Tenants of 43 Essex Street File Lawsuit Against Landlord for Harassment and Hazardous Conditions

Posted on: April 29th, 2015 at 5:00 am by
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The only pugilists representing 43 Essex Street now are the new building owner and his alleged henchman Michel Pimienta.

G&S Sporting Goods completely divested from the Lower East Side last December after decades on the block. It’s amazing (and quite sad, frankly) how quickly the quality of life deteriorated since the sale. Just a few short months after the $6.9 million transaction, residents are now suing nascent landlord Paul Galasso for harassment and hazardous living conditions. Announcement of the legal proceedings came through yesterday evening from Councilwoman Margaret Chin’s office.

As first reported last week, the Department of Buildings issued three separate stop-work orders to Paul Galasso over the last few weeks, thanks in part to ongoing gut renovation inside the old boxing store. Apparently contractors have been working on the gas and electric lines without posted permits. The city agency also inspected, and found an “illegal gas connection to boiler in cellar.” But the issues are way worse than that.

From a recent press release:

Their illegal construction work has compromised the integrity of the building, causing structural damage to the tenants’ apartments including gaping holes in ceiling walls and cracked floor tiles with sharp protruding edges. One tenant can see through her bedroom floor into the apartment below. During the illegal construction the owners used the building’s air-shaft as a make-shift garbage chute, causing heaps of construction waste and black dust to enter tenants’ apartments through windows and cracks in the walls.

In addition, the apartments lack heat and hot water, forcing the tenants to boil water for showers—an indignity compounded by the fact that the building also lacks gas. Tenants must use portable gas stoves and purchase readymade food.

If that wasn’t bad enough, notorious tenant relocator Michel Pimienta – fined and forced from his job by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman – is back to harass tenants of 43 Essex Street (he’s also making lives miserable at 22 Spring). Chin’s office reports that, true to form, the hired hand “made frequent visits to the building requesting to speak with residents about their apartments.” Most of the apartments in the building are rent stabilized and inhabited by Chinese families. Perfect prey.

Tenants and advocates from Legal Services NYC and Asian Americans for Equality are altogether leading the charge with a press conference today at the doorstep of 43 Essex (5pm). Margaret Chin’s office will also be in attendance as a show of support.

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