Toledano Tenants Hold Banks Accountable for ‘Predatory Lending’ to Bad Landlords

Posted on: December 9th, 2016 at 5:00 am by

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Photo: Cooper Square Committee

Predatory Equity: the harmful practice of investing equity to buy rental apartment buildings at inflated prices. Predatory equity investors calculate that they can replace poor and working people with new tenants willing to pay much higher rents—thus bringing higher profits in a hurry.

Utilizing predatory equity is one of the main tools in the slumlord playbook. Accepting loans while banking on the upscaling of tenement apartments to charge the highest amounts. We’ve seen it time and again with the usual cast.

So much so, that tenants living under these two landlords rallied against those financial institutions that essentially aided and abetted this displacement. On Wednesday, the Cooper Square Committee organized a protest against Madison Realty Capital and Signature Bank (the apparently latter helped Mahfar acquire 113 Stanton Street).

Here’s an excerpt from the press release on Facebook

Back in September of 2015, Toledano received a $124 million mortgage from Madison Realty Capital to buy 17 buildings throughout the East Village and tenants have faced alleged harassment, no cooking gas, and lead dust contamination (in buildings with children) ever since. Signature Bank has a hand in this too, as they collateralize Madison Realty Capital in the lending they do.

As stated in the press conference, Tenant Leader Holly Stayton explains what she’s been facing:

“Ever since the takeover of the buildings by Toledano, I have been forced out of my small business of 15 years, along with 21 other businesses in the East Village .The takeover by Toledano and Madison Capital has wrecked our community and pushed out 200 of the 400 tenants in the 24 buildings. We have had threats of our stairwells being removed and had our intercoms cut off. We have been living in mouse infestations, among dumpster apartments laden with lead dust hazards over the EPA standards.”

In more positive news for embattled Toledano tenants, though, the landlord is actually looking to sell all thirteen of his East Village holdings for $160 million.

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