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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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!
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.
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