[A] conversion has sparked several confrontations of the kind familiar when rent-stabilized apartments are vacated so they can be turned into luxury condos.
[The current owner] bought the 1940 property at East 71st Street in 2011 with CIM Group and other partners in a deal valued at $360 million. Work has progressed rapidly, and exterior brick recently emerged from under a scaffold, gleaming and with new windows.
[He] induced many tenants to move out with generous buyouts, including in some cases new homes in other buildings. But along the way, he has sued, and been sued by, several tenants.
He’s also sued the prewar building’s former owners, the Katz family, for allegedly failing to disclose lease terms of certain longtime residents.
Now comes the thorny matter of apartment 7A, where the septuagenarian [and] longtime tenant… has resisted buyout offers.
A Housing Court judge has ordered [the owner] to restore gas and other services to [the longtime tenant], who claimed in a five-day trial last week that he’s been without gas since January.
In addition, [the tenant] claimed, he’s suffered from “harassment,” intermittent electrical shutdowns, loss of security, a partial ceiling collapse and holes punched in his walls Specialists hired by [the tenant’s] lawyer, Adam Leitman Bailey, also found lead and high asbestos levels in the building.
[The tenant] — who was born in the Krakow ghetto in 1942, served in the US Army and has lived [in the building] since 1980 — declined to comment.
But “it has been a nightmare for him,” Bailey said. “We applaud Judge Cheryl Gonzales for requiring [our client’s] longtime home to be returned to a habitable condition.”
The judge ordered certain violations corrected within 24 hours and gas restored within 30 days…