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Friday, May 2, 2014

It's HERE! An audio of the November 2 Town Hall Meeting!

A tenant has kindly passed on his own recording of the meeting. Thank you very much!

https://soundcloud.com/dave10009/stpcv-tenants-association-meeting-2013-11-02

UPDATE:

The "money-shot" is around the 19:00 mark. Tim Collins, TA counsel:

"The good news is that I'm fairly confident--I can never make any guarantees--but I'm quite confident that every single one of those MCI orders is going to be rescinded."

My comment:

Wow. Wow. Just wow.

UPDATE 5/16/14:

After loud applause, Mr. Collins continued:

"But before you get your hopes up too much, it'll only be temporary, and we'll be back to square one." 

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here's another quote (at about 32:30):

Collins : "the offer to waive retroactive portions really isn't that great a benefit because the retroactive portion does phase out. So it's kind of a , ya know, a Trojan Horse".

At about 33:00 Collins sums up why our case for leverage is favorable.He says "a lot of the work was shoddy, a lot of it was redundant, a lot of it, I think, was over inflated in terms of cost... There was a failure to allocate to commercial premises...How much I don't really know?"

Well I know what is was worth to me; $2.48 per month. That's the value of the 5% saving to me. And, oh, by the way... as a Roberts unit, my 5% savings is capped at the term left within the J-51. As no one yet has stated, my apartment is only protected by RS law until the sunset of the J-51 period.Then it is returned to free market status. The total savings, if I stay through June 2020 (end of J-51) is $181...

Dave Hensley said...

You have selective hearing. It's almost certainly true that the Request for Reconsideration that he filed, had it not been preempted by the recent agreement between the TA and CW, would have (temporarily) rescinded the MCIs until his objections could be reviewed. Here's the full quote that you selectively edited out of context:

"The bad news, as I mentioned, is that we have all these MCI orders to deal with. The good news is, I am fairly confident -- I can never make any guarantees -- but I am quite confident that every single one of those MCI orders is going to be rescinded. (Applause) But before you get your hopes up too much, it'll only be temporary, and we'll be back to square one."

Later on he talks about what he thinks will happen after this. At no point did he or anyone else suggest that it was likely that the MCIs would be rescinded forever, as you falsely suggest. Listen to the audio from about 27:45 to 29:30 for further clarification.

I enabled downloads so you should be able to save the audio file now.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

He said what he said. I'm too stunned and disappointed to answer "the spin" now.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the case may be, These MCI's significantly increased my rent and will do so into perpetuity. Now let me get this straight, it is the belief of most that this settlement was reached to clear the way for a sale to Brookfield? Certainly if this is the case Then the TA must concede that it did not act in the interests of the real R/S tenants. How are people such as myself, who would never buy into this housing project, helped by this agreement long term. I certainly appreciate the waiving of the retroactive portion, but wouldn't long term R/S people have been better served had these MCI'S been challenged? It seems to me that this is a clear cut example of the types of things we would have to look forward to if a conversion ever took place. Clearly there are conflicts of interest here.

Anonymous said...

STR - Don't give up. It's worth the fight. and we have nothing to lose.

Ita, this sucks, but don't let them win. If we all , and I mean we all organize, we can do this.

WHERE IS EVERYONE? Are we all afraid or just too busy?

Anonymous said...

Hmm. Heavy on the Spin, but light on the Delivery. Typical fucking lawyer. No wonder so many politicians are lawyers. They know that when you can't wow them with brilliance, you can blind them with bullshit.

Anonymous said...

8:52 AM: Are you the same harpie who is always telling us to organize, get out there, do things for ourselves and not wait for other people?

Just what do you have in mind? Do you have any concrete, feasible ideas. Can you identify yourself so that we can all rally round you or do you just like to come to this blog to scold and preach and blow off some hot air?

Anonymous said...

If these clowns can't even make an mp3 from and audio recording, then what the hell are we even paying dues for?

Anonymous said...

STR

What's "wow, just wow" about the tape? Collins clearly stated that he was confident that the MCI orders would be rescinded...temporarily. And they were rescinded, temporarily, just like he predicted, and while they were rescinded, lawyers for both sides went into negotiations. C'mon STR, WTF?

