started in again with the 28% BS. I already make a public notation that I would not pass any post that promotes the recent settlement as a win for tenants because there's a 28% reduction on the MCIs.

Anonymous said...

Our 5% MCI "credit": $2.77!

Anonymous said...

THE 5% DECREASE IS WITHOUT A DOUBT, AN INSULT!!!!! AND THEY KNOW IT!!!!! AND, IT MAKES NO SENSE WHATSOVER!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Re: 3:59 pm.

I love you STR. I'm lol at the post and poster!

Anonymous said...

STR, according to a post on the TA fb by Peter Stuyvesant, the TA WAS responsible for the 23% reduction. Apparently, the TA objected right from the get-go to the MCIs.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

I'm aware of the 23% reduction. That was already a done deal when we received the MCIs in the late fall. That 23% was not up for discussion at the November Town Hall and the new challenge that the TA was going to pursue. That new challenge was dropped in favor of an elimination of the retroactive charges and the %5 MCI reduction for long-term tenants.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

And the TA always objects to MCIs on behalf of tenants right away. What happened in this new case was that the DHCR seemed to ignore specific challenges to the 2009 MCIs.

Anonymous said...

STR, according to a post on the TA fb by Peter Stuyvesant, the TA WAS responsible for the 23% reduction. Apparently, the TA objected right from the get-go to the MCIs

When reading the original paperwork regarding these MCI's it says 2 PARS were filed, no where does it mention the TA. How do we know it was the TA that got that 23% reduction? Also, doesn't the DHCR as a matter of course go over costs claimed on MCI's and take out stuff that doesn't apply? I think one thing they removed was taxes paid. It would not come as a surprise that the TA would try to take credit for stuff they had nothing to do with.

Anonymous said...

12:38 PM Where were you? I was one of a number of tenants who filed objections. That effort was organized by the TA and their attorneys who also filed objections.

Anonymous said...

I tried to file a PAR originally but the DHCR directed me to wait because of the TA. I wish I had not listened.