Bushwick Landlord Fined $132G for Illegal Buyouts

Two Brooklyn landlords have agreed to pay $132,000 is restitution for harassing tenants at three Bushwick buildings they bought last year, state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Nov. 5. Landlords Graham and Gregory Jones of GRJ LLC consented to the fine in an out-of-court settlement.

The Joneses acquired 920 Bushwick Ave., 946 Bushwick Ave., and 1075 Greene Ave. in June 2016, and immediately “aggressively pursued tactics to displace tenants and deregulate their rent-stabilized apartments,” said Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A, which represented the tenants. They did construction-as-harassment in vacant units and filed frivolous eviction notices against tenants. At 946 Bushwick Ave., they planned to shut the elevator down for repairs for six months, without doing anything for elderly and disabled tenants on higher floors.

The Attorney General’s case specifically dealt with illegal buyouts, naming 33 tenants who were offered money to leave. The $132,000 settlement will go to the city Department of Housing Preservation and Development to finance low-income housing. The Joneses also agreed not to engage in any form of tenant harassment, including illegal buyout offers.

In the elevator case, Brooklyn Legal Services A won a consent order in March in which the landlord cut down the elevator work to two months and agreed to provide accommodations for disabled tenants . Other Housing Court cases involving tenants there continue.