Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Monday, May 21, 2007
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Victor Caletre has been deported. That is hard to do in New York city where illegal aliens have as many or more rights than its legal citizens. Generally speaking, you have to commit a crime. Caletre, along with his partner in crime, Juan Haro, was a founder of the sham organization Movement For Justice in El Barrio. This organization’s claim to fame is its captive reporter, Albor Ruiz, who writes biased, distorted and untruthful stories for the Daily News under the guise of reporting the news. They are further supported by another sham organization, Housing Here and Now, which has its own gang of reporter lap dogs. They have tapped into an activist writer for El Diario whose daughter has written the same kind of rhetoric for the Village Voice. Shamefully, they also have a New York City Councilwoman in their pocket, East Harlem’s Melissa Mark Viverito, the wealthy German socialite, who lives in a $1,000,000 townhouse, masquerading as an Hispanic from the neighborhood, and whines about gentrification. In his article about alleged abusive landlords, Ruiz seeks to characterize the Movement’s fight against landlord Steven Kessner as a Samson versus Goliath type of battle. The reality is that the Movement for Justice in El Barrio is a gang of thugs who are victimizing their own people. Housing Here and Now is no more than an outlet for rants against landlords in general. What Caletre and Haro are doing is enabling illegal immigrants to be crowded into small apartments like herds of sheep. While Victor Caletre was falsely crusading against Steven Kessner, he was renting an apartment from him, in which he did not live. Instead he in turn rented his small two bedroom apartment to nine adults who paid him rent. In ranting and raving about abusive landlords, these organizations are seeking to divert attention from their shameful pursuit of the almighty dollar. Steven Kessner, who is one of the victims here, has only been attempting to clean up his building and reduce the unlawful overcrowding. Since that would have an adverse impact on the pocket books of the people who are preying on these unfortunate immigrants, they are desperately trying to stay in business, any way that they can. Victor Caletre is out of business. Hopefully, Haro will be soon, Steven Kessner will win his fight against illegal overcrowding and the media circus will end, or at least move on to villifying someone else.
Monday, October 23, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Steven Kessner reported that their building at 154 East 106th Street has recently had all new wiring installed throughout and is in the process of having a new boiler installed. Kessner, president of the R.E. Group, which is the largest “for profit” apartment owner in East Harlem, stated that this $50,000 upgrade is a continuation of the company’s policy of reinvesting in their buildings to maintain their value for the long term. Steven Kessner has been a major factor in the renaissance of East Harlem for 25 years, turning distressed buildings into quality, affordable housing.
Monday, July 17, 2006
There have been a number of articles and news clips recently about Steven Kessner and his R. E. Group. Some have been fair and balanced but many are driven by the media ties to politicians and non profit groups supporting the undocumented immigrant population. They are trying to paint Kessner as anti Hispanic but nothing could be further from the truth. The smoke screen that they constantly throw up are the numbers of violations in Kessner buildings. Steven Kessner employs over 55 people in his organization and the majority of them are Hispanic, from the Neighborhood. These are the people entrusted with the day to day operations of Kessner’s company and they are the ones directly responsible for abating the violations in the buildings. Steven Kessner sets the policy; maintain the safety and the quality of life in his buildings, complete and certify new violations before they are due and continually reduce the numbers of outstanding old violations. Its an open secret in the real estate industry that numbers of violations alone do not tell the real story about a building. So, lets take a look at the real story behind the violations in some of the Kessner buildings that have been attacked in the news media.
First, as a case in point, we would like to provide an in depth look at 291 Pleasant Avenue. This is a 16 unit building with 97 violations, or above 6 per unit. Ostensibly, this would be on HPD’s radar as a “building at risk.” However, a closer examination of the violation report reveals that 56 violations are in one apartment, including 37 duplicate violations. In other words, this tenant calls HPD over and over again about the same few things and then refuses access for the purpose of repairing them. 9 of the duplicate violations are for vermin and rodents. According to our exterminator’s records, the tenant has refused access every month. The purpose behind this tenant’s actions is to avoid paying any rent and she has not paid for several years. We also have a petition from every other tenant in the building and surrounding buildings, stating that this tenant is constantly harassing everyone else in the building and on the street. Aside from this one apartment, 8 of the violations are not due or are certified and awaiting dismissal. 18 violations are in two other apartments, of which 7 are no access for the purpose of dismissal. In terms of real violations in this building, there are about 20, all concentrated in one apartment, which we cannot access to abate them. A close examination of this building therefore reveals that, while it may appear to be violation ridden, the story is really about one tenant who is abusing the system to avoid paying rent.
