Bowery Tenants Protest Harassment and Eviction Tactics of Landlord Joseph Betesh
Embattled rent regulated tenants at 83-85 Bowery are committed to fighting landlord Joseph Betesh. The Tenants Association there is holding a protest against Betesh later today to shine light on the displacement and alleged lack of repairs in the two tenements.
Betesh purchased the adjacent tenements at 83-85 Bowery 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 reportedly offered $15,000 buyouts to tenants, who refused. That’s when the boxes of lawsuits arrived by the front door for the new case in state Supreme Court, alleging that the buildings needed to be vacated for “necessary” infrastructural repairs. All along, though, advocates argued that Betesh purposely left the property to rot to expedite eviction and demolition, and that repairs can be done while residents remain. Ye olde “construction as harassment tactics.
When: Wednesday, July 19th at 4pm
Where: 83-85 Bowery
Who: 83-85 Bowery Tenants Association
What: The tenants of 83-85 Bowery are holding a demonstration in front of their buildings against their landlord, Joseph Betesh, for eviction and harassment that has been dragging on for two years. Shortly after Joseph Betesh, whose family owns Dr. Jay’s, the clothing store chain, bought the buildings, he began to evict the tenants. Even though the tenants won a court judgment holding the landlord responsible for neglect and lack of repairs, Betesh ignored the court order and took additional steps to kick out the tenants. Due to the City’s refusal to pass the Chinatown Working Group Rezoning Plan, Chinatown has been seriously hit with displacement and gentrification. Still, the tenants are still in Chinatown and determined to continue to fight to protect their homes and demand landlord Joseph Betesh honor rent-stabilization status of the buildings and repair the buildings immediately.
The Betesh Bowery portfolio includes 83, 85, 88, 103, 105, 219, 221, 262, 276, 280, and 284 Bowery. These properties had been family owned since the 1930s until 2013.