The Landlords

The owners 66 West 138 LLC, are:
Israel Weinberger (on property sale contract/deed), 
Jonathan Weinberger (on mortgage documents and in offering plan),
Steven Neuman (as indemnitor on Mortgage). 
They are also known as Coltown Properties, and conflate their ownership of 100s of buildings in a web of straw entities and series LLCs.

NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT  — 12+ years of harassing tenants

The harassment of tenants at 66 W 138th Street is far from an isolated  incident. The owners of this building and their property management company, have a very long well-documented history as predatory landlords beginning at least, in 2006, with their co-ownership of 17 Harlem Properties with Jared Kushner.

Since these owners purchased building [deed October 21, 2015] there have been 4 property managers – all with Coltown Properties. Nate Weinberger, Mark, Scott aka Yecheskel Berman, Jonathan Ramirez, and per court stip there should be another soon.

AS LANDLORDS: (see below for their actions in conversions)

They are known as a “worst landlord” and are on Council members,  Stabilizing NYC watch lists as predatory landlords who push out rent stabilized tenants. Their disturbing pattern of behavior is long and continuing.  A few examples in chronological order;

Documented in a 2009 court case is Jonathan Weinberger’s refusal to take  rent subsidies, make repairs and deplorable conditions. Supreme 109070/09 Logan vs. 2025 Regent LLC, Jonathan Weinberger/ Guido Schnall (now a Coltown project manager per DOB records). The case is stamped by the NYC Commission on Human Rights General Counsel.

In 2012, Israel Weinberger was called out by media and an HPD  spokesperson for having more than 3000 violations on less than 80 buildings.

In 2015, at a press conference, advocates and elected officials, singled out Coltown Properties as one of the “predatory equity landlords who tenants say have been mistreating them and forcing them to live in hazardous conditions.”

In 2016 Yecheskel Berman (known to tenants as Scott) was named by the  Mayor and Public Advocate as one of the top 8 worst landlords, who had 2000 violations across 12 buildings, including immediately hazardous. He was cited as such for just 1 property and is one whom The Department of Social Services was going to withhold rent payments from for creating conditions, “dangerous, hazardous, or detrimental to life and health”.

Also in 2016, Stabilizing NYC included Coltown Properties on their publicized worst landlord list as what they say are some of “New York City’s worst  landlords. Property owners whose goal, officials said, is to kick low-rent and rent-stabilized tenants out of their homes then renovate and flip the apartments for more money.”

In a 2017 court case, listed in the Law Journal, Israel Weinberger stated he regretted the fact that a tenant/employee stayed in the building after its sale.

In 2017 meeting, Jonathan Weinberger informed us that rent stabilization is very bad, explaining that because one person pays $1000, another has to  pay more for them to make up for that. He claimed condos bring “a better class of people”

Tenant complaints, hazardous construction and violations among their  buildings continue to be eerily similar.

At the time of writing this document, July 2018 there are 81 violations 16 class “c/” at 66 W. 138 Street. There are pending Tenant initiated Actions here and at two of their converted buildings, 1912 Ave. H, Brooklyn (converted J-51 buildings) and 2107 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn.

In just five of their conversions of affordable housing, there are, as of July 2018, at least 283 open HPD violations and no less than 75 class “c” including lead paint. There were DOB violations /ECB summons at each, stop work orders and working without a permit and/or unlicensed work, at each. They have also been found filing false certification of violation correction either HPD at these buildings.

Review any five of their buildings –their actions mock enforcement and present a clear and disturbing pattern of defined slumlord behavior and absolute disregard for rent regulations.

Many of their DOB job applications, including for buildings owned with Jared Kushner, state their buildings were not occupied or rent stabilized when they were. By doing this DOB does not require a tenant protection plan. They have only recently (after receiving summons 3/2018) corrected DOB applications for this building to reflect that the building is occupied and rent stabilized.

IN CONVERSIONS: Many of their conversions of stabilized housing result in displacement of  tenants and removal of the affordable housing:

At 48-54 W. 138th Street, owner (per deed), Israel Weinberger (as 54 W 138  LLC) accepted J-51 tax abatement but did not register all 88 apartments as rent stabilized. The building transferred to another of their entities 48-54 West 138 LLC (Israel Weinberger was authorized signatory for both entities on mortgage documents, Jonathan Weinberger on others) Then, they filed a “non-eviction” condominium conversion plan which denied the building ever had J-51 tax abatement. Since conversion /first sale of apartment in 2014, less than 10 regulated tenants remain. Per the 17th [2017] Amendment to the conversion plan, the owners/sponsors do not increase stabilized rent budgeted for vacant apartments they retain. Per an earlier Amendment the owners/sponsors claim they will no longer make effort to rent [stabilized] units due to Fannie Mae regulations. Currently the building has 25 HPD violations, 3  class “c” Fannie Mae rules prohibit violations. It could not underwrite a loan for the warehoused apartments currently budgeted at stabilized rents.

At their building, 17 East 17th Street in Brooklyn -Department of Finance  property tax records show 20 rent stabilized units at the time, the sworn condominium conversion plan states there were only 15 stabilized and 5 market rate. Since converting, more tenants are pushed out.

Their building at 1912 Avenue H, Brooklyn and 839 E. 19th Street (known as 1912 Avenue H Condominiums) were also receiving  J-51 tax abatement at the time of conversion, though 839 E. 19th Street had only registered 16 out of 20 stabilized apartments prior to  conversion [per property tax records]. There are few stabilized tenants left and as of today, more than 85 violations on those buildings, 19 class “c”.

During a conversation with the owners of 66 West 138 Street own Engineer admitted that the building actually needs gut renovations in order to be ready for conversion. These owners mean to vacate buildings –including with dangerous construction. DOB records at other buildings show tenant complaints of hazardous work, stop work order and summons which prove it. Here, they have/are gutting several tenants floors, and walls while tenants are present, and continue to gut warehoused apartments creating hazards, receiving a violation for no fire stopping, currently ignoring revoked permits while gutting support walls between apartments, leaving the gas bill unaccounted for (since May 2017) and gas and electrical lines exposed, blocking easement, stirring up 118 year-old toxic dust with new sawdust.

For more than 12 years, these landlords do not follow rules, laws,  regulations, make rent-stabilized tenants lives miserable, disregarding their health, privacy, life, safety; and have pushed out 1000s.