Report: Bowery Landlord Joseph Betesh Settles with Tenants Over Harassment Dispute

Posted on: May 11th, 2016 at 9:22 am by
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Could the tide be turning against the some of the more controversial landlords of the Lower East Side?

Yesterday, one day after Steve Croman was charged with 20 felonies, the residents of 83-85 Bowery announced a legal settlement in the lawsuit with their landlord, Joseph Betesh. The deal, which is still being hammered out, staves off eviction for 27 low-income immigrant families living in these Chinatown tenements.

Under this accord, apartments will remain rent stabilized and long-term leases given. Residents will be temporarily relocated during renovations and paid a housing stipend to cover increased costs, according to the Daily News.

There was a protest held yesterday on the steps of the Supreme Court building, just before the court session. “We have seen these tactics before,” said U.S. Representative Nydia Velazquez. “They want to push these tenants out, jack up the rent, and make a quick buck — all at the tenants’ expense.”

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Betesh, the magnate behind Dr. Jay’s, purchased these adjacent tenements back in 2013 alongside ten other Bowery buildings in a blockbuster portfolio deal valued at $62 million. It didn’t take long for the alleged harassment to begin. Betesh brought a lawsuit against the occupants, claiming that the buildings needed to be vacated for “necessary” infrastructural repairs. All along, advocates argued that Betesh purposely left the property to rot to expedite eviction and demolition.

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