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[ scene: Holiday season in NYC :  The trees lining the streets are all wrapped tiny white lights, menorahs in the windows, each & every lobby sports a colorful Christmas tree and the streets are filled with people carrying shopping bags.]

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  .  .  .  Everywhere except for 350 East 52nd Street, that is.  All of the other buildings on the block and well, pretty much throughout the entire city of New York, are festively decorated for the holidays!  Enter 350 East 52nd Street lobby.  Not a menorah, a kinara, a tree, or even one tiny white light, inside or out.

[ run clip of I, Psychopath, a documentary featuring Sam Vaknin, self proclaimed narcissist who was outed as a psychopath in the documentary.

roll video clip:

“But… it takes one to truly know one. In this intriguing documentary, Sam Vaknin, a self-proclaimed psychopath, goes in search of a diagnosis. In a scientific first, he allows himself to undergo testing to find out if he was born without a conscience. He knows he’s narcissistic and cannot empathize with others. By his own admission, he’s pompous, grandiose, repulsive and contradictory, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable… but he believes, he’s not a bad person. What he is is indifferent…he couldn’t care less. Unless, of course, the topic is himself.”  see documentary. ]

Tenants gathered in lobby are discussing the 2009 article by Sam Vaknin. – Sam writes,  “Holiday blues are a common occurrence even among the mentally sound. In me they provoke a particularly virulent strain of pathological envy. I am jealous at others for having a family, or for being able to celebrate lavishly, or for being in the right, festive mood. My cognitive dissonances crumble. I keep telling myself: “Look at those inferior imitations of humans, slaves of their animated corpses, wasting their time, pretending to be happy”. Yet, deep inside, I know that I am the defective one. I realize that my inability to rejoice is a protracted and unusual punishment meted out to me by my very self. I am sad and enraged. I want to spoil it for those who can. I want them to share my misery, to reduce them to my level of emotional abstinence and absence. I hate humans because I am unable to be one.

I hate holidays and birthdays, including my birthday . . .  I am my own master. I feel that their happiness is false, fake, forced. I feel that they are hypocrites, dissimulating joy where there is none. I feel envious, humiliated by my envy, and enraged by my humiliation. I feel that they are the recipients of a gift I will never have: the ability to enjoy life and to feel joy.

And then I do my best to destroy their mood: I bring bad news, provoke a fight, make a disparaging remark, project a dire future, sow uncertainty in the relationship, and when the other person is sour and sad, I feel relieved.”

Tenants look around at the bare lobby simply chalk it up as another circumstance of Luxury Living in Midtown.   The topic switches to this weeks police activities in the building and William Koepell’s latest stunts.

[roll clip from Wednesday, December 13th – scene: two 17th precinct police, Bryan Rexroat and another Modern Staffing employee (term used tongue-in-cheek when referring to Modern Staffing . . .) and William Koepell in lobby]

It’s like a scene out of the movie Ground Hogs Day as a tenant enters the lobby while William Koeppel is telling the police that “Tom does not live here and never did!”

Oy. . . here we go again!  It’s not long before a group of tenants gathered to participate in this week’s episode.

Police question William Koeppel about Tom’s electricity which has been turned off today.  Since shutting off the electric is a blatant violation of the law in Tom’s current situation, Tom called the police.

It was reported by several sources that William Koepell had been to 350 East 52nd St. earlier in the day, went to the basement, flipped the switch to terminate electricity to apartment 2D and proceeded to lock the door to the meter room.  When the police questioned Koeppel he denied shutting off the electric. He also denied knowing anything about where the key may be.  Cops and cast suspected it was in William’s pocket.

Resident cast members witnessed Bill Koepell say all of the following regarding the incident:

Koeppel told police that the lights are supposed to be off in Tom’s apartment.

He told the officers that he didn’t turn them off and he didn’t ask anyone to turn them off.  WK said he had been in Florida for the past three days, just came back, got his car and went to Brooklyn.  He had to come to 350 East 52nd Street when he heard about the situation with Tom’s electricity being off!

Again, he made sure the officers were aware that the power was never supposed to be on in apartment #2D.

