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Update December 5, 2014- Nothing has changed from the status described below. A few of the promised new heating units have been installed, but the windows remain the same. The BPCA could evict LeFrak and bring in a new operator, if it had the will.
Meanwhile, Glenn Plaskin, the bold leader of the GPTA who lives in a palatial warm Gateway apartment, is busy honoring the elected officials. The GPTA will “honor” State Senator Squadron Sunday. Many believe that it is the local elected officials, which accept large campaign funds from billionaire LeFrak, who have enabled LeFrak to get away with this neglect of Gateway for decades.
Please post your comments. Has your Gateway apartment been improved this year?
Update January 3, 2014- It has been a year since the last big meeting with LeFrak. Nothing has improved. Read more about this scandal, below.
Is the GPTA and local elected officials really looking out for you, or are they happy in their warm large apartments? Are the elected officials in the pocket of real estate moguls?
February 4, 2013 By Steven E. Greer
The Gateway Plaza Tenants Associate convened a meeting tonight at the Library on North End Avenue to discuss the status of various “green energy audits” performed on Gateway. The audits were initiated in 2011 to study the extent of the problems at the complex.
Two elected officials attended the meeting: Margaret Chin and Jennifer Rajkumar. Of note, both might be running for the same city council spot. Notably absent was State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and State Senator Daniel Squadron. Also absent was senior LeFrak management who oversee Gateway.
For nearly 30 years, tenants have complained of very high electric bills and of windows that leak water and air. In the winter, currents of cold air create frigid indoor temperatures. In the summer, the units are hot. The energy waste also causes exorbitant electric bills. A resident at the meeting told BatteryPark.TV that malfunctioning electric heaters were not being replaced in apartments with rent controlled status, and that only the market rate units have received any form of modernization.
The meeting began with a presentation from Greg Sherman of the energy audit company, Bright Power. He explained that it has been concluded that the current windows in Gateway need to be replaced. He also explained that buildings like Gateway Plaza must, by law, complete a “Level 3” energy audit, and rectify the shortcomings, by 2016, but that LeFrak has chosen to act now.
Next, a LeFrak employee, Nicole Montgomery, explained how the complex electric bills are created. In Gateway, tenants do not pay Consolidated Edison directly, but rather pay LeFrak acting as a middleman. Many residents suspect that LeFrak is making a profit on the bills since the monthly charges can be $500 or more. Montgomery addressed that, and denied that any profits were being taken, explaining that it would be illegal to do so. She also showed a slide with a bell curve graph that claimed the average monthly electric bill at Gateway was only $71, to which the room of 50 or more people exploded in laughter and disbelief.
A spokesperson for the state agency NYSERDA also spoke. He assured the room that state grants could be made available to help offset the cost of retrofitting Gateway Plaza, which are estimated to cost $10 million for the 1,700 apartments (or $6,000 per unit). It is unclear why the state and taxpayer would or should subsidize a private real estate developer like LeFrak.
Next to speak was another LeFrak employee, Michael Tynan, Chief Procurement Officer for LeFrak. He was unaware of basic problems in the apartments, such as the fact that the heaters do not have functioning thermostats. He was pressed on the timing of events that will happen next before windows are replaced. He explained that another energy audit must be performed, which would take three months. After that, “several” months will be required to find the contractor, determine whether to replace them from outside the building or within the apartments, etc. Once installations begin, he estimated that the total work would last for three years. Some of the resident in attendance whom have lived for decades in Gateway were very skeptical. One man explained that something similar took place after the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, and no work was ever commenced.
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