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Management has two priorities: 1) Making sure money is made, hence upgrading and filling up apartments is their goal. "Amenities" are important in selling the place, though few residents use them. 2) If someone needs medical attention, Public Safety will be there, if alerted.

Quality of life issues are not that important, however. They tend to be ignored, despite "the rules." So you will see a lot that isn't taken care of properly, and complaints will be met with a creative excuse and a smile.

"Peace and quiet" must be a cruel joke, though this property is sold that way. There can be no peace and quiet as ALL apartments must be upgraded, which includes the installation of an AC unit below the window. Aside from the continual construction about the neighborhood, there is a new and noisy subway extension being built along East 14 st and the shut down of the L line. "Choosing" to live in NYC, now the newest mantra, is a fabrication when the talk is of ST and PCV, which was traditionally quiet, with no construction noise.

Though money was always important, it is now more important than ever. Money rules many things, as you will find.

At this point, 30 years into living here and seeing many things, I can state that Management and their reps are BS-ing us. I can't say that loudly enough: We are being BS-ed. I don't see any genuine change. Sorry.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Open Letter To Dan and Susan from a Very Dissappointed Tenant

The TA Facebook contains a powerful open letter to our councilman Dan Garodnick and TA president Susan Steinberg from a tenant, Michael Feld. While I think tenant ownership of the property had serious concerns for the tenants who were not going to purchase their apartments, I think the letter speaks authoritatively and knowledgeably about matters we should all be aware of, and showcases that not all tenants are glowing about the deal made with Blackstone, which is the spin now from Blackstone and Garodnick. On behalf of this tenant, I thank you, Mr. Feld, for speaking out.

And folks, don't forget that we will all have an opportunity (hopefully!) of speaking out at the forthcoming meeting with Blackstone and tenants this Saturday at Baruch College at 1pm. I will have more information about this in a forthcoming blog post.

Here is the letter I am sending to Dan Garodnick and Susan Steinberg:

An Open Letter to Dan Garodnick and Susan Steinberg


Dear Ms. Steinberg and Mr. Garodnick:

It was with extreme disappointment that I read the other day that Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village were being sold yet again to another corporate developer/landlord. There were echoes of Fall 2006 in recent weeks, as we watched flocks of “suits” walking around the complex sizing the place up.

Compounding this and making this beyond even any comprehension is that you both had the unmitigated nerve to get up with Mayor De Blasio and other officials in a hastily convened “press conference” to declare “victory” for tenants with this sale because you somehow got commitment from the corporate bloodsuckers at Blackstone not to destroy the complex any more than it already has been… for another twenty years. My mouth was literally hanging open watching you smiling and saying how great this is for tenants and our community. While you were smiling, I was getting sick to my stomach watching and listening to you. Mr. Garodnick, you said this deal has the support of the tenants. Perhaps my memory is failing me, but I don’t remember being asked for my opinion about any such deal and neither do any of my neighbors and friends who live here.

Let’s be perfectly clear: This is not by any means great for tenants or our community. It does not accomplish what you both were entrusted to and said you were going to accomplish. Stable? Affordable? This speech was an unbelievable whitewash job. We didn’t “preserve 5,000 apartments” from vacancy decontrol. We have LOST more than 6,000 in a complex of more than 11,000. To me, and others that I have spoken with, this is nothing short of unmitigated disaster. What you’re calling “victory” and “success” is like telling the parents of a child on life support that you’re going to be able to keep them alive for another twenty years, still on life support, with no quality of life and no guarantee of what’s going to happen in the future. Awesome, go ahead and pat yourselves on the back a little bit more.

The only way you could even possibly declare success or victory in this case is if the complex is bought and owned by the tenants, period. Anything short of that is a bitter pill that we are forced to swallow. I went to meeting after meeting where the TA claimed to have financiers and lawyers “lining up” to both finance this deal and handle the legal aspects of a sale to the tenants. “White shoe” law firms and financiers. Yes, those were the exact words used. What happened to them? Did they just evaporate? Didn’t we tenants have some right to know that the effort to convert to coops or condos was suspended? Are you really saying we couldn't come up with a competing bid? Are you saying the buying power of 30,000 people is not enough to make this happen? Yes, the complex is overvalued with this purchase, for now. In 20 years, it no longer will be, and tenants would have some serious equity.

