85 Bowery Landlord Admits ‘Mistakes Were Made’ in Trashing Tenants’ Belongings
Following the mass purge of tenants’ belongings at 85 Bowery Wednesday afternoon, landlord Joseph Betesh reportedly conducted a “review of the situation.” Verdict – the classic “mistakes were made” half-admission.
To recap: Betesh, under recent court order and ahead of asbestos abatement activity, had granted access for tenants to retrieve possessions. Any remainders would then be transferred to an offsite storage unit at landlord’s expense. Only perishable items would be trashed. However, that’s not what happened on Wednesday afternoon. Instead, personal belongings were recklessly discarded on the sidewalk, forcing owners to dumpster dive to retrieve their items.
Blame was later cast on the workers tasked with the job, and clearly team Betesh is in an elevated gear of damage control. According to a public statement, they will reimburse families for any personals “mistakenly discarded.”
“Unfortunately, mistakes were made yesterday by workers tasked with removing items from the building,” a spokesperson for the landlord stated. “We are taking responsibility for this situation and are investigating further to determine why usable items belonging to families of 85 Bowery were mistakenly discarded. Our initial review has made it clear that this work did not meet our standards and we have taken action to ensure it does not happen again.”
The displaced tenants are not buying the apology, though. “We believe this is an unacceptable excuse from the landlord,” spokesperson Caitlin Kelmar told us in an email. “Mistakes have never been made to the advantage of the tenants, only the landlord, and we are tired of seeing absolute abuse be excused as a simple mistake or miscommunication.”
Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou – a fierce tenant advocate – had plenty to say in the aftermath, as well. “Joseph Betesh’s actions were beyond unacceptable. Carting out tenant’s belongings and dumping them into a garbage container on the street is not only disrespectful, but inhumane.”