Local Pols Fight for Tenants’ Rights at Samy Mahfar’s 102 Norfolk Street

Posted on: October 20th, 2014 at 5:19 am by
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Local politicians are rallying around the plight of embattled tenants of 102 Norfolk Street. Those residential holdouts are living amidst unsafe conditions under Samy Mahfar’s ownership, who purchased the building last year for $11 million. Councilwoman Margaret Chin, State Senator Daniel Squadron, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Manhattan BP Gale Brewer collectively sent a letter to the controversial owner expressing concern over the situation.

Of particular note is the fact that lead dust was confirmed onsite by the Department of Health. Obtaining this nugget of information wasn’t easy, and a perfect example of the strongarm tactics employed by Mahfar. At one point last spring, his deputies refused access for an inspection, which, by the way, is illegal. Only with the assistance of the 7th Precinct were inspectors able to gain access for testing. A follow-up inspection in June re-confirmed the presence of lead when 9 of 17 swabs tested positive, a fear that tenants had from the onset of renovation.

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Inside 102 Norfolk, July 2013

Not to mention, we are told that major renovations continue to disrupt quality of life, including on Saturdays. SMA Equities was somehow able to secure approval (and continued renewals) for an After Hours Variance from DOB, despite recent stop-work orders and denying various city agencies access to the building.

Communications are futile. A meeting last month was held between Mahfar, tenants DOH, DOB, HPD, and lead paint experts to help define an acceptable (i.e. safe) mitigation plan for 102 Norfolk.

As for the brave remnant, 13 of the 25 total apartments at 102 Norfolk are currently rent-stabilized. Some are lower income tenants who don’t speak English, who Mahfar reportedly tried to lowball with buyouts. The other dozen market rate units are in varying states of renovation. Meanwhile, the 8 habitable vacancies – 3BRs – are all being repped by REAL New York, a brokerage that reportedly has ties to Mahfar’s.

While the letter outlines the alleged harrassment history here, it simply doesn’t go far enough in chastising Mahfar. We’ll just have to wait for the Tenant Harassment law to take effect in six months.

Letter to Mahfar Re 102 Norfolk

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