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BatteryPark.TV has been the only source to report on the conflicts of interest of the leaders of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association (GPTA) that have led to inaction in correcting the poor infrastructure that causes freezing conditions in the winter, and huge AC bills in the summer. The local adverting flier, the Broadsheet (BS), which is published from an apartment inside Gateway Plaza, has not written about the feckless GPTA in a critical way.
Now, the residents of Gateway have had enough and are taking action into their own hands. A group of tenants have hired lawyer Ken Perry, who also lives in Gateway Plaza, to represents them in a lawsuit against LeFrak.
According to the BS article, “”We’ve had more than a dozen people join as plaintiffs,” says Ken Perry, “but the final number of clients will not get set until March 12, which is the deadline for signing up.”…
The controversy arises from a decades-old provision in Gateway leases, which requires tenants to purchase their electricity from the landlord, who buys it at a discount from a utility and then resells it to residents…. “A lot of the problems here are systemic,” Mr. Perry alleges, citing monthly electric bills of several clients in excess of $1,000 during extremely hot or cold weather…..”If Gateway is reselling us electricity they buy from Con Ed, they have a duty to get the best price they can get,” Mr. Perry argues…..
Mr. Perry speaks from personal experience. Several years ago, he stopped trying to reason with Gateway management about conditions in his own apartment. “I sued them and stopped paying rent and we came to a negotiated settlement, under which they agreed to install internal storm windows in my apartment that match my external windows…..
Glenn Plaskin, the president of the Gateway Plaza Tenants Association, added that, “the Tenants Association is fully aware of all the issues related to the infrastructure at Gateway. We have chosen to pursue a negotiation to solve these issues, a negotiation involving our political representatives, including State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, State Senator Daniel Squadron, and City Council member Margaret Chin, together with the leadership at the Battery Park City Authority. Tenants are free to take whatever action they chose to on their own.”
The LeFrak organization replied that they are trying to negotiate a better ground lease with the Battery Park City Authority to help pay for the renovations. In other words, they want the tax payer to fund the infrastructure upkeep to their own building that is a cash cow for LeFrak.
The elected officials mentioned by Mr. Plaskin, such as Sheldon Silver, have conflicts of interest in this matter. LeFrak has been a large donor to their campaigns.
Mr. Plaskin also has a conflict of interest since Gateway has provided him with a large apartment, made of two apartments that were joined together, totally 2,200 square feet. It was originally a studio and a separate 2-bedroom apartment. Mr. Plaskin also has a renovated kitchen and four new heating/cooling units. He pays less than $3,000 in rent.