Attorney General Schneiderman Responds to Presentation on How to Evict Rent Stabilized Tenants

Posted on: June 7th, 2016 at 5:12 am by
Rally against Samy Mahfar, April 2015

Rally against Samy Mahfar, April 2015

One particular speech from one real estate attorney caused seismic outrage last week. Michelle Itkowitz had spoken at TerraCRG’s “Only Brooklyn” summit about how to best evict rent regulated tenants from buildings. The presentation was called “Tenant Buyouts — The Next Generation.” Timing of the discussion was appropriate, as bad landlords around the city are under the microscope for harassment activities. (e.g. Croman, Mahfar, Shaoul, Singer, Toledano, Kushner.)

In her speech, Itkowitz noted that “demolition evictions” are a quick-and-dirty method to get rid of those pesky rent-regulated tenants. However, Attorney General Schneiderman wants everyone to know that this is flat-out “bogus legal advice.” His spokesperson, Matt Mittenthal, reached out with the following response:

Contrary to Ms. Itkowitz’s bogus legal advice, using ‘demolition evictions’ to de-tenant a building is illegal, and Attorney General Schneiderman has and will continue to use the full force of the law – including bringing criminal charges where appropriate – to crack down on unscrupulous landlords, including those attempting to use ‘demolition evictions’ to improperly force out tenants.

Inside 102 Norfolk during Samy Mahfar's luxury conversion, July 2014

Inside 102 Norfolk during Samy Mahfar’s luxury conversion, July 2014

Meanwhile, in defense of her presentation, Itkowitz essentially told Gothamist last week that the speech was taken out of context:

I represent as many tenants as I do landlords. I always have. I have saved many people’s homes. I currently represent a 75 year old couple in Stuy Town, being unfairly pushed out of their home after 40 years.

A major purpose and theme of my talk [last Wednesday] was to dissuade the development community from harassing tenants, in particular to dissuade them from bringing baseless, frivolous litigation. I encouraged landlords not to lie to tenants. And I was seeking to educate them on the methods that Albany has put in place for rebuilding buildings. Unfortunately, the landlord’s bar isn’t doing that. If you read the piece, you will see that it is VERY useful for tenants. Everything I write always has both “sides” in mind.

Recent Stories

Chinatown Art Brigade Protests Racially Insensitive ‘Poverty Porn’ at James Cohan Gallery

A controversial show at the James Cohan Gallery that’s drawn local ire in the Chinatown community was the site of an invasive protest action yesterday. The Chinatown Art Brigade, known for its nighttime projections of “Chinatown is not for sale” onto building facades, organized the rally on Grand Street in response to the racially insensitive […]

City Installs Countdown Clock at Rutgers Street M9 Bus Stop

Hark, weary commuters. There is a new piece of tech hardware at the northwest corner of East Broadway and Rutgers Street. Indeed, the city installed a new countdown clock for the downtown M9 bus stop over the weekend. The bus information is posted on both the sign and available via audio cue. This is seemingly […]

Scenes from Yesterday’s Lower East Side Pickle Day [PHOTOS]

Yesterday afternoon, mere hours after a woman was shot nearby, the Lower East Side Pickle Day took up residence along the northern third of Orchard Street. Attracting throngs of tourists to Hell Square, as is the case each year. Even the Pickle Guys’ Grand Street location was jam-packed throughout the afternoon, handling the party overflow… The […]

‘Tang Hotpot’ Unveiled on the Bowery, Opening Soon

After six months of construction, the final pieces are falling into place for Tang Hotpot. The new Szechuan restaurant at 135 Bowery recently dispensed with the sidewalk shed to reveal its unique exterior, complete with decorative door, teaser signage, and fishbowl window. Tang Hotpot is a loose spinoff of The Tang in the East Village […]

Surveillance Footage Shows Perp Fleeing on Moped After Rivington Street Shooting [VIDEO]

Surveillance video just surfaced of the perp who allegedly shot a 26-year-old woman near the Hotel on Rivington early yesterday morning. The victim reportedly exited a cab shortly after 5am when a bullet grazed her upper left shoulder. According to police, four shots were fired, and as many 9mm casings were recovered. By yesterday afternoon, crime scene tape […]