Two sisters said they had to flee their East Harlem apartments after a landlord and her crew — including her Trump-supporting son — made life unbearable with increasingly ominous threats of harm and reports to immigration authorities.
But now they are fighting back to come home and stop the “relentless campaign of discrimination” being waged against them, according to their new Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit.
Araceli Ramos, 32, and younger sister Rosa, 29, lived in their apartments at the 115th St. building for more than a decade. The problems started in January when the landlord, Diane Marrero Pedrez, told the women that they and the rest of the tenants would have to get out because “she intended to sell ‘her’ portion of the building.”
According to the suit filed Friday, the woman is the day-to-day manager and the executor of the estate that has a 50% interest in the building, which the suit says is worth $2.2 million.
That’s when the harassment started, the lawsuit says.
One time, Araceli was outside the building when Pedrez and a defendant, identified only as “Bob,” said Araceli had to leave.
Bob let it slip he knew where Araceli’s kids went to school. The same man allegedly referred to Araceli and her family as “immigrant pieces of s–t.”
The lawsuit said things got even darker. Two days after Telemundo showed up, Dicks came back with demands the plaintiffs and their families leave. “This is an old building and the boiler isn’t working very well. It could catch fire anytime, and no one would know if it was on purpose or not,” the lawsuit quoted him as saying.
The suit said Rosa and Araceli “were terrified that remaining in the building would result in immigration consequences for, or grave physical harm to, them and their family.”
This may be an actual confirmation of using the culturally volatile environment set by the policies of Figurehead Trump and the unscrupulous abuse of the real estate market speculation/fabrication and sadistic chicanery slumlord tactics that’s been enabled by the campaign fund whoring by Mayor De Faustio.
What is truly confounding is that here we have 2 young women who are actually part of the millenial demographic that these slumlords are trying to replace them with. Maybe these long time citizens of East Harlem are not the types who frequent designer pizza joints and craft beer gardens or wait on lines around the corner for a disgusting rainbow bagel. And are not stupid to pay $3500 a month to live in modest apartment in Manhattan. But it’s certain that they live there because they need to, they want to, and despite the amount of money they earn for a living they have every goddamn right to.
And how the fuck is that building worth 2.2 million dollars? It doesn’t even have bland and shitty street art on the side of it. This supposed real estate market is going batshit crazy. I wonder if the rise of those hideous behemoth monoliths on 57st in midtown is having an effect on the worth of regular apartment buildings.
Meanwhile in Queens:
A pair of elderly Kew Gardens residents who survived World War II in their native Ukraine are facing possible eviction, as the owner of the co-operative building they live in wants to charge more in rent, according to the Legal Aid Society.
Sateesh Nori, the attorney in charge of the Legal Aid Society’s Queens office, says the two people — an 89-year-old great-grandmother Nellya and a 93-year-old Ukrainian Air Force veteran named Soloman — pay rent because they’ve been there since before the building was co-oped.
Because they pay less than $1,500 in rent with the help of Section 8 vouchers in a neighborhood where rents approach or exceed $2,000, Nori said, the landlord, Forest & Gardens Owners, started the eviction process more than two years ago.
But the housing cases stalled while Nellya and Soloman, whose last names were asked to be withheld, had guardians to handle their legal defense, finances and other aspects of life appointed to them.
Soloman has significant health problems that hampers his ability to represent himself in court, Nori said, while Nellya has been bedridden for about two years.
“Now that the eviction case is no longer on hold, their guardians contacted us saying, ‘we need your help,’” Nori said. “We’ve since looked back into the original court case and found numerous errors in the landlord’s legal argument.”
Nori added that Forest & Gardens Owners has failed to submit a lease renewal for the elderly residents, endangering their Section 8 vouchers.
“They’re aware, though,” he added of the residents, who don’t speak English. “What they’ve said to us through their translator is, ‘Why do you want us to leave? What have we done wrong?’”
Nori said the Legal Aid Society had no reason to believe the landlord has preyed on residents before, as the group has “never heard of them.”
Forest & Gardens Owners could not immediately be reached for comment by press time.
The Legal Aid group needs to be a little more cynical and aggressive, especially since Forest & Gardens (what a pretty, unthreatening name) couldn’t be “reached for comment”. As if persistently demanding two elderly people to move for 2 years doesn’t construe harassment. They got their rent on time, so what’s the problem. It’s not enough. And there is a demo market out there for this generation that is stupid enough to pay a grand or twice the amount to rent. Especially once an area gets deemed hip by the New York Times or any hack adverjournotainment website (say, Bedford and Bowery or DNAinfo and Gothamist, well for the latter two both now).
Though F & G owners are not letting the building rot from the inside or doing environmentally hazardous gut renovations or denying basic utility services. These are still, as with the East Harlem case, slumlord tactics. But maybe it’s time for a new malignant term for these scourges that ruining the fabric and soul of the 5 boroughs. Let’s call these awful people, scumlords. Because the behavior exhibited by these kinds resembles the traits of the scumbag, and since the Gentrification Industrial Complex of government, real estate (REBNY), private equity and the news media considers every crack on the sidewalk and streets hot property that definitively, there are no slums anymore.
These are precarious, trying times for tenants living in the most unaffordable city with the biggest homeless population in the nation. These 4 citizens are the lucky ones to get media attention and help from their communities. There needs to be more, possibly a lobby or real non-profit interest group for the poor and middle class to stop the scumlord scourge, for it’s obvious our overpaid city council don’t have the guts, will or stamina to aid their constituencies. For now, renters just have to use their own wits and know their rights. And not let the corrupt and the stupid disenfranchise them.