In 2006, you had crews of people running around getting residents to sign petitions saying they would be in favor of a purchase of the complex by tenants so we could have all our ducks in a row. Chuck Schumer and others were “putting pressure” on CW Capital, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to “do the right thing” and let a community of 30,000 people determine their own destiny and have a say over the shape of their own apartments. There were a myriad of protests and rallies and meetings. Over and over, for the last nine years there has been one version or another of this, and to what end? So another corporate real estate monolith can come in here and preserve the status quo and you are somehow declaring success? How does this address the current issues we have here? How is this a “win” for anyone but these corporate bloodsuckers?

The apartment next to mine has had at least six tenants in the last four years. NYU students still come and go in droves every semester, treat apartments and common areas like trash bins and clutter up sidewalks with refuse. I used to know my neighbors, but not anymore. Half of them are gone with apartments churning multiple times per year. How is this deal going to fix that problem?

CW Capital (i.e., Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) has continued their process of “tarting up” vacated apartments up and whoring them out to the highest bidders, all at the expense of the quality of life of the residents while renovations are conducted. These are residents who have been here, many for decades, who only get to watch as their community deteriorates into a transient mess. How does this deal fix that problem? The answer is, it does not. Oh, but we have Oval Study, nice landscaping and a farmers market. Hurray!

Again, the only version of a sale that could be called “success” or a “victory for tenants” is one that means that we can have the option to buy our own apartments and that we own our own complex, not these corporate idiots coming in here padding their own wallets and those of their investors.You all have failed us. You failed in what you were entrusted to do and what you said you were going to do. No one wants these people coming in here. No one but you, and unfortunately, you were unwilling or unable to do what was necessary to prevent it and provide the tenants of this complex with a satisfactory outcome. And you know what? Perhaps you couldn’t get the financing to happen for whatever reason (which I find hard to believe). But don’t get up there with huge smiles on your faces and tell us this is a “win” for us. It’s not. It's nothing but a band-aid on a gaping wound. This is an abject, unmitigated travesty.

Sincerely,

Michael Feld

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope they both read this.

Anonymous said...

In principle maybe, but in practice the Marsh/Steinberg/Dan ownership plan was not the right ownership plan for a lot of reasons. Their plan had gross inequality practices, like when they negotiated the MCI charges and had the market rate to-be-owners pay less then the rent stabilized renters - because as they said the market rate are paying so much in rent already.

That kind of inequality Dan, Marsh, Steinberg, and their lawyers did in 2014 would have continued if their ownership plan was put in place; putting a heavier burden of the MCI cost onto the rent stabilized renters and lesser amount on the owners, even though the major capital improvements are equally used by all.

Ownership maybe the best plan for tenants, but not the plan they made with their "white shoe" REBNY pals.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! Great letter. Well said & well written on every point.

Anonymous said...

When people blame the TA (and they are right to) please don't leave Al Doyle out of the equation. He is as (if not more) culpable than Steinberg, Marsh, Salacan, et al. This just proves that the only competent person on the TA board ever was Jo Ann Polise. Where is she now???

Anonymous said...

Agree with 2:01 PM. TA and Garodnick have never floated a competent plan.

Anonymous said...

I don't think that we need to question whether or not Garodnick and the TA are in bed with big Real Estate anymore...

I could not agree with Mr. Feld anymore! A great letter that needs to get sent to all of the major newspapers.

Anonymous said...

yeah, dan is a putz. Now more than ever. tsk tsk dan.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more with this letter. As a Roberts tenant paying a preferential rent of 5K, I can tell you that I am packing my bags. I had hoped for a condo conversion and the right thing to do would have been to let us all know that it was not in the cards. I would imagine others like me will also look to find other places to live, and the turnover will increase. The new tenants will likely be NYU students, not a nice family like ours.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>The new tenants will likely be NYU students, not a nice family like ours.<<

I fear you are right. Dan and the TA have to explain how this will NOT be the case under this deal.

