Rent-Stabilized Yonkers Senior Citizen Homeless for Two Years; Yonkers City Government and Landlord Fail to Act

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Corrupt 1920s America or Yonkers circa 2015?

Corrupt 1920s America or Yonkers circa 2015?

YONKERS, NY — November 15, 2015 — One of our neighbors here at 461 Riverdale Avenue has lived in the building for the past 40 years. She is a senior citizen, model tenant, and continues to work full time. She has raised a family here and paid taxes to the City of Yonkers for four decades.

Two years ago in January 2014 she was made homeless. Our landlord and owner decided to rent to an impaired individual who was being monitored by a mental health organization due to his unpredictable, violent behavior. Predictably, the individual soon began to exhibit bizarre and threatening behavior. He would confront female tenants in the hallways. He would shout and scream and throw furniture at all hours of the night. He would menace lone tenants in the elevator. Concerned tenants wrote letters to the landlord, but the landlord failed to act.

Then late one night the individual set fire to his apartment and his arson nearly compromised the entire seven-floor, prewar building of approximately seventy apartments. Local media coverage was extensive: NBC, WPIX, Westchester News 12, the Journal News, and the Yonkers Tribune all reported on the arson and even covered our tenants’ association meeting at the Yonkers Public Library in the aftermath of the blaze.

A number of tenants were displaced. One chose to move elsewhere. The remaining tenant, the rent-stabilized senior with 40 years in our building, has been fighting for the past two years to return to her apartment. Her apartment itself did not have any fire damage at all. Since the reported arson started two floors above, her apartment only suffered isolated water damage, which was limited to certain ceilings and walls.

In her two years of homelessness, no one in the City of Yonkers government has done anything to expedite her return. Countless people and agencies have been contacted repeatedly, but our correspondence by telephone, e-mail, and letter has been routinely ignored.

We have sought, but have not received, assistance from Yonkers public employees, individuals, and agencies. They are:

Mike Spano, Mayor of the City of Yonkers
(mike.spano@yonkersny.gov)

Gail Burns, Director of Constituent Services under Mayor Spano
(gail.burns@yonkersny.gov)

Corazon Pineda-Isaac, Council Member Yonkers 2nd District
(corazon.pineda@yonkersny.gov)

Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing

William J. Schneider, Commissioner, Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing (william.schneider@yonkersny.gov)

Lawrence Donohue, Inspector Supervisor, Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing (lawrence.donohue@yonkersny.gov)

Matthew Foley, Building Inspector Supervisor, Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing (matthew.foley@yonkersny.gov)

Bart Flanagan, Electrical Inspector, Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing (bart.flanagan@yonkersny.gov)

Patrick Losco, Senior Housing Inspector, Yonkers Department of Buildings & Housing (patrick.losco@yonkersny.gov)

Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers landlord George Nukho, Mediterranean Political Action Committee, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Yonkers, NY.

Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers landlord George Nukho, Mediterranean Political Action Committee, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church in Yonkers, NY.

As we reported previously, however, Mayor Spano took time out from his busy reelection campaign schedule last month to pose for pictures during a private fundraising event with our landlord, George Nukho (25 Hadden Road, Scarsdale,NY) of GEM Management Partners LLC (573 South Broadway, Yonkers NY), who has been described by countless Yonkers residents as a slumlord of the worst kind. But when a senior who has lived for half of her life in the City of Yonkers requests assistance, her requests fall on deaf ears.

Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers landlord George Nukho, and John Khader (right) of the Westchester County Taxi & Limousine Commission, Mediterranean Political Action Committee meeting, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Yonkers.

Mayor Mike Spano, Yonkers landlord George Nukho, and John Khader (right) of the Westchester County Taxi & Limousine Commission, Mediterranean Political Action Committee meeting, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Yonkers.

The landlord’s own insurance company even initiated a fraud investigation into the money he was claiming for repairs to our neighbor’s apartment. He has stalled the repair process, which consists of minor plastering and rewiring, for two years. Such extreme inaction can only be done with the complicity of Yonkers city government.

