Tenants’ Rights I
Mar 24, 2015 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (EDT)
HOWL! Happening, New York NY – 6 East 3rd Street
Applying for Affordable Housing: Step by Step
Apr 13, 2015 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (EDT)
HOWL! Happening, New York NY
Campaign to Strengthen and Renew Rent Stabilization Laws
Apr 21, 2015 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM (EDT)
HOWL! Happening, New York NY
Tenants’ Rights II
May 19, 2015 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM (EDT)
HOWL! Happening, New York NY
Our organizing team was so busy in 2014. We accomplished a ton in this past year… read on about all the ways we’ve been stopping displacement and building community!!
Major Organizing Efforts and Coalitions
- Through partnering with St. Nick’s alliance and the Urban Justice Center (UJC), Cooper Square Committee (CSC) created a much-needed campaign to reform the Department of Buildings (DOB) in 2014. For well over a year preceding this we had been working with community members to organize and draw attention to the problem of “construction as harassment.” In 2014 we were able to further connect with some of our most steadfast allies (close to 20 organizations) throughout the City to formalize a campaign to reform DOB and work on ending “construction as harassment.” The work we did last year is leading us to a pivotal year in 2015 where we will be looking to create new laws to better support tenants who are dealing with landlords who use the guise of construction to harass.
Click on any photo to enlarge. All photos on this page taken by CSC unless otherwise noted.
- CSC’s organizing department was a lead community-group partner with the NYS Attorney General’s (AG) office in their investigation of the “tenant relocator” Michel Pimienta. The organizing we did and information we provided helped the AG wage a precedent-setting investigation which led to the shuttering of Michel’s operations. UJC and CAAAV were also partners in this effort.
Led the organizing to help form the Mahfar Tenants Coalition. Both UJC and CAAAV are also involved with the amazing work happening here. This coalition, which includes half a dozen Samy Mahfar (SMA Equities) owned buildings, is fiercely pushing back against this landlord’s attempt to vacate and renovate Lower East Side (LES) buildings en masse. In 2014 the tenants from these buildings called Mahfar to the table, used city agencies and local politicians to step up enforcement in their buildings, and held a powerful press conference in December 2014 after lead contamination was verified to have occurred in their buildings. The tenants of the Mahfar Tenants Coalition have proven to be some of the strongest fighters we’ve seen in 2014! Read More
Due to the storm, Cooper Square Committee will close at 3pm today (Monday), and will be closed all day on Tuesday. We plan to open at 10am on Wednesday.
The tenant clinic of the Metropolitan Council on Housing WILL NOT meet on Tuesday.
FABnyc is also closed on Tuesday.
Cerramos a las 3pm hoy (lunes), y todo el día el martes. Esperamos abrir a las 10am el miércoles.
¡Viaje con ciudado!
PRESS RELEASE BELOW:
|For Immediate Release
DECEMBER 10, 2014
PDF Link here (bit.ly/mahfar210)
|Contact: Brandon Kielbasa
(212) 228-8210 firstname.lastname@example.org
MAHFAR TENANTS COALITION DEMANDS PROPER MITIGATION OF LEAD DURING CONSTRUCTION
Tenants find high lead concentrations in their buildings and speak out against the unsafe construction practices used by LES landlord Samy Mahfar.
WHAT: Press Conference / WHERE: 210 Rivington St. / WHEN: 12:30pm – 1:30pm
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 29, 2014
CONTACT: Brandon Kielbasa
Lead Organizer, Cooper Square Committee
(212) 228-8210, ext 4 – email@example.com
Lower East Side tenants of Samy Mahfar owned buildings applaud AG investigation into notorious Tenant Relocator
Tenants speak out against the extensive use of tenant relocator by LES landlord Samy Mahfar.
October 29, New York — Lower East Side tenants of 102 Norfolk St., 210 Rivington St., 22 Spring St., 143 Ludlow St., and 113 Stanton St. applaud the Attorney General’s investigation into “tenant relocator” Michel Pimienta. On Monday, October 27, 2014, AG Eric Schneiderman reached an agreement censuring his relocation efforts. The agreement requires Pimienta to cease all relocation efforts with his company, Misidor LLC, pay a $40,000 fine, and acquire a real estate broker’s license.
This is a huge victory for tenants familiar with Pimienta’s efforts to push out rent-stabilized tenants so their units could be converted into luxury units. The common denominator between these tenants and Pimienta is LES landlord Samy Mahfar, who employed Pimienta extensively in the buildings he owns.
In addition to employing this unlicensed “tenant relocator” known to use unscrupulous tactics, Mahfar has recently caught the watchful eye of numerous elected officials for demolition work at 102 Norfolk St., exposing tenants there to jaw-dropping levels of toxic lead. Security staff preventing building access to City inspectors and collapsed ceilings in apartments are just a few of the extreme quality-of-life issues that have become commonplace in Mahfar-owned buildings during construction.