Anonymous said...

Best PART EVER: Current MR tenants can't even apply for the Lottery in this situation. It is for NEW tenants. OMHell. You have to knee slap laugh at how much this sucks for most of us. But let's all call it a 'great ' great' deal. FOR WHOM EXACTLY? Those who did not need it. lmaoooooo keep em coming.

Anonymous said...

Has the open letter been removed from the TA's FB page? I can't find it posted.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

It's there last I checked. But, as per lengthy Facebook comments, the beginning is only shown with the rest mandated a click to read more.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Doyle and Sanders too.

Anonymous said...

October 21, 2015 at 2:17 PM Or you don't pack your bags and all the tenants realize once and for all that the TA was never on our side, neither the MR or the RS. The TA was on the REBNY Speyer Cuomo Garodnick Wall Street side where they (REBNY and Wall Street) benefit the most and tenants benefit the least while paying the most.

If MR and RS came together, file a lawsuit on the hundreds of frauds that jacked up our rents illegally and told RE / WS to go F itself, the tenants are taking the property and community back.

That is if the RS can forgive the MR for their integral part in the scheme to evict the RS.

Anonymous said...

I can't find it on the TA page also. Looks like they are afraid of the truth being out there. Freedom of speech doesn't seem to apply on the TA FB page!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

It's there. Way down on a comment from AJ Miller that starts: "Recived this via email today from Councilman Dan Garodnick:"

Stuy Town Reporter said...

But again, it's kinda disappeared in all the activity. That's why it's good to have it front and center here. :-)

Anonymous said...

I wholeheartedly agree with a Class Action lawsuit. Is it possible? MR and RS and all of us who have been here and are not fly over students. This is an outrage and you know they are all laughing right to the bank.

Anonymous said...

Also, Steven Newmark is on the TA board. He also works closely in the de Blasio administration as the health policy advisor. Where has he been on all of this?

Anonymous said...

STR is correct, it's still there, it's his (Feld's) last reply (4th out of 4)on the thread. Funny, I got nadda using the FB page search engine for his name.

Anonymous said...

What does that Steinberg woman get for all her chicanery? Is she on the payroll of any of the politicians and/or RE vultures? She is one piece of work and how did she get the job? Who appoints these TA honchos? I don't remember ever seeing a choice of people to vote for in their sham "elections"?

Anonymous said...

"We didn’t “preserve 5,000 apartments” from vacancy decontrol"

This is a major mis-understanding on your part. The $3,205.00 cap does preserve 5,000 apartments from decontrol. For 20 years they cannot raise the rent past $3,205. Even when someone vacates they cannot rent that apartment for whatever market is at that time, could be $5K-$7K, who knows. This is a victory.

"We have LOST more than 6,000 in a complex of more than 11,000"

Are you referring to the Roberts/market rent units? Those are already lost.

If you are referring to the RS units nothing has changed except you now get a cap of $3,205, which is a good thing.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>The $3,205.00 cap does preserve 5,000 apartments from decontrol. For 20 years they cannot raise the rent past $3,205. Even when someone vacates they cannot rent that apartment for whatever market is at that time, could be $5K-$7K, who knows. This is a victory.<<

We are now talking about the older RS apartments? I have one. It's a two-bedroom. I pay about $2K for it. If I remain in this apartment for 20 years will my rent reach $3,205? I'm terrible at math, so I'm not going to do the math, and, anyway, my rent would be determined by allowable yearly rent increases.

Now, if I move or die, then the rent can only go up to $3,205. But if I move or die soon (one never knows!), then my $2K apartment will probably go up fast to $3,205, as I'm sure it will be immediately renovated. In that case the new rent will be a victory for Blackstone.

I think there are many variables one has to consider before one judges this cap a victory.

I bet that Blackstone has done the math and the projections and they have the numbers (which we don't), and feel they can make such an offer, particularly as they will be able to raise the rents of MR tenants as much as they like to what is a room's base rent.

This company is not about losing money.

Anonymous said...

Huh? what the hell then why doesn't the family of 3 or 4 who are paying $5k or 4k get it. Why and how is it fair to give that new person a lower rent than 60% of us here have ? living here. living here. paying through the nose.