One of the darlings in the news media is Steven Kessner’s building at 231 East 117th Street. This is because there are approximately 100 Hispanic people living in this building. What the media fails to disclose is that most of them are crammed into several illegally overcrowded apartments. This is not the fault of Steven Kessner; he originally rented each apartment to two people who sublet to up to fifteen other people in each apartment and then moved out themselves. One article showed a picture of a moldy bathroom ceiling in this building. Again, they fail to disclose that 20 people were probably living in the apartment, showering once or twice a day. Of course there is mold in the bathroom. It wasn’t meant to take that kind of abuse. So, lets look at the breakdown of violations outstanding in this building at the time the news article was written:
231 East 117th Street - 164 Violations; 4.7 per unit
76 violations were new and not due yet. Most, if not all were certified before they were due
101 violations are concentrated in three apartments
Of the 89 older violations, 60 have been taken care of, 30 are no access and 4 are tenant created.
This leaves 25 violations in the building; under 1 per unit.
The largest concentration of violations are in two overcrowded apartments
Fourteen people in this building formed into a tenant association. Seven of them are in court with pending non payment or holdover cases, three are not our tenants and a few just signed to be good neighbors. Five of these apartments are identified as dangerously overcrowded.
Every building that Steven Kessner owns was extremely distressed when he acquired it and he has poured his heart and soul into turning them around. It is painful to see people move in, occupy them illegally and destroy them. Kessner is also disturbed to be the subject of a media barrage because of those people, based on raw information gathered from the City. The vast majority of tenants in Kessner owned buildings live peaceably, in comfort and have no problems with him. Unfortunately, this is news that doesn’t sell and that is why the media does not provide the proper coverage.
For more information about Steven Kessner and his company look up his personal website www.StevenKessner.org or the company website www.RE-Management.com.
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
There are undoubtedly a large number of bad landlords in New York City. One would think that the Voice could find them and write about them instead of playing patty cake with non profit groups, rabble rousers and local politicians. Every year it comes out with its 10 WORST LANDLORDS, not to do a service to the public but to sell newspapers. The Village Voice is of course, known for its propensity toward attention grabbing headlines and lurid photographs and this article is no different. All one has to do to take its measure is to look at who advertises and pays their bills. Maybe what is needed is an article about the 10 WORST NEWSPAPERS in terms of how many X rated ads offering illegal services they have. Back to the issue at hand, we could perhaps all agree that HUD is the country’s number one worst landlord; that’s a given. However, without speaking for the rest, they really missed the mark by naming Steven Kessner. You can chalk it up to a reporter losing her objectivity and allowing herself to be led around by the nose by a tenant group with a hidden agenda.
Although the article pays lip service to Kessner’s claim that overcrowding apartments is the issue, it is glossed over and buried in the details, for instance, the photo in the article of mold on a tenants bathroom ceiling. What is not being said is that if 20 people live in an apartment with one bathroom, each showering once or twice a day, the ceiling never dries and mold grows. There is nothing that a landlord can do to prevent that except to try and reduce the occupancy load in the unit. Steven Kessner is trying to do that and has opened himself up as a target for the politically connected non profit groups that support the undocumented alien population in New York. Isn’t it strange that all of the articles written about Kessner cite the same couple of tenants? Although this article mentions that he has almost 60 buildings in East Harlem with over 1200 units, Kessner’s inclusion in the article is based on two tenants in two buildings. The Voice reporter makes sure to mention that Steven Kessner has over 3,000 HPD violations. Again, she fails to mention that these violations are spread over 60 buildings or that most of them have been abated but are not removed from record because the city inspectors can’t gain access to the apartments. Nor does she mention that a majority of the violations that are left are in overcrowded apartments. The article starts off by quoting Steven Kessner as saying “I fix it, they break it.” However, it fails to back up that quote with the evidence that was given to the reporter, instead, using alleged conditions in a couple of apartments to build a case for a two tier portfolio of trophy buildings and buildings dedicated to unfortunate immigrants. The conclusion of this article was written first and the rest was then filled in. Shame on the Village Voice. How about this for your next article....NIGHTMARE TENANTS that destroy apartments and then insist that the landlord has an obligation to repair them.
For more information on Steven Kessner, look up his website www.StevenKessner.org or his company website www.re-management.com