“Prior to the demolition work that began in our building, Michel Pimienta approached me on one of two occasions claiming to be a representative of the City of New York looking to update tenant records. He misrepresented himself to me in order to obtain sensitive information from me and other tenants. His actions were misleading, inappropriate, and invasive once we learned how he used this simple informational request obtained from other tenants against them,” said a tenant from 102 Norfolk Street who wished to remain anonymous.
Translated quote from Mr. Lam, Kwan Tai from 22 Spring St. Tenant Association, “This is great news. We welcome the Attorney General’s success with making Michel Pimienta pay a fine and give up his ‘relocation’ business. Being that he is no longer in business to harass us is good for tenants everywhere. People like Pimienta are only working for the profit of the landlord.”
“Affordability continues to be one of the Lower East Side’s greatest challenges — unscrupulous ‘tenant relocators’ are a shameful and illegal part of the affordability picture,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron. “I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for pursuing this investigation, and commend the tenants and the Cooper Square Committee for confronting these unacceptable tactics. I look forward to continuing to work with tenants, advocates, and my elected colleagues to put an end to the pattern of tenant harassment.”
“The fact that Samy Mahfar actually celebrated his use of Michel Pimienta’s ‘invaluable’ relocation services just goes to show why we’re taking action to protect the tenants of 102 Norfolk Street and Mr. Mahfar’s other Lower East Side buildings,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I applaud Attorney General Schneiderman’s successful effort to put Mr. Pimienta out of business, and I will continue to work with my elected colleagues, Cooper Square Committee and CAAAV to stop Mr. Mahfar from further endangering the welfare of his tenants.”
The following is a quote from Samy Mahfar on Misidor’s recently-taken-offline website endorsing Pimienta and his success in removing rent-regulated tenants from their homes:
“It is a pleasure to work with Mr. Pimienta and his company. The experience that his company has brought to our firm has helped us re-position our properties more than we anticipated, and his insight and intuition have been instrumental in our success. Mr. Pimienta is trustworthy and honest, and we have always had a positive experience working with him. I highly recommend his services to people I know in the industry.”Source:
« http://web.archive.org/web/20131020175100/http://misidor.com/index.php?p=view_misidor_testimonial »
Quote from the Cooper Square Committee, “Samy Mahfar – who, as far as we know, hired and utilized the services of Michel Pimienta more than any other landlord in the Lower East Side – willingly subjected his tenants to Pimienta’s deceitful and unscrupulous practices, all in the name of maximizing his profits.”
Quote from CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, “We thank Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for working with us to protect tenants from Michel Pimienta. CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities has been working with Chinatown tenants who live in fear because Pimienta and his Chinese-speaking colleague incessantly call and knock on their doors to drive them out of their homes. Predatory landlords such as SMA Equities and Silvershore Properties hire these ‘tenant relocators’ and have contributed to the loss of thousands of rent-stabilized units. We will continue working with tenants, Cooper Square Committee, and the Attorney General to challenge these landlords in their aggressive harassment and displacement of low-income tenants so that we can protect our critical affordable housing stock.”
The Attorney General’s investigation into Michel Pimienta sends a clear message that tenant relocators who harass tenants will be held accountable. The tenants of Mahfar-owned buildings are sending the message that landlords who hire these relocators will also be held accountable.
Visit our table at 10th Street, for info about tenant rights and other events and campaigns in the area, CSC-branded t-shirts and bags, and you can buy a spin on our prize wheel!
All vendor spots have already been sold. If you are a vendor, volunteer, or musician, you have been emailed any relevant information. If you would like to volunteer and have not signed up already, or if there are any issues, email Daniel at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our table.
Have you been following the great work that ANHD and City Councilmember Brad Lander have been doing around Guaranteed Inclusionary Zoning? Let’s insist that our electeds adopt this affordable housing policy! See below for press coverage:
- Shopping (including artisans from the MHA buildings!)
- Live Music (The Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Kim Kalesti, Bill Popp & the Tapes, Más Allá, The Fine Machines, and The JewelTones)
- And we will have a table at 11th St, with information on tenants rights, Save the Lower East Side and CSC T-Shirts, and more.
Questions, call 212-228-8210 or email Steve.
DATE: TUESDAY, MAY 21ST, 2013
TIME: 10:00 AM SHARP!
PLACE: BOARD OF STANDARD AND APPEALS (BSA)
22 READE STREET, SPECTOR HALL (ONE BLOCK FROM CITY HALL) Read More
As 2012 comes to a close, our community is still hurting in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. The Cooper Square Committee’s office did not suffer any damage from the storm but we were without power for a week, and saw our work load quickly become backlogged upon returning. Those needing assistance included people impacted by the storm, as well as the many low income tenants who seek our help in the normal course of events. During the past couple of weeks, we have been working with our project partner, the Cooper Square Mutual Housing Association (MHA), and with other agencies including FEMA, to assist people displaced by the storm. We’ve been contacted by more than 20 people who have been displaced from their homes by the storm, and we are interviewing many of them with the aim of placing at least 8 of them in temporary housing owned by the MHA as soon as possible.
