Pols, Tenants Say Landlord Creates Unsafe Conditions

Monday, August 15th, 2011

By Allen Houston

Local politicians and tenants rallied on Aug. 5 against a landlord they claim has created unsafe living conditions at 350 East 52nd Street.

Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, State Sen. Liz Krueger, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and building tenants as well as workers from 32BJ SEIU, the union that represents doormen and other building workers.

Landlord William Koeppel was one of a dozen building owners who were unable to work out a new contract with the union last year, so he fired the old building workers and brought in a new staff of temporary workers. Garbage piled up at the building because garbage collectors refused to cross the picket lines, bringing rats to the building, some residents claim. The new doormen have been accused of being less vigilant, harassing renters and, in one case, giving the key to an apartment to a person that they shouldn’t have…

…Krueger first became aware of the situation when complaints started coming in to her district office.

“This isn’t a tenement building. This is a market rate building in a lovely neighborhood and the residents are paying a healthy amount of money to live here. Until this labor dispute erupted they felt pretty happy, but since then they’ve felt continually harassed by the landlord,” she said.

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