New York Landlord Awarded Massive Fees From Veteran in Harassment and Eviction CaseNew York, NY. In a matter now filed with the Attorney General’s Tenant Harassment Prevention Task Force, the New York Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision to charge a tenant for all legal fees a landlord incurred in attempts to evict him. The matter was initially brought to the court’s attention when the landlord, Larry Ginsberg, head of Algin Management/Laurence Towers LLC, and owner of over thirty high-rise buildings in New York, representing a net worth of multi- billions, filed to evict a 40-year tenant on the basis of a late payment of one rental check.
Tenant Gerard Sunnen claims that this one check was duly sent but simply not cashed. “Rent checks were cashed by the landlord for forty years, and one month, nothing. They had let it be known that the market value of the apartment was a third more, conveying the message that if not addressed, eviction would follow. Now known is that this is a common tactic of some New York landlords to flip apartments out of rent stabilization.
The matter initially landed in NYC’s Housing Court, where months of court appearances cumulated landlord’s legal fees, now billed to the tenant. Demanding some $19,800 reflecting the copious rates of the landlord’s lawyers, Belkin, Burden, Wenig and Goldman, LLP, the matter went to Justice Anne Katz, head of NY’s Housing Court. Katz upheld the landlord’s demand.
Sunnen, a Vietnam–era U.S. veteran (USAF-MC 71-73; USAF Reserves 73-82), baffled by the verdict states, “After active military duty, that was a first rental, and since then all charges were duly paid. The landlord, however, relentlessly tried to nix the rent stabilization guidelines of New York’s DHCR, and this with some success. Sunnen adds, “Threatened with eviction I narrowly escaped the City Marshall’ s devastating services.”
Appealing the decision to the NY Supreme Court Appellate Term, First Department, the matter awaited final adjudication. In a January 2017 decision, justices Martin Shulman, Martin Schoenfeld, and Doris Ling-Cohan upheld Katz’s order.
“Tenants’ rights are sacrosanct in many cities around the world,” Sunnen added, “where community cohesion is so well respected. In these turbulent times moving to upend the essence of New York’s proprietary cultural fabric via massive real estate upheavals, veterans as all New Yorkers, should live in the safety of spaces adequately shielded from powerful predatory interests, all in context of a protective and humanist judicial system.“
200 East 33rd Street, 26J
New York, NY 10016
References: Index No. L&T 92116/02
NY County Clerk # 570869/2016
This is a veteran-owned company engaged in the development of psychological tests.
Gerard Sunnen, MD
200 East 33rd Street, 26J
New York, NY 10016
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