Koeppel said the illegal glass fuse box, which the police were questioning him about, was grandfathered in until renovations were done (?).  He insisted it would be a dangerous fire hazard to turn Tom’s electricity back on and that the switch must have tripped itself as a safety measure. WK would not turn the electric back on because it because he did not want to be held liable for starting a fire.  He kept repeating a story about how they started work on apartment 2D before this situation developed with the strike.  He also told the police the apartment was gutted so the officer went up to see for himself.  What he saw was Tom’s lovely apartment which is nicely furnished and well decorated.

William suggested to the police that Tom went to the basement and turned the power on and then got scared about the potential for fire and shut it off himself.   Again, the police asked William Koeppel for the keys to the lock which was placed on the door to the fuse box area.  WK insisted he had no knowledge of the whereabouts of the keys he had reportedly used to lock the door earlier in the day.

As shown in so many previous episodes, William Koeppel told his favorite lie to the police.  WK insisted Tom did not live in apartment #2D and “the 20 tenants Kirk has with him are all lying”.  This was followed by his 2nd favorite lie that “Kirk works for the union and that’s why he’s doing this.”  (If you’re just tuning in and have not followed the series thus far, you should know that Koeppel blames almost everything that happens in the building on one tenant; Kirk!) Now, since Kirk was not appearing in this episode, it’s a mystery as to why Koeppel kept referring to him, but luckily, Kirk’s wife was there to speak up and tell the police that Kirk does not work for union 32BJ!!

Koeppel ignored her completely and then informed the police that apartment 2D (Tom’s)  was “his apartment and he did Modern Staffing a favor by letting them use it as office space for interviewing and meetings”.   He told police that he got discounts on his staffing arrangement for letting Modern Staffing use the apartment.  (WK simply failed to mention that what Modern Staffing actually used the apartment for was to house the super, Tom, who was hired by Modern Staffing and subsequently given the apartment to live in.

Throughout the episode, it is evident that WK is sporting a strange shirt bump.  Resident cast members spend their down time trying to guess what he could be hiding under there.  

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One officer asked if he had a firearm on him, presumably due to the shirt bump. William said he did not.  Resident cast members become slightly alarmed given that he had not uttered a word of truth to the police thus far, but apparently the police had no lawful cause to search WK so they went back to the same old conversation they had been having for over an hour.

The police would ask for the key, WK denied having the key and would then come up with yet another possible scenario about how the electric may have shut itself off.  WK continued to remind the police of the ‘fire hazard’ and then said “it could have been an electrician who shut the electricity because the power is supposed to be off and they may have been working there”.   After several more variations of how the power may have been shut off and many more reminders of the risk of fire in the basement, the officers (and cast) were pretty worn down.

The police had given William Koeppel way to much time and needed to get back to their job. Before leaving they told Koeppel this:  Tomorrow we will have Con-Edison turn the electricity on in apartment #2D.  If it is turned off again, unless mandated by the court, you will be arrested. As for the fire hazard, they made it perfectly clear to WK that the safety of his building was his responsibility and in no uncertain terms would anyone but Koeppel be responsible if a fire manifested in the basement.  When the officers walked away towards their car, William Koeppel headed into the basement.  To the cast & police officers it seemed like a mirage when the electric in Tom’s apartment miraculously went on and the bright white xmas lights Tom had lined his windows with lit up the sidewalk outside 350 East 52nd Street like movie set flood lights!

The cops couldn’t believe it.  But it was even harder for them to believe that after pulling a stunt like that, WK came back out and walked right up to the police car and began to banter some more.  At this point, the entire cast had put in so much over time for this holiday special, we were just too tired for another scene. One of the cast yelled to Koeppel, “Your just running a giant ponzi scheme here!” (presumably referring to the illegal rents Koepell is charging, and currently being sued for, along with all of the security deposits he steals.  WK interrupted his rant to the police through the driver side window of the cruiser.  He looked up and with a big smile, yelled across the street to the 15 or so exhausted cast members, “Bernie Madoff is my good friend!”

The officer’s seized the opportunity and drove away.

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