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Mosaic Man Avoids Eviction, Agrees to Pay Back Rent

photo(330)Melvin Felix The Mosaic Man’s cane and service
dog, in court today.

After being thrown out of his studio in the basement of Barbiere, Jim Power avoided eviction from his apartment at The Lee today. Mr. Power, known for creating the neighborhood’s mosaic trail and outfitting local businesses like Porchetta and The Bean, agreed to pay $547.29 in outstanding rent by the end of September, staving off a return to homelessness.

In July, the low-income residence brought a lawsuit demanding $806.66 in back rent and requesting a final judgment of eviction. The Mosaic Man said he had stopped paying the monthly dues for his rent-stabilized apartment in order to protest a slew of problems at 133 Pitt Street. This week, he told The Local, he found a pool of blood in a building elevator.

“It’s shocking,” Mr. Power said. “They need to put a security guard in there with a gun.” (The Local has left a message with a spokesperson for Common Ground requesting comment.) Read more…

After Vow to Stay and Fight, a Move to Washington Heights

Sue PalhakSarah Darville Sue Palchak-Essenpreis

When Council Member Rosie Mendez joined the residents of three buildings on Third Street last month to protest the non-renewal of their leases, Sue Palchak-Essenpreis vowed to stay put past the end of her lease on May 14. And she did just that: her one-bedroom apartment is still jam-packed with bookshelves, and plants are perched on almost every windowsill. But last night, she signed a new lease for an apartment in Washington Heights. On July 4, she’ll move out of her third-floor apartment at 50 East Third Street. But first, she has an appointment downtown.

On Friday, she and her husband Greg Essenpreis will appear in Housing Court in hopes that a judge will keep them from having to pay the legal fees of their landlord, Abe Haruvi. That would mark the end of the high-profile protest against the owner of 50, 54, and 58 East Third Street, who did not renew the leases of some 17 tenants whose contracts with his company, Abart Holdings, were running out this summer. After a few months of outcry, most of the buildings’ residents are now moving on.

Since Ms. Palchak-Essenpreis began organizing tenants, she said, there has been more fleeing than fighting. “There has been a different moving truck in front of the building almost every day for the last two weeks,” she admitted. “After I sent off the e-mail – ‘We’re going to court!’ – it was like a cartoon: everyone ran off.” Read more…

DocuDrama: Gathering of the Tribes Told to Leave Within 10 Days

285-287 East Third StreetG.V.S.H.P. The Gathering of the Tribes building.

The battle between Gathering of the Tribes and its landlord rages on.

Yesterday the founder of the art space at 285 East Third Street, Steve Cannon, was served with a formal “10-day notice of termination” for “continued use of the premises as an office and art gallery, which is contrary to the lawful usage permitted by the certificate of occupancy for the building.”

The document (below) goes on to cite a violation from the Department of Buildings, as well as parties that have “disturbed the quiet enjoyment as well as affected the safety of other tenants in the building” as other reasons for the notice. Read more…

Living Theatre Makes Last Ditch Effort for Survival

Lucky Ant

Last Thursday, Brad Burgess was able to stop city marshals from evicting The Living Theatre after gathering $10,400 for back rent. But in 12 days the theater, known for its avant garde productions admired by the likes of Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino, faces yet another deadline. If The Living Theatre cannot raise $24,000 by May 14 it will have to move out. Its founder, Judith Malina, will likely face eviction from her apartment above the theater shortly thereafter.

To meet the goal, the theater has set up a call for donations that went live yesterday through a local crowd-funding site, Lucky Ant. The $24,000 would go towards arrears, as well as the money to pay a consultant who would formulate a plan to put the theater back in the black.

“We are down to the wire,” said Mr. Burgess, the 27-year-old actor who is caring for Ms. Malina and helping run the theater. Read more…

DocuDrama: 5C Cultural Center Avoids Eviction, But at a Price

IMG_7699Maya Millett The 5C Cultural Center, 68 Avenue C.

Update | 10:57 a.m. This article was revised to include comments from Bruce Morris, the co-owner of 5C Cultural Center, who responded to several phone calls from The Local shortly after the story was posted.

After 17 years of bad blood, injunction orders, and noise complaints, the co-op board of 702 East Fifth Street dropped its eviction of 5C Cultural Center and Cafe yesterday.

The decision draws the lengthy court battle to a close, though it’s far from certain that the conflict between the art and performance space and its upstairs neighbors has been resolved. In fact, the outcome may not be as favorable for the owners of 5C as it appears.

According to David Studer, the maintenance coordinator for the building, the board had been trying to drop the eviction for the past year, but the owners of 5C resisted, opting to keep an injunction in place that discouraged their landlords from seeking the monthly rent. Yesterday a judge sided with the board and lifted that injunction on the grounds that it was moot because the board no longer wished to evict 5C. Now the board is free to pursue around $16,000 in back rent. Read more…

More Than $14,000 Behind on Rent, She’s Telling the City to Put a Deal in Writing

IMG_Pat  James 20624Evan Bleier

Patricia James has been a resident of the Two Bridges public housing complex for more than half of her 67 years. About two years ago, mice began entering her apartment through holes underneath the radiators. The rodents, she said, were eating her food, nesting in her clothes and disrupting her family life. “At night my grandchildren can’t stay over,” she told The Local. “They get in the bed.” She said the New York City Housing Authority failed to fix the problem, so she stopped paying her $517-per-month rent.

