Residents of 83 Bowery Protest Margaret Chin for Selling out Chinatown
With Margaret Chin up for re-election next month, these Chinatown Bowery denizens are making plenty of noise in opposition. The embattled tenants of 83-85 Bowery, deadlocked in battle with landlord Joseph Betesh, are protesting the councilwoman at her headquarters later today.
The protest rally is the second such action in a month for this Tenants Association, and the timing is apt. Just yesterday, City Council passed a package of legislation aimed at protecting tenants against illegal construction and displacement.
Residents have been fighting Betesh since he purchased the adjacent properties back in 2013 alongside ten other Bowery buildings in a blockbuster $62 million portfolio deal. 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 could be done while residents remain.
When: Thursday, August 10th, 3:30pm
Where: 250 Broadway (at Murray St)
Who: 83-85 Bowery Tenants Association
What: The Bowery Tenants Association and other community members will hold a protest in front of Councilmember Margaret Chin’s office. The tenants of 83 and 85 Bowery have been fighting eviction by their landlord, Joseph Betesh for more than two years. Recently, Margaret Chin and her staff distributed campaign flyers that accused the tenants of being manipulated by outsiders. The tenants are infuriated and in response are calling for a protest, saying Chin is “insulting us by saying we are idiots to refuse the landlord’s 99-year lease offer.” The tenants saw the offer as a trap to get them to vacate the building for “renovations” and not let them return.
In addition, the tenants and other supporters will protest Chin’s refusal to support the full Chinatown Working Group plan, thus aiding in the massive displacement taking place in her district. In 2013, Chin was one of the top 3 recipients of campaign donations from the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) PAC, receiving over $230,000. Because of unchecked development and soaring real estate values, displacement is a huge issue in the District 1 City Council race.
The tenants association is calling on all neighbors and community members to join and protest Margaret Chin’s slander and lies and to protect their homes and community against displacement.