Landlord Still Making Life Hell for Residents of 43 Essex Street
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Paul Galasso is a relative welterweight in the league of ego-driven landlords. From nowhere, he’s quickly rising to the top of the charts with alleged tenant harassment tactics that rival the likes of Steve Croman.
43 Essex Street is case-in-point, a flashpoint pre-war property acquired by Galasso in the fall of 2014. The owner purchased the five-story tenement from the G&S Sporting Goods team and quickly resorted to “upgrading” the facility. This meant tapping the services of “relocator” Michel Pimienta and creating miserable living conditions for tenants. There had been allegations that the owners were using the air shaft as a makeshift garbage chute.
The actions created a perfect storm, resulting in the creation of a tenants association and filing of a lawsuit against Galasso.
Then a couple weeks later (i.e. early May), the alphabet soup of city agencies sent the nascent Tenant Harassment Protection Task Force to 43 Essex Street, resulting in stop-work and partial vacate orders (both are now lifted). Here are some other updates on what’s been happening here:
- Even though hot water was recently restored, apartments still lack cooking gas and heat. We’re told that the landlord re-piped the building from oil to gas, but wasn’t approved by Con Edison. Hence the mobile boiler unit rolled curbside a couple weeks ago.
- Fire suppression was installed after its extraction earlier this year. This helped lift the stop-work order.
- For a while HPD had guards posted to maintain an illusion of safety (even though we’ve seen some sleeping on the job). We are told that without them, a full vacate would’ve been likely.
- Alleged removal of floor joints and other load-bearing supports destabilized much of the building. Some are reporting cracks in the walls as floors and ceilings sag. One resident was previously forced to flee thanks to a compromised floor.
- There are more than a dozen ECB violations on the property since Galasso took over last year.
The building residents have been in court for many months to ensure Galasso performs the necessary shoring work recommended and approved by the Department of Buildings. Construction work is ongoing. Indeed, new permits were recently issued to renovate two building vacancies on floors five and six, and to combine apartments on the second floor.
What a clusterfuck. These being the costs of upgrading rent regulated buildings to luxury.