85 Bowery Tenants Allege Landlord Reneged on Deal for Return Home
The saga of 85 Bowery continues today with tenants alleging that landlord Joseph Betesh reneged on a negotiated deal for families to return home. Hunger striking tenants a couple weeks ago had called off the protest after an alleged accord was in the offing.
Resident leaders are holding a press conference on the steps of 85 Bowery today (10:30am) to broadcast the latest drama around their eviction and eventual return home.
Below is the media advisory from tenant advocates:
The landlord of 85 Bowery, Joseph Betesh, has broken his promise with the tenants to guarantee a return-date, an agreement which ended the hunger strike two weeks ago.
While the tenants were distrustful due to Betesh’s record of lies to both the tenants and the press, they stopped the hunger strike believing that their long battle against harassment had an end in sight with a guaranteed return date. Betesh agreed to accept language ensuring he would be held accountable to an August 31st deadline no matter what may cause the delay. Since their eviction, a guaranteed deadline of return is all the tenants have been demanding.
In an about face, Betesh is now refusing to accept a guaranteed deadline and forcing the tenants to accept a small sum of money for throwing away their possessions in April. Belongings found in the dumpster included priceless wedding photos and mementos causing emotional and mental harm to the tenants. It has been extremely difficult for the tenants to fully evaluate what is missing, as their remaining possessions remain under Betesh’s lock and key in a distant storage unit in Brooklyn.
Betesh has also backed away from wording that held him accountable in the event of another delay or the building’s destruction. This leaves the tenants fearful that Betesh will follow the long-standing tradition of greedy landlords using self-started destruction to demolish the homes of working class New Yorkers.
Team Betesh (i.e. Bowery 8385, LLC) responded to the press conference with the following quote: “Weeks ago, we stated publicly that our goal is to complete the necessary repair work at 85 Bowery by end of summer, barring unforeseen circumstances. That has not changed. At that time, we also noted that no agreement had been signed by either party in this case. That has not changed.
“Apparently these facts have not stopped certain groups from continuing to make false statements about the situation regarding 85 Bowery, which helps no one.”