Thirty-seven tenants of three Bushwick buildings, 920 Bushwick
Avenue, 946 Bushwick Avenue and 1075 Greene Avenue are fighting
back against severe harassment they have been facing from their
landlords for the past six months. The tenants are currently involved
in Housing Court and Federal Court proceedings against landlords
Graham and Gregory Jones (Jones brothers) and their managing
building super, Peter Minic, as highlighted in two recent DNAinfo
news pieces.

Brooklyn A staff attorneys Samuel Hamilton Chiera, Caitrin Coccoma,
Joanna Laine, Lina Lee and Sara Wolkensdorfer are currently
representing the tenants in New York City Housing Court on a
Housing Part (HP) action focusing on harassment. Tenants have been
facing months of serious harassment by Minic, including intimidation,
verbal and sexual harassment threats as well as repeated illegal
buyout offers by the landlords. They have reached out to a sexual harassment attorney
to help them with the case. The lawsuit is seeking an immediate
replacement for Minic, as well as existing building violations to be
addressed and repaired.

In addition to Brooklyn A’s filing of the HP in housing court, a federal
fair housing case was brought in the Eastern District of New York on
behalf of three elderly, mobility-impaired tenants of 946 Bushwick
Avenue. In early December of 2016 owners of the building notified
tenants that their elevator service would be completely interrupted
for a period of up to six months starting on January 2, 2017. These
repairs would effectively trap the three tenants in their homes
leaving them unable to care for themselves. Following this
announcement, Brooklyn A attorneys notified the Jones brothers
two separate times that there are elderly tenants who need
reasonable accommodations in the instance that the building
elevator faced a shutdown, to which the Jones’ failed to reply to. On
December 30, less than one week before the scheduled shutdown,
Brooklyn A Staff Attorney Lina Lee was successful in filing and getting
a Temporary Restraining Order prohibiting the landlord from taking
any action to remove elevator service. Brooklyn A returned to court
on Wednesday January 18, for a Preliminary Injunction hearing
regarding the elevator shutdown and reasonable accommodation for
the clients. The parties are back in court next week.

The Jones brothers are emblematic of the kind of speculative and
dishonest landlords that engage in systemic patterns of harassment
to force out tenants in neighborhoods like Bushwick and throughout
Brooklyn. In a 2015 New York Times article, the news outlet
perplexingly highlighted and praised the Jones brothers’ business
model where they target small rundown buildings and “boot out or
buy out tenants in some of the rent-stabilized units.” In instances
where tenants refused to take buyouts or chose to protest these
unfair practices, the Jones brothers utilized construction-asharassment
tactics to ensure tenants suffered so greatly that they
ultimately gave in. In fact, their website states that they are in the
business of “property level value creation derived through rent
growth and expense reduction.”

Brooklyn A is actively representing the tenants of these three
Bushwick buildings. The tenants are taking action to defend their
rights and homes against the predatory tactics of the Jones
brothers– sending a collective message that they are not for sale
and will not be intimidated. Brooklyn A will be with them every step
of the way, aggressively fighting on their behalf.

Follow the below links to read recent press coverage of this topic:
Landlords Use Abusive Super in Bid to Boot Out Rent-Reg Tenants, Suits Say
Landlord Who Bragged to NY Times of Flipping Homes Sued by Disabled Tenants