Anonymous said...

2:19 PM

No, that would be me. I ragged on readers here for not showing up to the mid-lease rent increase protests. And "harpies" are mythic beautiful winged females. I'm a guy.

Anonymous said...

Collins clearly said rescission of MCIs would be temporary. The settlement in this case was a better result that any previous challenge to any MCI and I have lived here for over 30 years . I agree with the sentiment that too many on the TA board are overly concerned with buying this place but to suggest that anyone could have achieved a better result for tenants on these MCIs is belied by decades of our experience with the DHCR's review of MCIs

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>And they were rescinded, temporarily, just like he predicted, and while they were rescinded, lawyers for both sides went into negotiations. C'mon STR, WTF?<<

They were never rescinded temporarily. Notice of them came at the tail end of October. They were a surprise for residents and CW. CW started charging tenants for these MCIs in January. There was no "rescinding".

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The very earliest CW could have charged tenants would have been in December, if they really worked fast and overtime to figure out the MCI charges of all residents in each individual apartment. This during the holiday season. In January all tenants received their new MCI bills. These were never rescinded.

Anonymous said...

Thank you STR for pursuing the truth.
Thank you to the tenant who provided the recording.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

BTW, I hope this is not going to turn into a Clinton-esque "it depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"....

"It depends on what the meaning of the word 'rescind' is...."

Anonymous said...

It's time to get organized! Postcards! Get your postcards!

Anonymous said...

I'm uneasy about the reference that the TA was seeking to settle things in order to clear the way for a sale to Brookfield. Does anyone know of any reason to think this? Bear in mind...there is supposed to be an open auction. Any developer might win. So if the sale is played according to Hoyle, the TA would no such motivation. On the other hand, one has to wonder why CW had the confidence to spend extensive amounts of money to fix the place up. Would anyone spend that kind of money without at least some assurances from some bidders that their bids will be sufficiently high to warrant all the spending.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth would we need postcards to organize?
wtf.

Anonymous said...

STR

After Collins filed the objections, the DHCR did do a recall/temporary rescind (you say tomato, I say tomato) of its decision in order to review it. That is just as Collins predicted at the meeting. You're the one trying to play gotcha word games. And while the orders were temporarily rescinded/DHCR was reviewing its decision (call it whichever you will), MCIs negotiations were entered into between CW and TA. Because the DHCR went into review process, I'm not sure we would even have been at the PAR stage at that point even if negotiations hadn't happened. Nevertheless, the DHCR inexplicably ordered us to begin paying the MCI increases anyway. NOTE: when The first thing negotiated was that we wouldn't have to pay the Dec MCI increase. That's why we received the increases in January, as DHCR ordered.

Again, WTF is the problem here?

Stuy Town Reporter said...

LOL.

Seriously? So there was a "rescind", but the "rescind" was "rescinded" by CW?

Anonymous said...

Here is what makes sense to me about the MCIs. Maybe someone can explain the rest.
For people who starting renting after the MCIs went in completely, it seems to me that the MCI charges could have been already incorporated as a part of their rent so charging them for MCIs would in effect be like charging them twice. So I can see them getting off scot-free. What I don't get is why everyone else wouldn't pay the same rate, get the same reduction. Can someone explain or come up with some justification for this?

Anonymous said...

If we don't own this place, it will end up owning us! It's time to stop agonizing and start organizing!

Anonymous said...

STR.

Understanding nuance is pretty essential in life but esp law.

So here's this From the TA Website back in October 2013. Emphasis placed is mine:

ST Video Intercom MCI Update: DHCR’s Order Contains Reversible Error

The Tenants Association is challenging the enforceability of the DHCR Notice that increases monthly rents by $12 to $15 a month for the video intercom installation. The orders were received by residents of a number of Stuy Town buildings the week of October 7th. According to the TA’s attorney, Tim Collins, DHCR has made what is called a “reversible error,” a legal term indicating that the ruling is incorrect and requires further action by the agency.

None of the orders acknowledges or gives consideration to Mr. Collins’ general and specific objections to the application, which were served on the DHCR on May 14, 2012.