Anonymous said...

Much of the blame also needs to go to Mayor DeBlasio and Alicia Glen. They were against the condo conversion from the beginning --- I'm glad for the 5,000 units, but the deal was done at the expense of 6,000 others. And for 20 years. He'll be long gone before he sees the idiocy of his "victory" here. This place was used as a political pawn -- he gets his sound bite in the news, doesn't have to deal with the long term effects, and the MAJORITY of tenants are left hanging out to dry. What a moron we have for a Mayor.

Atomic Man said...

Know what would be poetic justice?

Seeing Blackstone price Danny G. out of his market rate PCV apartment. Maybe he could move to one of the luxury towers BdB wants to put up in those "underused" NYCHA playgrounds!

Anonymous said...

Bravo!

Anonymous said...

"We are now talking about the older RS apartments? I have one. It's a two-bedroom. I pay about $2K for it. If I remain in this apartment for 20 years will my rent reach $3,205? I'm terrible at math, so I'm not going to do the math, and, anyway, my rent would be determined by allowable yearly rent increases."

If this were a deal without the cap and a Tishman type plan was in place which most RE investors would do, (ie: get tenants out to decontrol and charge $5k) they would no doubt get that $2K up as much as possible quicker than 20 years to pressure you to leave. The cap takes that incentive away.

If you are at 2K now with 3% annual increases, (with no MCIs) in year 17 you would cross $3,205 barrier. Add MCIs to that you would be over the cap way quicker than year 17.

"Now, if I move or die, then the rent can only go up to $3,205. But if I move or die soon (one never knows!), then my $2K apartment will probably go up fast to $3,205, as I'm sure it will be immediately renovated. In that case the new rent will be a victory for Blackstone."

A victory for Blackstone would have been you vacating the unit without the cap, then they would increase past the decontrol level and charge the $5K or whatever market is, (maybe more). The deal prevents this.

This is a good deal for rent stab tenants, insures a limit of shady manouvers by Blackstone and a nothing deal for MR/Roberts tenants but those units are already market rate and there is no going back.

I agree Blackstone generally does not lose $$$$ but with this place there is a first for everything.

Anonymous said...

I think the rent after the original RS tenants move may be dynamic. From what I read, the "cap" was derived as percentage of the income limit. But I thought the max rent would be a percentage of the tenant's income. Furthermore, I might suspect that the income cap might be reset periodically. It was pitched as 165% of median income - this might be revised upwards over the 20 years, which would also make the theoretical maximum rent go up. I don't think there is a cap for the original RS tenants, beyond what the RGB increases would go - I do think it eliminates high-income decontrol though.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>If you are at 2K now with 3% annual increases<<

The last one was at 1%, but I'm assuming that gift won't be around when de Blasio is not elected next time.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>This is a good deal for rent stab tenants, insures a limit of shady manouvers by Blackstone and a nothing deal for MR/Roberts tenants but those units are already market rate and there is no going back.<<

Why this supposed, exclusive gift to RS tenants? I still think that Blackstone's analysis went deeper and with far more expertise based on the actual figures they have for this complex, including the age of the people who hold the older RS apartments and their expected lifespan. That said, is it fair for our other group of tenants to have their rents go up potentially by thousands?


Anonymous said...

Great letter from Mr.Feld. This deal is a joke. We still have half of the apartments market rate which means at least 50& dorm dump. I am sick of reading these glowing articles in which the Mayor and Councilman Garodnick are praising the deal as a victory for the middle class. What a travesty! I for one will probably not be renewing my membership in the TA next year. Let's see Blackstone start enforcing rules, screening tenants and cleaning up this place. I do not think that is going to happen.

Anonymous said...

"That said, is it fair for our other group of tenants to have their rents go up potentially by thousands?"

It's really not. And it will probably happen anyway. If you thought this was a transient community before!
I don't understand the backlash against market rate tenants - as if they're somehow culpable in any of this. A majority of them are responsible tenants and families. They just happen to have not lived here for as long as others. At one point, everyone here was a new tenant. A lot of these MRs are good people/good families/good members of the community just like anyone else. They shouldn't be demonized, not lumped in with the groups that want to be transient, like NYU students, etc.
We should be supporting all tenants here.

