November 10, 2011 09:00AM
William Koeppel and 350 East 52nd Street (building credit: PropertyShark)The latest lawsuit to emerge from the dust of the controversial J-51 tax rulings at Stuyvesant Town was filed by tenants of 350 East 52nd Street against landlord William Koeppel, Crain’s reported.
Tenants of the 132-unit building allege Koeppel “wrongly treated … plaintiffs and the putative class members as market-rent tenants” even after accepting J-51 tax benefits for building upgrades. The tenants are being represented by William Gribben, a partner at Himmelstein McConnell Gribben Donoghue & Joseph. The firm has about nine other J-51 cases.
Koeppel called the lawsuit “frivolous,” saying it is led by a tenant who is a member of SEIU 32 BJ, a union with which Koeppel recently opted out of a contract. Koeppel also said he sent notices informing tenants that they were owed back rents, but Gribben said that was just a reaction to the lawsuit.
Koeppel is famous for pleading guilty to soliciting donations for then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani in return for rent-controlled apartments in 1996, Crain’s noted. source
and, also in the news today . . .
New York, NY – November 10, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Tenants at Whitehouse Estates at 350 East 52nd Street in Manhattan will be joined by striking apartment building workers, elected officials and supporters today to announce the filing of a lawsuit that claims building owner William Koeppel has been illegally overcharging on rentsfor years.
According to the lawsuit, tenants at the 85-unit complex discovered that the building was covered by the J-51 law, which means the owner received certain tax advantages in return for pledging to rent stabilize a portion of the building. The tenants were never informed of this and were charged at market rate, the suit states. Tenants have also been protesting the deteriorating conditions at the complex by the landlord that include harassment and neglected maintenance. Koeppel has a history of mistreating tenants, including rent gouging. In the 1990s, he pled guilty to soliciting campaign contributions for Rudy Giuliani’s mayoral campaigns in exchange for rent-regulated leases.
WHAT: Tenants Announce Lawsuit Against Landlord
WHO: Whitehouse Estates Tenants
Whitehouse Estates Building Workers, who have been on strike since June 6
State Senator Liz Krueger
Council Member Jessica Lappin (represents the district)
Kyle Bragg, 32BJ Vice President
WHEN: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm
WHERE: Whitehouse Estates, 350 East 52nd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenues
With more than 120,000 members, including 70,000 in New York, 32BJ is the largest buildings services union in the country and the largest private-sector union in the state.