Our attorney has advised that this type of error is not unheard of and DHCR should promptly *rescind* the orders and correct its error by considering our objections and giving notice to the owner’s attorney. We will file “Requests for Reconsideration” due to “irregularity in a vital matter” as well as Petitions for Administrative Review in the next few weeks.

As a consequence, there is no need for tenants to file separate individual PARs at this time. However they should retain any document received regarding this (or any other) MCI. We will provide further updates as our efforts to stop the Video Intercom rent hike continues.

Inasmuch as CW’s own counsel was copied with the timely 2012 submission of our objections, the Tenants Association asks that they recognize DHCR’s error and refrain from implementing the Rent Increase Order in the December 2013 rent bills.”

The Tenants Association will continue to scrutinize every MCI Application for accuracy and fairness. If you have not done so already, please send us your docket number for this Rent Increase Order by completing the form here.

http://www.stpcvta.org/ta/post/intercom-mci-update-hcrs-order-contains-reversible-error

Me again. So, the TA lawyers claimed the orders issued by the DHCR were "irregular" because they ignored our objections and that "those orders" should be rescinded so that the owner's original application could be "reconsidered" by the agency bearing our objections in mind. Not rescinding the MCIs completely and forever. The DHCR did rescind and reconsider those initial orders. That is when the 23% increase in the MCI increase happened. And we never got to the PAR stage because of the negotiations.

If you're still not getting this, you should probably take it up with someone at the MCI meeting and chalk this post up to...what exactly I don't know.

Anonymous said...

10:31 No one is stupid enough to buy that. Was that the best carefully crafted spin you all put together? How arrogant. And condescending.

Tommyboyardee said...

How can any TA representative take ownership of inane double-speak statements. It's their defensive attitude that permeates distrust amongst the tenants.

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think it would be irresponsible to NOT have the financial dealings investigated for fraud from the rent roll to the mci "negotiations" to the renovation work and oval construction and all the construction throughout the property.

Giovanni said...

STR is doing a great service by providing tenants with the actual information they need to keep fighting this battle, yet the tenants once again are like a monkey with a smartphone, and have no idea what to do with it.

It's not that hard, unify and resist, keep focussing on the things that you have in common and stop being so nit picky and divisive.

The students and newbies that everyone hate so much could be allies, since the are paying more than anyone else and likey don't want to have to pay any more excessive increases in the future either. With the hundreds of millions in rent being paid by tenants every year, surely a legal/political fund in the millions would not be too hard to raise for the right cause.

Every day wasted is one day closer to the bulldozers coming, if not the rent increase that pushes more people out.

Anonymous said...

12:25 probably right. I'd rather have tenants for my landlord than these effing wholes who are sucking us dry and hating every one of us.

Anonymous said...

Don't wait for a big swell of organization. Take action individually! The individual actions will collectively create the organized swell!

Anonymous said...

The students have no intention of setting down roots so I wouldn't bet on that. These are people who change roommates like the rest of us change underwear.

Anonymous said...

I wish the TA was functional instead of frustrating. They're always missing deadlines and are a constant point of friction inside that golden circle. We need to get organized! We need to own this property! Get those postcards!!! Let's go!

Anonymous said...



Define take action individually.

Anonymous said...

@May 4, 2014 at 3:00 PM

There is no *you all*. There is just me. Just a regular long time tenant. Your suggestion that someone who dares to disagree with the STR must be a member of the TA or whatever is what's arrogant and condescending.

The TA, Dan G, and now Tim Collins have been demonized by some on this site. I suspect the attitude you've taken in that comment is not so much about your being so smart, it's a refusal to believe the truth because the truth doesn't follow the script you like.

Please take a look at the comment posted at May 4, 2014 at 2:30 PM. You too Tommyboyardee.

Anonymous said...

May 5, 2014 at 6:14 AM

I agree wholeheartedly.

But as a guy who saw the resident turnout for the mid lease rent increases protests first hand, I say best of luck with that.