Anonymous said...

9:25 pm, you are absolutely right. Many of my neighbors have been market rate tenants and they were lovely families and the most desirable neighbors anyone good wish for. Sadly, they were driven out by unconscionable rent increases. Students moved into their vacated units and are a royal pain!

Anonymous said...

Apparently many of the readers feel that they are entitled to a protected, low rent for life, regardless of how much they earn. That is not an American idea, that is a Cuban one. You folks need a reality check about the world that the rest of us live in (excluding Santa Monica and a few other places.)

Gina said...

TA should resign.

Anonymous said...

Wish we could agree with 9:25 but if you heard how the market rate in our building talk about the rent stabilized, your stomach would crawl. The things the market rate do to the rent stabilized tenants in our building is disgusting. Its hard not to feel sorry for the kids growing up in an environment with parents who have pure hatred towards others that they do things that are worse than I have seen before in this community in all our time here and the market rate laugh about how mean they are when they gang up on the rent stabilized neighbors. I can't believe my ears sometimes.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Wish we could agree with 9:25 but if you heard how the market rate in our building talk about the rent stabilized, your stomach would crawl. The things the market rate do to the rent stabilized tenants in our building is disgusting. Its hard not to feel sorry for the kids growing up in an environment with parents who have pure hatred towards others that they do things that are worse than I have seen before in this community in all our time here and the market rate laugh about how mean they are when they gang up on the rent stabilized neighbors. I can't believe my ears sometimes.<<

Be specific please. And even if you can offer examples that does NOT help our situation. If we leap into being divisive among each other, we lose big time. We are all under the same thumb of big real estate and their bought politicians. We should all try to help each other in this fight, even if it seems a losing battle. Don't give up, don't be negative!

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Apparently many of the readers feel that they are entitled to a protected, low rent for life, regardless of how much they earn.<<

"Many of the readers"??? Seriously? Look, I'm an older RS tenant. A lot of us true RS tenants are struggling financially. I don't think there are any millionaires living in this complex. The millionaires are the ones who are ruling it.

Michael Feld said...

Hi there,

Michael Feld, author of the posted letter here. Thanks for posting it, and I'm glad it resonated with some of you. The TA has indeed left it up there on Facebook. I also sent it to Dan Garodnick on his website.

I hope you'll all go to the meeting on Saturday and make your voices heard. I have a retail store, so I'm trying to figure out if I can make it (I'm actually considering closing my store for the day just so I can go), but I think it's important that people go and speak up so this preposterous kumbaya whitewash job doesn't go unacknowledged. I'm still trying to hold my food down, quite frankly.

Thanks again.

-Michael

Anonymous said...

RE: The Market Rate vs. Long Time RS tenants.

Let us not lose sight of the simple fact that those long time RS tenants (in most cases) had their names on the Met Life wait list for a decade, versus people who willingly signed market rate leases for renovated apartments. There shouldn't be a comparison. I'm sorry for those who didn't have the opportunity to wait 10 years for an apartment, but instead bought their way into the complex... plain and simple.

Stuy Town Reporter said...

>>Michael Feld, author of the posted letter here. Thanks for posting it, and I'm glad it resonated with some of you. The TA has indeed left it up there on Facebook. I also sent it to Dan Garodnick on his website.<<

And thank YOU for writing it!

Anonymous said...

I really like that more and more in this community are speaking up.
Thank you Michael Feld for writing your letter.
Thank you Vickie for well said comments on Town & Village.

Anonymous said...

8:43 I agree 99%

But the "in most cases" seems a slam to those who didn't have to wait ten years, eg firefighters, NYPD, and employees of MetLife. We may not have made the sacrifice of a ten year wait, but our sacrifices were made nonetheless in other ways, earning the reward of once was a coveted Peter Cooper Village apartment.

Your slight aside, I agree with the point that the market rate willingly signed up for a rent amount and a business plan that relied on evicting rent stabilized neighbors.

A little self reflection might serve to benefit us all as we try to come together in a united tenant base.