Landlord Steve Croman Under Investigation by State Attorney General
It’s a victory (of sorts) for all tenants under the thumb of landlord harassment. Controversial slumlord Steve Croman and his posse are under investigation for illegal tactics in their portfolio of properties. It’s the same old story around the Lower East Side – boot the longtimers and convert to luxury.
The Daily News had the scoop over the weekend, reporting that State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman just launched a probe into the “potentially illegal tactics used by landlord Steven Croman, 47, to force rent-stabilized tenants out of their valuable apartments.” They’re looking into possible violations of both city and state statutes.
Just ask Croman tenants Cordelia and Graham Winton, who live in his building on E. 8th St. in the East Village.
Croman bought the building last year and offered buyouts to the Wintons and other tenants. Several took the deal and moved out. The Wintons declined the offer.
Tenants above and below them left and now those apartments rent for around $6,000. The Wintons pay about $1,250.
On July 2, the Wintons went on vacation and returned to a nightmare. Cordelia Winton returned first on July 19, and when she arrived, tenants told her someone had cranked the steam heat in the building on July 4 high enough to cause steam to pour out from her apartment into the hall.
When she opened the door, she gazed upon a disaster.
The heat was so extreme, wine bottles had uncorked, spewing their contents on the floor. A glass cabinet shattered, wood shelves warped and collapsed, the plastic spray arm in the sink melted, an outlet popped out of the wall and the ceiling and walls bubbled.
Also under investigation is Croman’s alleged capo Anthony Falconite. The ex-cop turned bully is euphemistically referred to in the industry as a “relocation specialist.” These are the tactics employed. Falconi is but one example. Armies of these people are out there working on behalf of landlords look to convert to luxury.
… this week state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took the unusual step of slapping him with a “cease and desist” order, demanding he halt an increasingly aggressive campaign that’s crossed the legal line.
In documents obtained by the Daily News, Schneiderman charges that Falconite has forced his way into apartments, snapped photos of tenants’ mail and belongings and repeatedly threatened them with eviction.
Tenants say he’s followed them to and from work, confronting them at their jobs about where they really live. He has questioned family members and even tenants’ children. He’s pretended to be a maintenance worker or a FedEx agent to get inside their apartments.
Hopefully the Attorney General makes an example of Croman that further deters the likes of Misrahi, Baruch Singer, and Samy Mahfar.
Croman owns about 100 mostly residential buildings around Manhattan.