We wish you and yours a rewarding and happy holiday!
We are closed Thurs 11/22 and Fri 11/23. We reopen at 10am on Mon 11/26.
10 VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FROM 4-6PM TOMORROW (Saturday)!
Call us this morning (Friday) at 212-228-8210.
Volunteers get a free T-shirt!
We will need some help breaking down a few tables and chairs and packing up our material (t-shirts, flyers, fact sheets). It’s light work, but we need some extra hands.
Sponsored by CSC and Clearview Festival Productions. More info: 212-228-8210.
PRESS CONFERENCE AND RALLY
17 MARKET RATE TENANTS AT 50-54-58 EAST 3RD STREET HAVE RECEIVED NOTICES FROM THEIR LANDLORD, ABART HOLDING LLC, THAT STATE THEIR LEASES WILL NOT BE RENEWED. THESE TENANTS ARE WORKING PEOPLE WHO ARE SHARING APARTMENTS TO BE ABLE TO AFFORD THE RENTS. ACROSS THE STREET THREE YEARS AGO A LANDLORD EVICTED THE WHOLE BUILDING FOR HIS PERSONAL USE!
DATE: MONDAY, MAY 7TH 2012
TIME: 6:30 PM
PLACE: 58 EAST 3RD STREET (BTW 1ST AND 2ND AVENUE)
STOP THE EVICTIONS-SUPPORT THE TENANTS AS THEY FIGHT BACK!
FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL GOLES 212-533-2541 or COOPER SQUARE COMMITTEE 212-228-8210
Come learn about the proposed cuts to HUD funding and how you can help protect the long-term affordability of your development.
Conducted by Tenants and Neighbors
For more information or to RSVP: Contact Katie Goldstein: 212-608-4320,ext 400 / email@example.com
Where & When
Community Service Society, 105 E 22nd St (@ Park Ave.), Room 4A
Weds Apr 11, 2012, 6:30-8:30PM
What do. . .
Native Americans George Washington
Federal-style architecture tap dance Stephen Foster gangs of New York
Stephen Crane Am
Abstract Expressionism Mark Rothko
Beat literature Willi
. . .all have in common?
Find out on the. . . Walking Tour of the Bowery
w/Architectural Historian Kerri Culhane
March 3, 2012 @ 1:30pm
Meet at Cooper Union Foundation Building
(at 7th Street)
Originally an Indian foot trail, Bowery is NYC’s oldest thoroughfare.
It was recently named to NY State Register of Historic Places.
The Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, Two Bridges Neighborhood Council and Historic Districts Council are sponsoring a walking tour of the Bowery in conjunction with the Historic Districts Council’s “The Great Outside: Preserving Public and Private Open Spaces”Conference. All are welcome on the tour, which is free of charge!
WHO: You, plus many tenants and advocates for working families
WHAT: Protesting REBNY’s attacks on working families, weak rent laws and landlords’ outrageous demand for a quarter BILLION dollar tax break
WHERE: The NY Hilton Hotel, 53rd St. at 6th Avenue in Manhattan
WHEN: Thursday, January 19th at 6 PM
On Tuesday, January 3rd, Other Side Productions will hold a benefitperformance for Cooper Square Committee, presenting “Accidentally Like a Martyr”, a gay themed comedy at Paradise Factory Theatre at 64 E. 4th St. The play by Grant James Varjas is “set in a bar populated by men from different backgrounds and generations who are once both regulars and irregular, the play depicts them at their hangout as they while away a seemingly quiet winter evening. Fueled by drinks and other stimulants, those gathered reveal secrets, open old wounds, and covet new visitors in a funny and poignant manner that is both original and reminiscent of landmark plays such as Mart Crowley’s “The Boys in the Band” and Tennessee Williams’ “Small Craft Warnings”, plays that served as touchstones for gay people then and now.” There will be a pre-theater reception,with cocktails and appetizers, at 59-61 East 4th St., 4th floor loft at 6 pm, followed by the play at 8 pm. We have a few tickets remaining and are offering last minute tickets for $20 to our supporters. You can purchase them by clicking on the donate button on our homepage. The Cooper Square Committee is raising funds towards their plans, in partnership with the Ali Forney Center, to develop transitional housing for homeless LGBT youth on East 13th Street.
On Sunday, Nov. 20th, from 6 – 8 pm, we are holding an evening of one-woman shows by two actors and friends of Cooper Square.
Tickets no longer available online; you can purchase them at the door.