Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo’s office let it be known that the state Tenant Protection Unit had served a subpoena in connection with an investigation of Marolda Properties, which owns many buildings on the Lower East Side and in Chinatown. The firm is accused of harassing and exploiting rent regulated tenants by filing frivolous lawsuits, refusing to make repairs and by using other unscrupulous tactics.
CAAAV Organizing Asian Communities, a local non-profit-group, held a news conference in front of one of Marolda’s buildings, 90 Elizabeth St., yesterday to praise the state agency’s investigation. Last year, residents in many of the Marolda’s properties joined a coalition to stand up for their rights. They were assisted by CAAAV, as well as other organizations, such as MFY Legal Services, Asian Americans for Equality, Cooper Square Committee and University Settlement.
Several tenants spoke during the event. Betty Eng, who has lived at 90 Elizabeth St. all of her 43 years, said Marolda has taken her to court, in an attempt to prove she is living in the family apartment illegally. Eng said those allegations are untrue and she complained that conditions in the building are deplorable. There’s a terrible rat problem and the owner has repeatedly failed to make repairs. “I just want the right to stay in the neighborhood where I’ve been living my whole life,” Eng said.
Also present at yesterday’s news conference was City Council member Margaret Chin, who said, “I’m so pleased that Governor Cuomo and the Tenant Protection Unit are strongly investigating Marolda Properties for alleged illegal harassment of their rent-regulated tenants, and I look forward to seeing justice for these families.”
Last year, MFY Legal Services compiled a list of Marolda-managed buildings throughout New York City. Below we have highlighted some of the firm’s properties on the LES, below East Houston Street. Marolda owns or manages at least a dozen more buildings between East Houston and East 14th Street.83 Baxter St. 90 Elizabeth St. 105 Eldridge St. 13 Essex St. 15 Essex St. 72 Forsyth St. 100 Forsyth St. 102 Forsyth St. 104 Forsyth St. 65 Ludlow St. 144-150 Ludlow St. 7 Rivington St. 92 Rivington St.
Michael Grinthal, MFY’s supervising attorney, told us a federal lawsuit filed earlier this year against Marolda on behalf of two tenants at 7 Rivington St. is likely to be settled sometime soon.