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East Eighth Street Tenants Fight Back

Janette BrownRachel OhmJanette Brown holds a copy of the letter she and six other residents sent to the state Attorney General in an effort to fight against the purchase of 390 East Eighth Street, a low-income housing building, by Tower Brokerage.
Carlos BaezCarlos Baez has been a resident of 390 East Eighth Street for over 30 years. Rachel Ohm

For 36 years Carlos Baez, 63, has called 390 East Eighth Street home. The two bedroom apartment that he shares with his niece on the first floor of the building holds his large collection of VCR tapes, which includes every Whoopi Goldberg and Charles Bronson movie ever made. Because he used to be the super of the building, Baez’s apartment is bigger than most and is conveniently located on the first floor, the perfect spot because his 14-year-old dog, Little, has arthritis and can barely walk up stairs.

And yet he’s thinking of moving.

On Feb. 25, 390 East Eighth Street, a dedicated low-income housing building, was sold to Tower Brokerage, an East Village real estate developer with plans to put in market-rate apartments.

The HDFC, the tenant-owned and operated corporation that currently owns the building, finally conceded to the sale seeing no way out from a financial debt that accumulated during the years the building was being run by a non-profit called Interfaith Adopt-a-Building.

The building “owes the city about $1.2 million in water bills and taxes,” said Robert Perl, president of Tower Brokerage. “This sale is the only way to pay the city funds.”
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Court Delays Eviction of Nonprofit

IMG_7728Maya Millett Trudy Silver and Bruce Morris, owners of the 5C Cultural Center, at State Supreme Court earlier today.

A State Supreme Court justice today postponed the eviction of a nonprofit East Village arts center, which has been locked in a dispute with its co-op board for the past 15 years.

The disagreement, between the 5C Cultural Center, a nonprofit devoted to promoting jazz and the arts, and the co-op board at 702 East Fifth Street, revolves around whether the center broke a series of lease agreements regarding building repairs and music performances.

The board initiated eviction proceedings in April but earlier today Justice Saliann Scarpulla asked the two sides to try to negotiate a settlement out of court before moving forward with the eviction process.
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