Icon Realty Tenants Applaud Attorney General’s Settlement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE : Monday, October 2, 2017
CONTACT : Rini Fonseca-Sabune • 646-459-3010
Icon Realty Tenants Applaud Attorney General’s Settlement
Tenants rejoice as Icon settles with AG and City Council passes 12 Stand for Tenants Safety bills
to strengthen tenants’ rights and end construction-as-harassment.
New York, NY – Icon Community United (ICU), the organized tenants of ICON Realty Management
owned buildings, cheered last Wednesday as Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, along with Governor
Andrew M. Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, announced a settlement between ICON and the Tenant
Harassment Prevention Task Force . This settlement requires the real estate company, headed by
Terrence Lowenberg and Todd Cohen, to correct building violations, conduct construction safely in
ICON-owned buildings, and pay $500,000 to New York City and New York State.
ICON tenants across the East Village, Lower East Side, and Brooklyn have dealt with widespread issues.
Tenants of 128 2nd Ave., 445 E. 9th St., 57 2nd Ave., 222 E. 12th St., 522 E. 9th St., 56 W. 11th St., and
other buildings have experienced issues such as:
● Extended cooking gas outages
● Disruptions of essential services
(heat, hot water, etc.)
● Numerous lawsuits brought
against tenants
● Mix ups with rent payments
● Intensely disruptive construction
● Lead contamination
● Obstructed entry ways
For years, tenants have alleged that ICON has worked to remove rent regulated tenants and conducted
construction in careless ways. Yesterday, the Attorney General’s office reached an agreement with ICON
which requires them to adopt policies and procedures to prevent future violations and safety risks. This
includes clearing all building code violations, implementing “safe construction practices,” providing
tenants with abatements for periods when essential services are disrupted, and establishing a tenant
liaison and independent monitor to ensure ICON’s compliance with the agreement. Per the settlement,
ICON will also pay $300,000 to the State of New York and over $200,000 in penalties, fees, and costs to
New York City’s Housing Preservation & Development and Department of Buildings.
On the same day that this settlement was reached, City Council voted to pass the 12th and final bill from
Stand for Tenant Safety’s legislative package, which will create a Real Time Enforcement unit within the
Department of Buildings (DOB). This unit will dramatically cut DOB’s response time to complaints filed
by tenants, eliminating the ability of property owners to do work recklessly and without permits. ICON
tenants see both developments as huge, and incontestably linked, victories for tenants. The ICU feels
these victories would not have been possible without organized tenants having come together to force
these issues.
Icon tenants from various neighborhoods around New York City weighed in with their opinions about
the the settlement and the new legislation:
“ Thank you Attorney General Schneiderman, Gov. Cuomo & Mayor De Blasio for working with
tenants to put a stop to the odious treatment and displacement of tenants in rent regulated
buildings,” said Susan Pillay, a 35-year resident of 441 E. 9th Street, East Village. “Landlords
have a responsibility to comply with safe construction practices, and we are hopeful that both
the A.G.’s decision – coupled with new laws to curb landlords’ use of construction-as-harassment
– can lead to a better relationship between tenants and landlords, thus ending the intolerable
disruptions caused by unsafe construction, dust, debris, and lack of essential services.”
“Not long after Icon purchased our building in 2013 we suffered one indignity after another –
from the elevator being made inoperable, to the loss of all gas to the building for nearly two
years, to the lead dust proliferation that our building, which has a number of children, infants,
and elderly people, endured. It felt as though ICON was putting tremendous pressure on
tenants to leave. Ultimately, they succeeded in dislodging several tenants by what looked like a
tenant harassment strategy. Simultaneously the remaining tenants endured yet another cycle of
demolition and construction as they worked on those newly vacated units,” said Jeffrey
Houlihan, a 26-year resident of 56 W 11th Street, West Village. “We were also not surprised at
all to learn that the owners would be willing to file false statements with DOB in order to
expedite this process.”
“I applaud the Attorney General’ s decision and success with holding ICON accountable for their
recurring construction practices. Since ICON purchased the building I live in, I have experienced
the gamut from, multiple ceiling collapses to extensive water damage, due to mismanaged work
by ICON. Incessant construction dust, and inordinate noise and vibrations, were the norm” said
Teri Aderman, a 33-year resident of 295 DeGraw Street, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. “However,
with the recent actions of the Attorney General , and our City Council, I will remain hopeful that
ICON will employ more stringent methods in upcoming construction/demolition activity.”
“ We join tenants across the city applauding the Attorney General actions with ICON.
Construction as harassment is an issue that affects tenants in North Brooklyn in daily basis,” said
Rolando Guzman, Deputy Director of Community Preservation at St. Nick’s Alliance. “Several
ICON tenants in North Brooklyn had to deal with excessive dust, disruption of essential services
due to aggressive and disruptive construction in their buildings. The actions of the Attorney
Office sends a clear message to landlords in New York City: no more construction as
harassment.”
“We applaud the Attorney General and City Council for taking these monumental actions. They
were prompted by a huge groundswell of tenant organizing around these issues,” said Cooper
Square Committee’s Director of Organizing Brandon Kielbasa. “Issues in Icon Realty buildings
were widespread and egregious. This settlement is a very important milestone; however it is not
the end of the campaign. Tenants intend to utilize the settlement to its fullest extent. The ICU
will remain vigilant.”
About Icon Community United
Icon Community United (ICU) is an association of tenants living in properties owned by Icon Realty in
New York City that aims to empower tenants and fight harassment.
Stabilizing NYC
Stabilizing NYC is a coalition comprised of fifteen grassroots neighborhood-based organizations, a
citywide legal service provider and a citywide housing advocacy organization who have come together
to combat tenant harassment and preserve affordable housing for the New Yorkers who need it most.
This project combines legal, advocacy and organizing resources into a citywide network to help tenants
take their predatory equity landlords to task for patchwork repairs, bogus eviction cases, and affirmative
harassment.

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