That said, if you guys really want to do something about the dormatization of ST, I have a suggestion. We saw it for ourselves last summer. That's when they all come in. The kids. During the summer on weekends. It was *all* kids. What was done was effective. We stood quietly in front of that rental office with printed handouts telling about life here/our lousy landlords with quotes from the TA FB page, Yelp, etc. Some brokers talked to us and were pretty cool, one frustrated broker called me an asshole, so we did make an impression. But you'll need numbers -- if it's just a few of you they'll just think you're cranks. This would be a good place to get something organized.

Anonymous said...

No one went to the mid lease rent increase protest "show" because of how it was allowed as a term in the settlement agreement that undid the Roberts ruling tenant win.

Anonymous said...

"No one went to the mid lease rent increase protest "show" because of how it was allowed as a term in the settlement agreement that undid the Roberts ruling tenant win."

Damn right. After being fucked over by the greedy, inept and corrupt Roberts lawyers, why should we be surprised that our landlord, who is even more greedy, slimy and corrupt, shouldn't take advantage of the great big the opportunity the lousy law team offered them on a platter.

Anonymous said...

at 9:23 AM

Ha ha. Sure. Here's my take. People had other stuff to do on the weekends. The "thanks for doing this" comments from people got old fast. It's easy to be a keyboard kommando. It's another thing entirely to get outta the house and do something.

Anonymous said...

Both the Roberts "settlement" and the MCI "negotiation" had the same goal - to increase the rent roll. Both achieved their goal. They stole the righteous Roberts judgement from us.

Anonymous said...

Hello 1:06 - 9:23 here.

I happened to go to the protest for the mid lease increase. Yes, that means I left my house and did something. The protest was lame. The damage was done. I left.

Not sure that makes me a "keyboard kommando" but your name calling offends my religion. You shouldn't call anyone a kommando.

Anonymous said...

9:23 again. If I recall one of the TA guys was wearing rollerblades at the protest. No one was taking it seriously. It was a joke to them.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

The protest at the leasing office (front and back) disintegrated very quickly, as was expected by management. The major fault lies in the very people who were affected by the mid-lease rent increases, who did not show up, except for one or two. The plan was too rigid for such a small turnout and it should have been quickly modified to have the protests occur at irregular times that would come as a surprise to management.

Worse, was the support tenants gave to those yellow "community not a commodity" signs. I saw pathetically little of those signs in apartment windows. Tenants had a very easy way to express their displeasure of CWCapital, and for whatever reason chose not to do so.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

Given the apathy and inactivity of the tenant population here, it actually comes as a surprise to see solid turn-outs for Town Hall Meetings. But most of the crowd is comprised of the older tenant body of PCVST.

Anonymous said...

"Given the apathy and inactivity of the tenant population here, it actually comes as a surprise to see solid turn-outs for Town Hall Meetings. But most of the crowd is comprised of the older tenant body of PCVST."

Many long term tenants never show either. I know this because as a long termer here, I hardly recognize anyone at the meetings. Most are in denial as exemplified by a recent comment in the TA FB page, saying how great the landscaping is. The problem is the tenant is talking about the old landscaping that has survived (currently) the TS, Rose and now CWC/CR landscapers from hell. The transient tenants, many parental funded, don’t give a shit. They are the quarterly roommate changing, one year and I’m out tenant that management loves so well. Many of the new tenants that aren’t necessarily short term (and many long term tenants as well) actually like the cruise ship suburban hick crap that is endlessly promoted by management. Just go to the official PCVST FB page and see the "likes" for the rube junk that they promote there.

"Let's play "Food Scavenger Hunt: Oval Cafe Edition." First entry to email us an image of an Oval Cafe food or beverage item wins an exclusive PCVST Est. 1947 Hoodie with a cap! Picture must have Oval Cafe in the background.

Bonus: If it's an Oval Cafe burger (for Burger Month), we will throw in an extra surprise gift! Email picture to living@pcvst.com. Winner will be announced in the comments of this post, with further instructions on picking up prize. Good luck!"

Please kill me now.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone get the fact hat many of us long termers don't show up for TA sponsored stuff because we don't support the TA any longer? I used to be a volunteer and now I'd rather sue them than support them. They, along with feckless Dan are a major part of the problem, not a part of the solution!