EAST VILLAGE — Tenants of a landlord under investigation by the state have banded together in an effort to end months of harassment, according to an email by the Toledano Tenants Coalition.
The coalition, made up of occupants of 17 properties owned by Raphael Toledano of Brookhill Properties, accused the landlord of intentionally driving away rent-regulated tenants through “frivolous” lawsuits, persistent buyout offers and other methods in an email sent to Toledano Tuesday morning.
"Mr. Raphael Toledano, your tenants feel harassed," the group wrote in the subject of the email, which was also sent to elected officials and reporters.
His efforts, the coalition said, have included threats to cut off heat and hot water as well as refusing to renew leases and following residents in and around their buildings. He also told some residents his goal was to remove rent-regulated tenants from their homes, the email said.
Toledano is currently being investigated by the state following claims of tenant harassment.
The Tenant Protection Unit subpoenaed companies he owned last August, months after residents at 444 E. 13th St. took Goldmark Property Management to court, claiming Toledano was trying to drive them out of their homes through illegal construction and by refusing to make repairs in their apartments.
However, a Toledano spokesman told DNAinfo New York in August 2015 that "Mr. Toledano has no ownership stake in" the management company. The spokesman also denied the allegations.
The Toledano Tenants Coalition formed in July and meets each month, according to the Villager, which first wrote about the group last month.
Tenants from various buildings decided to team up and form the coalition following reports of tenant harassment at 444 E. 13th St. and after experiencing “an alarming amount of alleged harassment,” the group wrote.
In the letter, the coalition asked Toledano to “examine your methods of operation and comply with all laws.”
“We would like our interactions with you to reflect the civility and respect that we believe we deserve,” the coalition wrote.
“We would ask that you treat your role as a landlord with the gravity it deserves, and that you respect both the letter and the spirit of the law.”
A Toledano spokesman denied the email's accusations Wednesday, saying Toldeano and his employees "treat every tenant with complete respect."
"These baseless accusations coming from a faceless organization are false and do not reflect or represent the feelings of the tenants we interact with on a daily basis," the spokesman said in a statement.
"The truth of the matter is, Brookhill is a valued part of the East Village community including the company’s work contributing to and volunteering at the Trinity Services and Food for the Homeless facility on E. 9th Street. Over the course of the next year, we will continue ensuring that all of our tenants’ needs are met — while continuing to work with valued partners to give back to our community.”