This is nothing short of scandalous. It reflects the disgraceful, dysfunctional state of Yonkers politics as well as the absolute indifference of elected and appointed officials to the needs of their constituents.

Nick Spano (center) and George Nukho (right), Mediterranean Political Action Committee meeting, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Yonkers.

Nick Spano (center) and George Nukho (right), Mediterranean Political Action Committee meeting, October 7, 2015, Virgin Mary Orthodox Church, Yonkers.

Fundamentally, this deplorable situation reveals a catastrophic failure of local governance and the basest form of exploitation of a senior citizen by a predatory landlord.

And it continues.
Originally posted on November 15, 2015 by 461 Riverdale Avenue Tenants Association

eHeziRent-Stabilized Yonkers Senior Citizen Homeless for Two Years; Yonkers City Government and Landlord Fail to Act

Comments 23

  1. So as a landlord I worked everyday since high school. I never called in sick or accepted charity. I saved my money and bought this building that was filled with senior citizens paying 1975 rent prices and protected by stabilization laws. When I went to the local government to ask them for a property tax breaks and heating cost assistance they said their is nothing they can do to help. I later found out these tenants sublease their apartments to family and friends and pay $300.00 per month for a 2 bedroom apartment in North yonkers while keeping the extra cash.
    I went to court and won all the cases eventually evicted all of the so called senior citizens and had them move into an adult assisted living building in yonkers. No landlord should have to carry the burden of housing senior citizens. The government receives millions of dollars in grants for senior care and adult senior housing.
    Once you reach 65 years of age and still pay rent stabilizations that is just unfair and you need to move on.
    Landlords are not charity centers. The liberal judges in Yonkers allow scumbag tenants to live in my buildings for 5 to 6 months without paying rent because they show “just cause “. These professional tenants go around from building to building in Yonkers actually paying 2 months of rent for the entire year because our judicial system allows them to.
    Landlords still pay utilities, taxes, repairs and you bloggers have the audacity to complain that we are slum lords!
    I voted for Spano because I hope he changes this corrupt system. The tenants are the ones corrupt not the landlord. Put yourself in our shoes and tell me what you would do?
    I doubt you would pay the little old ladies rent.
    My aunt is a little old lady and guess what I give her money every month to help pay her bills. Where is this old ladies’s family?
    Why don’t they help her out.
    If she does not have family then she belongs in senior housing.
    For those of you who don’t know what senior housing is look it up.. They are beautiful apartments paid for by our tax dollars. So as a landlord I not only pay for senior housing but I must house the little old lady in my building for $300.00 month?
    I am Nice but not stupid. … Happy Holidays everyone.

    1. Why did you buy building if it was full of seniors who paid there rent on time? You must be a C.O.Y. employee retired
      And had high hopes of evicting all but it did go that way .
      Now your stuck to bad your a loser and always will be
      hope those seniors live to 105 years old you piece of $hit.

  2. If i bought a building for a lot of money does the gov do anything for the landlord if the rent control makes it unprofitable? Why should someone be on rent control for 40 years? That seems abusive no? Just looking at it from the other side idk if i saved and bought something pricy and someone was paying a fraction of the rent i would want them out

  3. It’s a shame. If she would have had to stay current on the rent, even if the apartment was uninhabitable. Someone could have told her that at landlord tenant court. She can try an appeal if rent is all upto date. Ontherwise she can go back on the housing priority list and apply for victim services.

    1. You need to read and educate yourself… Jordan is the most peaceful country in the middle east and relys on foreign financial support to survive. The Jordanian community has provided the most physicians, lawyers, teachers in Yonkers over the past 20 years. We proudly servethe USA and we have purple heart recipients. We will defend temail USA, we will pay our taxes, and proudly say we are Americans. Please do not confuse us with what ever you are portraying us to be.
      The yonkers Jordanian physicians provide the best health care for over 100,000 yonkers citizens. Our teachers provide education for over 50,000 students, we defend over 25000 citizens in court.
      We are educated, affluent and will continue the tradition.
      Thanks for your racists comments!
      Now, tell me what you do for a living…..

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