In March of 2011, the Housing Authority deemed Ms. James chronically delinquent and began eviction proceedings. Between her back rent and other fees, she now owes more than $14,000.

After a month of negotiations between her lawyer and the city, the two parties have come to an agreement in principle, and Ms. James has readied a cashier’s check for $15,000. But she hasn’t yet turned it over. The Housing Authority, she said, has pledged to allow her to remain in her apartment so long as she pays the back rent, but it has refused to put it in writing — an odd tactic that her lawyer says he has never confronted in 35 years of practice. Read more…

Video: ‘Occupy Tribes Now,’ an Art Show to Save Gathering of the Tribes

Earlier this month, and then again in a preview of gallery openings, The Local reported that Steve Cannon was planning an exhibition to raise money for his legal battle against the landlord who is attempting to push him out of his apartment and art space, Gathering of the Tribes. On Friday, The Local visited the opening of “Occupy Tribes Now” and came back with this video.

Tribes Founder Seeks New Landlord

285-287 East Third StreetGreenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation. The Gathering of the Tribes building at 285-287
East Third Street.

The blind poet behind Gathering of the Tribes is on the hunt for a wealthy benefactor who will buy his building on East Third Street near Avenue C — a move that would, in theory, stop his pending eviction.

In an e-mail forwarded to The Local, Steve Cannon urged his supporters to spread the word that his landlord, Lorraine Zhang, wishes to sell the building.

“Ultimately, what we were told was Lorraine wants to get rid of the building,” wrote Mr. Cannon. “Is there a possibility of any interest in investing/buying the building and making it all Gathering of the Tribes and getting someone to run it?” Read more…

Party On at Gathering of the Tribes

IMG_9997Ruth Spencer Steve Cannon, founder of Gathering of the Tribes.

An eviction notice has been served to Gathering of the Tribes, but the revelry will go on at least until the end of the month.

Steve Cannon, the founder of the eclectic art collective on Third Street, has a bash planned for tonight and Jan. 14. The announcement comes less than a week after the landlord, Lorraine Zhang, told Mr. Cannon he would have to leave his headquarters by Jan. 31.

“I’m not going to stop what I’m doing, I’m going to see how I can fight her,” Mr. Cannon said of his landlord.

Ms. Zhang isn’t backing down either, and it seems likely the litany of complaints that she and Mr. Cannon have against each other (which are long standing) are bound to be aired in court. “I do what I got to do as a landlord to protect my other tenants,” Ms. Zhang said today. “He doesn’t clean up the backyard for weeks after he uses it. He left me no choice. He doesn’t own the property.”

Tonight’s party commemorates the final night of the “Where Am I” exhibit, which takes inspiration from Mr. Cannon’s blindness. The next exhibit, “Zero, Infinity and the Guides” showcases “archetypes present in the inner life” of artist and CUNY student Erin Cormody. “These eight paintings also portray the phases of the moon. Also, she paints the ‘words’ of an internal universal voice, which wants to share the paradox of truth,” according to a press release.

DocuDrama: Gathering of the Tribes Told to Be Out Next Month

285-287 East Third StreetG.V.S.H.P.

After defying his landlord’s repeated requests to stop holding events at A Gathering of the Tribes, Steve Cannon,who founded the homegrown gallery in 1991, has received a notice ordering him to vacate his East Third Street live-work space by Feb. 1. The gallerist, who said that he had neglected to sign a new rent agreement in part because he is blind, has vowed to prevent yet another disappearance of an eccentric art space.

“I’m going to fight her,” Mr. Cannon said of his landlord. “I don’t think she has a leg to stand on.” Read more…

Jimmy McMillan Doesn’t Have to Prove to You That He’s an East Villager

IMG_0034Meghan Keneally Jimmy McMillan is facing eviction from his rent stabilized apartment on St. Mark’s Place, though when working, he spends much of his time in his car.

This morning, The New York Post reported that the city’s most memorable gubernatorial also-ran, Jimmy McMillan, says he is facing eviction because, according to his landlord, his St. Marks apartment is not his main residence (it’s said he works largely in Brooklyn, where the headquarters of The Rent is Too Damn High party are also located.) Mr. McMillan has reportedly lived in the East Village apartment since 1977, but when The Local contacted him (perhaps he, too, would share some of his favorite brunch spots?), he didn’t seem eager to show off his East Village bona fides.

“As an independent undercover investigator, I need to be careful about my family’s safety,” Mr. McMillan said. “I will not give out information about my rent or location. I have a constitutional right to privacy and I will not tell you or anyone where I slept last night or where I am going to sleep tonight.” Read more…