In Which Raphael Toledano Rewards Harassed Tenants with Ice Cream

Posted on: August 5th, 2016 at 5:19 am by

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Protesting Raphael Toledano’s harassment, Photo: The Villager

Why worry about living eleven weeks without gas when you can have an ice cream social! How great.

Raphael Toledano – one of the larger landowners in the East Village – threw an ice cream social yesterday afternoon and was not welcomed with enthusiasm by neighbors.

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From the mailbag:

Brookhill Properties, real estate development firm of the frequently-covered Raphael Toledano, [hosted] an ice cream social [yesterday] afternoon for Brookhill tenants some of the East Village buildings he bought last year. The invitation, posted on building doors, features the image of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream container and a photo of a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream truck. As of this moment, no one at the socially conscious corporation’s headquarters in Vermont or New York City was aware of a contractual agreement with Brookhill to furnish the ice cream. The company’s New Jersey offices could not be reached for comment. “I wish I could be there demonstrating with you,” a Vermont spokesperson added.

Nor is the offer appealing to many Brookhill tenants, who have endured much contention since their buildings were purchased, from threatening lawsuits, and elevated lead and asbestos levels released by gut-renovations, to allegedly persistent attempts to get the rent-regulated tenants to leave. A number of Toledano-owned, Brookhill-managed buildings have experienced months of interruptions to their gas service. One of those is 325 East 12th Street. Tenants there have not had any gas since May 18th, 2016, and the planned ice cream social will occur right in front of their building.

“Two and a half months without cooking gas and instead of doing the necessary work, they want to give us ice cream! That just takes the cake… the one we can’t bake,” said one 325 East 12th Street tenant. “If they made a serious effort to get gas service back in our building immediately, that would mean a whole lot more. But now we’ve gone for over 11 weeks without that service.”

“Something like this ice cream social might make sense, say, in a year’s time, if real, measurable progress has been made by then in the fair treatment of all tenants,” said TTC representative Nina d’Alessandro. “But with all we’ve had to go through in the past year and the lack of resolution of service issues, it seems like an ill-advised move, at best. When we met with Brookhill’s representatives in the Manhattan Borough President’s office in July, we laid out specific steps that had to be taken by our landlord to honor his tenants’ legal rights. Good relations will come from Brookhill abiding by those demands, and not by feeding us sweets. Right now, we are not on good enough terms.”

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