2001-01-27 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey...by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Chatting With Chapey...by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey

Fighting For Tenants Rights

As President of the Atlantis Tenants Association, I called a meeting of the tenants on Friday, January 19, 2001 to alert them to the most recent developments concerning the building at 107-10 Shore Front parkway.

Currently, these issues are in the United States Bankruptcy Court under the jurisdiction of Judge Allan Gropper.  In December, 2000, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Senator Malcolm Smith and Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer wrote a letter to Judge Allan Gropper at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at 1 Bowling Green in New York City regarding the protection of the rights of the tenants in 107-10 Shore Front parkway, 106-20 Shore Front parkway and 1 Beach 105 street.  The letter states, "As elected officials representing the tenants of the Dayton Seaside Towers in the Rockaway portion of our districts, we write to you regarding the ongoing litigation between the City of New York and the Dayton Operating Company currently before the court." The Weiner, Smith, Pheffer letter continues, "The owners of Dayton Seaside have allowed the conditions of these buildings to deteriorate into a terrible state of disrepair.  This has caused the residents of the Dayton Seaside to live in deplorable and substandard conditions for many years. From the crumbling facades, to the deteriorating balconies, to broken windows, Dayton Management has failed to make even the most basic repairs."  The owners claim that they cannot make the necessary repairs because there is no closure on the tax issue.

Weiner, Smith and Pheffer "ask that however the court rules," the judge "take into account the full concerns of the residents of Dayton Seaside Towers when making a decision. Specifically, we urge that your ruling offer guidance concerning the nine-year phase in to full property taxes (pursuant to Real Estate Tax Law 423-RPTL #423) as it effects the tenants living in the buildings.  We believe our constituents should receive the full benefit of RPTL #423 as the law was intended."  The elected officials note that our constituents should not be held responsible for issues that are not within their control.

In December, the judge in the bankruptcy court ruled on the tax issue.  His decision states that taxes are due from 1992 to 1996.  Congressman Weiner, Senator Smith, Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, Jo Ann Shapiro, Barbara Buffalino and I are monitoring this issue closely.

Another point that is of interest to the tenants is that HUD now holds the mortgages on 107-10 and 106-20.  They are (upon information and belief) currently looking to sell the mortgages.  It is our understanding that the Zukermans have been paying the mortgage, so under this procedure the ownership of the buildings would not change. The vendor holding the mortgages would change. Tenants who are currently under SCRIE would continue in that program.

It is important to all our elected officials and the tenant leaders that subsequent issues regarding the tenants would include a non-eviction clause to cover all tenants who are currently living in the buildings.  As the bankruptcy court issues move along many different scenarios may arise, as I mentioned at the meeting in the lobby. We will keep you informed as we continue to fight for your rights.

During the 2001 legislative session in Albany, there are many issues that
are of concern to our tenants.  We will be lobbying for: (1) Reform of the Major Capital Improvement rent increase program; (2) Protecting senior citizens by increasing the income for SCRIE eligibility; (3) Reform of the Rent Guidelines Board member selection and decision-making process; and other tenant issues.

On another topic, I would like to commend Beverly Baxter for her great article last week in The Wave. Beverly's style of writing is very engaging. Last week she highlighted the life and accomplishments of John McLoughlin.  John has really prospered  "On the Beach" which coincides with the title of Beverly's column.

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