Tenants Protest Bowery Landlord Joseph Betesh with Demonstration at Dr. Jay’s this Morning

Posted on: June 14th, 2016 at 5:18 am by
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Advocates of holdout tenants living at 83-85 Bowery now charge that controversial landlord Joseph Betesh misled the public last month that a settlement was reached and that the 27 low-income families would be spared eviction. Apparently, no such accord was forged. The Coalition to Protect Chinatown and the Lower East Side organized a demonstration for this morning outside Betesh’s Dr. Jay’s Brooklyn store (10am) to call him out on his claims and alleged harassment.

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Over a year ago, slumlord Joseph Betesh started evictions against the long-time residents of the building. The tenants came together, vowing not to give up until they win, and sued Betesh for nearly 200 housing repair violations. Last month, Betesh was ordered to complete the major repairs by June 20th or face contempt and possible arrest.

Last month, at a court hearing, Betesh’s lawyer misled the public to believe they reached a settlement with tenants to give them 99-year-long rent-stabilized leases and not evict them. In actuality, Betesh disregarded the tenants’ engineer’s proof that the necessary court-ordered repairs can be done with them remaining in their homes, and insists on them moving out in order to complete the repairs. This is just another excuse to push for eviction.

The tenants and their supporters will protest the continued harassment by Betesh and demand he stop the delays and complete all court-ordered repairs, and register the buildings as rent stabilized now.

Betesh purchased the adjacent tenements at 83-85 Bowery back in 2013 alongside ten other Bowery buildings in a blockbuster portfolio deal valued at $62 million. It didn’t take long for the alleged harassment to begin. Betesh countersued the occupants, claiming that the buildings needed to be vacated for “necessary” infrastructural repairs. All along, advocates argued that Betesh purposely left the property to rot to expedite eviction and demolition.

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